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Recovered Heroin Addicts Advise In Wake Of Overdoses

Posted on August 14, 2017

If you see something, say something.

Now is the time to get serious with those we love, and learn what to do.

Teri Gault, Administrator for Oaks of Hope a CA licensed detox residential treatment center in Sand Canyon, asked her clients who are in recovery from heroin, for their advice to the community of Santa Clarita Valley.

“As soon as I heard the news, I called for a session with some great resources, clients in recovery from heroin addiction. I feared this is not just a ‘bad batch’ by accident.”, says Gault, “This is probably a marketing move we had learned from a previous client, known as a “hot shot” on the east coast and moving across the country.” Carfentanil or Fentanyl is used to cut heroin to make it more potent. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer, about 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

In the wake of Santa Clarita Valley’s introduction to overdoses of this magnitude, Gault solicited advice from clients based on the east coast at the facility. To open the dialogue, Gault read the article aloud, and the comments regarding heroin, addiction, and overdoses started to flow. Gault explained, “While seemingly cavalier in their delivery of information, you have to remember that they’ve seen and lived through a lot of this for years.” Gault reports that they were more than willing to anonymously disclose that “... the sellers have say 200 bags (of heroin), and they make one pure dope (Fentanyl), meant to cause overdose. It’s straight up marketing. When someone dies, we say ‘where’d he get it’? And everyone rushes to buy the good stuff (heroin cut with some fentanyl). We know the ‘hot shot’ is gone and the rest of the bags have the good stuff added to it.” Another responds, “Just means there’s more to come (to the area).” When Gault asked others in the discussion if they too thought there could be more, “Oh yeah, it’s gonna happen. It’s going to come in a streak. They don’t do a small batch (of heroin). People are risking their lives to bring it in, and not small batches. There’s more out there.” Another in recovery from heroin adds to the discussion, “People have it right now in their pockets.” Gault asked, “Can people die from the other bags, the ones that are not the ‘hot shot’?” Client explained, “You have a tolerance and you get something ‘better’ than you normally do, and it’s a wrap.”

Gault then queried the clients on what family and friends should do if they think someone is using something. Clients’ comments included, “The problem is there’s nothing you can do. They’re going to get it regardless.” And “Get them into treatment.” Gault asked how a parent can do that, “What would you tell a parent?... Get an interventionist?” That seemed like a good idea.

When asked how parents can get their kids into a safe place for treatment, Nick Warner, Oaks of Hope Substance Abuse Counselor, contributed, “Addiction is a community disease. It’s a family disease. Have a dialogue. Teach them that this is what happens. Prevention is the first place to start.” Warner urged, “Parents are afraid to say, ‘Get into treatment or you’re cut off’. Put your foot down and give ultimatums and follow through. Anything short of that is helping them die.”

Gault hears from local parents that their teen or adult child is “just taking pills”, to which Gault responds, “That’s what they’re telling you, but when they come in here after parents tell me that, they either tell us honestly, or they have a needle sewn in their jacket lining, or a box of needles in their backpack on property search. Either way, Norcos, Oxys, and Roxys (opiates) only do the trick for so long, and they have to go to heroin and that road leads to the unspeakable.”

“I just saw this. Terrible.” responded Jamila Cometa, LMFT, Clinical Director for Oaks of Hope. Cometa speaks to the community, “At this time, find reliable community support to get through these difficult times. Seek Twelve Step meetings, counselors/therapists to work through the grief that is often part of the lifestyle of drug use.”

Gault has also seen a rise in “Benzos”, Xanax, for example, saying they think it’s due to legalization of marijuana, so benzos are pouring over the borders instead. Gault says that some “moms” she knows in the Santa Clarita Valley think Xanax is harmless but Gault maintains that it’s extremely addictive, adding that the detox protocol and seizure risk, are on high alert with benzo withdrawal.

Gault urges parents to be proactive. Whether your loved one has insurance or not, you can reach out to any number of resources for low or no cost treatment. Help is out there.

In closing, Jessica Marchany, Charge Nurse, offered the reminder, “If you suspect someone is having an overdose, immediately call 911.”

About the writer - Teri Gault, known as the Founder of The Grocery Game, Inc., ‘America’s Smartest Shopper’ and author of 'Shop Smart, Save More', is featured in local and national media, television news, magazines, newspapers and across the web. After two decades of suffering loss and death due to family drug abuse, Teri made a bold move to make a difference. In November 2016, Teri founded Oaks of Hope luxury detox residential treatment in Southern California. Teri continually speaks to the press, teaches thrift and good living at Oaks of Hope and enjoys seeing the rewards of addiction recovery.

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