Finding Hope: A young woman’s journey back from heroin addiction


Hope Steele wasn’t positive she would stay to see her 21st birthday.

Final 12 months, Steele overdosed on heroin thrice, she stated, and in her dwelling state of West Virginia, she was removed from alone. West Virginia has the very best drug overdose demise fee in america in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. An estimated 91 Individuals die every single day from opioid overdoses, and greater than half 1,000,000 folks died of a drug overdose from 2000 to 2015, in accordance with the CDC.

As she blew out the candles on her cake Dec. 7, Steele, who started utilizing heroin in 2015, mirrored on what number of of her buddies didn’t attain that milestone birthday.

“Out of the group of my buddies, I’m just about the one one left to have fun. No less than 14 handed away in [the past] two years,” Steele advised ABC Information.

PHOTO: Hope Steele celebrates her 21st birthday with her mom Cheryl Festerman, a nurse who was working in the emergency room the night Steele overdosed on heroin, on Dec. 11, 2017, in Martinsburg, W.Va.ABC Information
Hope Steele celebrates her 21st birthday together with her mother Cheryl Festerman, a nurse who was working within the emergency room the night time Steele overdosed on heroin, on Dec. 11, 2017, in Martinsburg, W.Va.

When Steele overdosed on heroin for the primary time in October of final 12 months, she stated emergency paramedics advised her that if they’d arrived simply minutes later, she would have been lifeless. She stated paramedics injected her with Narcan, an opiate antidote, and took her to the medical heart in Martinsburg, West Virginia, the place her mom labored as a nurse within the emergency room. Their relationship had been strained, however that night time modified issues, she stated.

“She ended up working that night time and I really feel prefer it was for a cause,” stated Steele.

Due to affected person confidentiality issues, Steele’s mom, Cheryl Festerman, stated she was initially requested to attend simply exterior of her daughter’s door.

“Being a nurse simply went out the door. I used to be simply her mom then,” Festerman advised ABC Information.

“I heard my mother screaming for me. Simply listening to her voice like that, I’ve by no means heard her like that,” stated Steele.

Steele stated she found in that second how a lot her mom cared for her.

“She does love me. She is there for me. She proper behind me, on a regular basis. I really feel like she’s by no means going to let go,” stated Steele.

Steele would go on to overdose two extra instances within the span of per week within the fall of 2016, she stated, however together with her mom’s and physician’s help, she has been capable of get clear.

In February, she started taking buprenorphine, a prescription opiate that’s used to deal with habit. Buprenorphine can be utilized in medication-assisted therapy for heroin habit, in accordance with the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Companies Administration. The medicine, mixed with counseling and behavioral remedy, might help folks beat habit.

Along with her mom’s help, Steele obtained medical steering from Dr. Brandt Williamson, a physician within the emergency room in Martinsburg who advocated for the drug as a part of her longer-term therapy plan.

“Scientifically, we’re discovering that the issue seemingly is finest managed with an opioid to attempt to assist get folks out of the issue of habit,” Williamson advised ABC Information.

Williamson stated regardless that it is usually an opiate, buprenorphine might help get sufferers on observe to finally cease utilizing medication altogether.

“Individuals can really take this medicine and be fairly practical in society. I take a look at it as a instrument to get folks again on the highway to get counseling, and hopefully to get off narcotics in some unspecified time in the future fully,” Williamson added.

For Steele, it helped leap begin the highway to restoration.

“It helped my cravings go away. It was one of many greatest blockers I might have. It distracted me in order that I didn’t all the time take into consideration heroin,” she stated.

Steele stated she stopped taking buprenorphine in June of this 12 months. By the point her 21st birthday got here round, she stated she had been clear greater than a 12 months. She hopes her story will encourage different younger folks to surrender heroin, too.

“I hope that any individual can take a look at me and assume, ‘If she will be able to overcome it, I can overcome it,” stated Steele.


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