Addiction can hit any household at any given time, often unexpectedly. Addiction might be found in a home filled with physical or emotional abuse; it might be present in the home of constant arguments or a broken home from a divorce; or it might be right in the home of a police officer, whose job it was to catch and arrest drug dealers. Addiction can make its way into any type of home with any type of background. No one is ever 100% safe from opioid addiction.
WAMU ran a story in October 2017 about a police officer whose life was dedicated to ending the epidemic of addiction, or the War on Drugs, but little did he know that the epidemic would hit so close to home. Officer Simmers tells a story that everyone should hear, not just for informational purposes but to really make people think and feel what the epidemic is truly doing in the households of many.
A CRY FOR HELP
Simmers describes the day that his daughter came to him for help. She was 17 years old and trusted her father enough to tell him her dark secret; Brooke was addicted to Percocets. Simmers did the only thing many parents think to do and immediately tried to get her into an inpatient treatment program.
THE PROBLEM WITH HEALTHCARE
Simmers wanted to help his daughter, but unfortunately, his insurance company did not see Brooke’s addiction as enough of a problem to help pay for treatment. You can imagine the devastating feeling of hearing that your daughter does not have a problem when you are a police officer and know that addiction can take over and progress quickly, too quickly.
After Brooke was denied help from the insurance company, her addiction only become progressively worse. Many opioid users move to heroin, and that’s just what she did. As a parent, you can imagine how helpless Simmers felt. Brooke would disappear for days at a time, as he worried when/if he would see her again.
After many battles with Brooke’s addiction, she ultimately landed herself behind bars. As many parents would be, Simmers was somewhat relieved; if she was in jail, she was safer. Brooke became full of hope while doing her time, and Simmers could see that she wanted to remain clean. Brooke told him of her dream to open a treatment center to help women recover from addiction. She was hopeful and determined.
Simmers soon realized that Brooke wasn’t fine. Her lock-up, rather than actual help in a treatment center, was unable to stop her desire for heroin, and Brooke overdosed less than two weeks after being released. Brooke was 19 years old when she died. Simmers realized that Brooke did not need to be locked up, she needed help. In his efforts to help others avoid the same tragedy, Simmers decided to move forward in pursuit of opening a recovery center for women facing addiction. He has already raised beyond the amount of money to open the facility and hopes to open it up very soon.
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