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Mom recalls heartbreaking past with opioids, applauds Congress' new bill

Posted: 10:34 AM, Oct 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-05 15:57:55Z

New resources are coming for people who are struggling in the opioid epidemic. One mother is hoping a new bill that just passed Congress will help others.

Katrina King fought opioid addiction for seven years.  It started with pain pills after she hurt her back, and the addiction spiraled into more sinister habits.

“I was up to about a 40 pill a day habit, plus heroin as needed if I couldn't get that,” King says.

After getting caught forging prescriptions, a judge sentenced King to two years behind bars. Seven months into her sentence, King found out her daughter began using opioids.

“It's the worst panic of your life,” King recalls. “I went into panic mode. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. It is desperation, guilt, panic.”    

Her daughter was placed on a treatment waitlist, but unfortunately, she died from an overdose two days later.

“They were trying to talk me into discontinuing life support and I refused, and I needed to see her,” King remembers. “And they didn't get us to the hospital in time, because by the time they made the arrangements, she died at the hospital the next morning.”

Despite her pain and past demons, King is now 6 years sober.  She’s now a coach and volunteers for the nonpartisan group Advocates for Opioid Recovery.  King applauds Congress for passing the new opioid bill.

“We've come a long way,” she says. “In 2011, I was public enemy number one.”   

The bill will help boost programs to treat addiction, keep a closer eye on prescriptions, and promote research to find new drugs that aren't as addictive.  King, however, feels the bill is too heavily focused on prevention and treatment and doesn't do enough to address recovery services.

“The number one problem we have is finding housing for them, finding medically assisted recovery for them,” King says. “We get put on a waitlist that’s over a month long. The problem is when they come out, you don't have a month. The very first time they use could be their last.”