My brother was a wonderful man, helpful, generous, loving, full of life and adventure, always wanting to try new things. His will to adventure and try things eventually lead to a downward spiral with his addiction.
Heroin, Charlie struggled with this addiction for a good 2 years. After losing his best friend to something similar, Charlie pulled himself off of heroin cold turkey.
During the detox phase of this he turned to alcohol to curb the cravings. Once he began to drink, he could not find a healthy way to stop on his own. For 2 years I watched my brother struggle to get help to kick his addiction of drugs and alcohol. I watched as he entered hospital after hospital to be pumped full of fluids to become hydrated again, I watched as he became sober after being in those hospitals for up to a week at a time, then being released because there was nothing else they could do for him, not knowing where to go next because the treatment facilities were either full or rejected him because he was no longer drunk, you read that right, he was turned away from facilities because he was no longer drunk. He didn’t have problems detoxing, he had problems staying clean and sober.
I researched in home care, external care facilities, as well as safe places for him to continue his recovery, but none of them would take him because the insurance he had would not cover the costs. He was a self-employed man and worked with my father and could not come up with the money to cover these costs. As the months went on the cycle continued, he would relapse after 3 weeks and drink to almost the point of no return, get clean at the hospital, and then be booted out with no comfort or help on the outside.
Every day he begged for someone to help him get rid of this addiction, every time he voluntarily wanted to be clean and sober and no one had an answer for him because he didn’t have the money to pay for the resources. The addiction took over his mind and body, in order to stay “level” he had to keep a steady flow of alcohol and drugs so he did not go into withdrawal, for fear of having a seizure and fear of having to go back to the hospital to pay money he did not have.
As a sister, as the big sister and the only one he had, I did everything I could to help him get through this. I called every care facility I could to try and work out payment plans, to try and do what I could to get him the help he needed, and every time, I was turned away because I did not have the sufficient funds they needed. I had different insurance than he did, but they refused to take mine as well because he was a legal adult and had to do it on his own.
Money… time… care… and the ability to still go to your job every day to make the money, take the time so you can care for yourself, THIS was all I could to do to help him, and it still was never enough.
On February 12, 2018 my 27 year old brother overdosed on alcohol and Heroin. Every day that passes without him is a constant reminder to me that because of lack of funding, because him, I and my parents combined did not make half as much money as a facility cost to help him be sober, he is no longer with us. We are hardworking, tax paying, law abiding citizens damn it, and still, because of lack of money, my brother was not able to get the treatment that he deserved, wanted, and needed, and will now no longer be able to fight for the help he deserves.
This bill will be able to help people in need like my brother, good people that are reaching out for help, but cannot do it alone. People that deserve to live without the power of addiction, the fear of cost and aggravation, people that want to become sober and healthy but do not have the means to do it on their own. Please, if you take anything from my story, walk away with this in your mind: It is too late for my brother Charlie, but it is not too late to make a difference for the 1,000s of other struggling addicts out there that want to be where he did, sober, happy, alive!!
Anything we can do as a community can help someone, one person cannot change the world alone, but the world can help this one person, and if we go one person at a time, in time we will make waves, we will make a difference, and we will help the people that are really in need, the people that want to be contributing members of our so called society, wouldn’t that be nice? Isn’t that in the end what you want anyway??
So as a woman, a daughter, a friend to many who are struggling with this same issue, and a heart broken sister who wants nothing more than to change these circumstances, I ask you to consider and pass this bill, so we as a community and as a whole unit can help the ones who need it the most.
Thank you for your time in reading this, I appreciate your consideration.