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Former heroin addict hopes to teach locals from her experience

By ALLISON NORLIAN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Heroin addiction has affected many Oneida County residents, including Jillian King of New Hartford. King, a recovering addict decided to speak to NewsChannel 2 with the hopes to teach others from her experiences.

King lived what many would consider a 'normal life.'  Her parents are still together, she had a loving family, grew up in a suburban neighborhood with friends and was a good student. However, her lifestyle didn't stop her from embarking on a dark, long and dangerous road while in her teens...into the world of heroin. One she says she never thought she'd be able to break away from.

"The only thing I was focused on was getting high."

At the age of 19, Kings friends introduced her to heroin for the first time. She started by sniffing the drug.

" Then it eventually went into using needles and injecting it, IV use" King said, " After that happened it was like off to the races."

Kings body became physically dependent on the drug, her mind convinced she needed it to survive. She hid the addiction from her family and friends, and used the drug right under her parents roof, without them knowing. After getting pregnant with her daughter, King decided she wanted to detox, she wanted a better life for her child.

" I went to St. Luke's hospital once, I detoxed there, I went back a couple years later and they said no you can't we don't do that , we don't detox, and I was like I need help, I'm scared, it's not just my life anymore, it's my child's life and for them to tell you no... I had to go out to Syracuse."

A problem that King and many heroin and drug addicts in our area experience is what they call, a lack of resources. There is no detox center locally, forcing individuals to go to Syracuse for treatment. For many individuals who are deep into their drug addiction, they may not have a car, or the ability to drive to Syracuse, let alone have the willpower to stay clean while waiting for an appointment date. King said this happened to her, which resulted in her using once again.

" It was easier to stay here and get high, it was easier to call up a friend, tell him what I wanted, get what I wanted and get high."

After sitting in jail for 2 and a 1/2 months and two stints in an out- patient drug rehab program, King decided enough was enough and decided to clean up her life. Today, she has been a year clean, volunteers, spends time with her family and takes drug rehab classes.

"Failing is easy to do but doing the right thing and sticking with it is difficult but its making me a better person."

Jillian King is only one of the thousands in our area, state and nationally who are or were addicted to heroin and opiate pain killers.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, after discussing the results of NewsChannel 2's report, has decided to potentially bring local testimonials to a December 12th Alcohol and Substance Abuse Committee hearing in New York City.

Brindisi says the sooner you can teach drug prevention to a student or child the better a chance you will have to prevent drug use later in life, "That's one point of having the hearing, is there something more the state can do to fund community based detox centers? So when people do need that kind of help there is something locally based that can get them that help and move them on in the right direction."

Brindisi also said the state is looking into different ways they can help with education programs for schools.
 

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