HUNTINGTON, West Virginia (WSAZ) – Samantha and Jeffery Parker share the same birthday and more than a decade of drug addiction. This Christmas, the two are finally recovering and are celebrating the sober vacation for the first time together since the age of 14.
“I have been taunted more times than I can count. Crack, meth, heroin, fentanyl, Xanax. I was pretty much a garbage junkie, ”Jeffery says.
Their first memory of drugs dates back to the age of five. They say they opened a cupboard and found their father’s pain relievers, took them and got sick. Drug appeal raged in their teens and through their twenties
Jeffery says their family suffered from drug addiction, “I didn’t know there was a different way. Everyone I’ve ever known got high.”
“We were both right in the middle of all the madness,” Samantha says.
In 2018, Samantha broke free and remains clean today. She completed a rehabilitation program with Recovery Point. She now works for Help4WV, a state agency that works with people with substance abuse disorders. Samantha also works as a peer mentor for the Huntington’s Rapid Response Team (QRT). QRT visits people in overdose calls within 72 hours of the overdose and offers support.
Jeffery has been clean since April 2021, his longest streak ever. He has been back and forth to prison because of his drug addiction and still faces charges. He is also a client of Recovery Point in Huntington and is expected to complete the program in January. He is a peer mentor in the program.
Seeing him finally sober, made his twin sister cry. “These are not tears of sadness. It’s a nice feeling to see the light come back into her eyes, ”Samantha says. “I accepted that he was going to die because I didn’t think he would ever get help. He called me from prison the last time he was arrested and he said, “I don’t want to die”. He had never cared about dying before. Addiction steals the relationships you have with people. He stole ours for a long time.
Jeffery says he doesn’t feel like getting high today. “It’s much better to help people than stab me with a needle all day,” he says. “I know my way today. I know what to do for the rest of my life.
If you or a loved one needs help breaking free from addiction, the Huntington Rapid Response Team can be reached at 304.526.8541. QRT members say you can call for help with drugs or alcohol, and you don’t have to overdose to get their help.
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