ABC News has just run a story about a young woman from West Virginia, Hope Steele, who just made it to her 21st birthday, a milestone she wasn’t sure she’d make because she was suffering from heroin addiction.
In Steele’s hometown of West Virginia, there is the highest drug overdose death rate in the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Steele herself overdosed three times in 2016, and fourteen of her friends who also suffered from addiction have died within the last two years.
When Steele overdosed the first time, she was taken to a medical center where her mother, Cheryl Festerman, worked as a nurse. “She ended up working that night and I feel like it was for a reason.” Once her daughter came into the hospital, “being a nurse just went out the door,” Festerman said. “I was just her mother then.”
Steele’s life was saved that night by Narcan, and she also took Buprenorphine to help fight her opioid cravings. “It helped my cravings go away,” she said. “it was one of the biggest blockers I could have. It distracted me so that I didn’t always think about heroin.”
Steele eventually got off buprenorphine this year and has reportedly been clean for over a year. “I hope that somebody can look at me and think, ‘If she can overcome it, I can overcome it.’”