Heroin. It’s an illegal, highly addictive opioid drug that has resulted in more than 15,000 deaths in 2017 alone. The epidemic in West Virginia is something we, unfortunately, know all too well. Destroying families and killing loved ones. But there are people who are taking their lives back.
Nearly 165,000 people between 18 to 25 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year according to the D-E-A.
Each day in the United States, almost 200 people die as a result of a drug overdose. Sommer Stevens almost became a part of that number five separate times. That’s why her life mission the past year has been to help others by telling her story. She is now a Face of Recovery.
The first time I used was twelve years old. And with that came a cooler full of beer, a pocket full of money, and a pocket full of Cocaine. That’s just something that happened in south Florida.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT
Twelve. An age where normally kids would be enjoying middle school football games, but there was a different plan in mind for Sommer. She lived that life for over 20 years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A life much different from her loved one.
I was partying and partying hard. Most of my family took a right turn. I took a left turn I’d like to say now that I look back on it. Truly I was an addict at a very young age.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT
She lost family. Friends. Loved ones. People she believes are some of the best people on earth. Those relationships down the drain. All thanks to a white powder disguised as evil– Cocaine. But her addiction wouldn’t stop there.
Addiction is cunning, powerful, and baffling. So, when I got into my darkest moment, Cocaine and beer lead me there, but my darkest moment is putting a needle of Meth or Heroine in my arm.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT
A drug she said she would never do 20 years ago. A drug that left her addicted, living on the streets, selling crack cocaine in Tampa Florida. A drug that had her looking at the face of death six times.
You just can’t walk away from Heroin once you’re addicted. I will tear you down to the floor, and you can’t get up until you have more.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT
In 2008 her then-boyfriend brought her to West Virginia. But her addiction came packed with her. Then on September 25, 2017, she was arrested on violation of parole. A day she says, saved her life.
No one had ever offered me help in Florida. No help whatsoever. I had done some jail time. No one said “Sommer, would you like to go to rehab and get better?” Until I got to West Virginia. And here is where the opportunity was presented to me to get recovery.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT
Although Sommer says she will always be a recovering addict, she recognizes her disease. And thanks to programs like the Mary and Martha House, and the NA, she is 766 days clean.
If I were to reach out to a room full of addicts today, I would tell them that they can recover. I would tell them that they can live again. I would tell them that they would smile again, love again, and they could be a friend, a daughter, a sister, or a brother again, and that it wasn’t the end.SOMMER STEVENS- RECOVERING ADDICT