Brandon: Boss, Danielle overdosed and died today.
Roz: NO NO NO NO
Today, a sweet girl named Danielle passed away as a direct result of this disease. She was a patient of ASI and she was doing great. She went back to school and she had a beautiful baby boy. Her mother, her grandfather and her grandmother were all employees of ASI since it opened in 1999. A great family. Her mother was loved by all of the patients and staff. She lost her daughter today …………….and I cannot help but think that if ASI were still open, she would still be alive. If I could take responsibility for ASI being shut down, I would. But I can’t. There was no reason for the State to go to such drastic measures. I offered to step aside. They could have allowed new ownership if they were so against me running the program. I offered to step aside and I had arranged for new management to come in. The fact that the State did not allow us to do that tells me that they really didn’t care about the patients well being at all. I would have done anything for the ASI patients and my staff to be left alone. They did nothing wrong. There was no reason to put 600 addicts on the street and put 60 people out of work. As of today, July 31, 2016 there have been at least 16 deaths of past ASI patients. These deaths are tragedies and they are a direct result of the closing down of ASI. The HEROIN EPIDEMIC is happening across the country. It is real. Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction does not care if you are Black, White, Chinese, Rich, Poor, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, what your sexual preference is or where you are from. It lands wherever it wants and it invades whatever family it chooses to invade…….with no notice and no warning and no invitation. ADDICTION IS REAL……and it is NOT a CHOICE. In all of these years I have never heard anyone ever say “When I grow up I want to be a drug addict”.
Families suffer as much as the addict suffers……if not more. I remember my mother constantly worrying. My brother would always say, “What is wrong with you? We didn’t raise you like this…….” I always felt “less than”. I never felt as though I was good enough. I missed my father. I was jealous of my brothers having families of their own. I felt cheated. I don’t know where those feelings came from but I had them. When I finally picked up drugs those feelings were gone and I got a false sense of relief. I could not describe it because I did not know what was happening to me. I just thought I liked to get high ! Little did I know that I was on a path of self destruction……the end of the road for me was at age 29. I was living in a shooting gallery in the Hill District trying to support my habit and my husband’s habit. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I lied every day. I stole. I was sick. I turned into somebody else. I was not permitted around my family. I went to find my brother who was officiating a Pitt football game. I asked the security guard to get my brother for me. The security guard went to my brother in the locker room and said, “Hey Gene, there is a ‘bag lady’ outside saying she is your sister Roz.” My brother came outside……….we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. He said, with tears in his eyes, “Hi Sister, how are you? I have been praying that God would take you because I know that Mom won’t be able to stand you being in jail and something is going to happen.” I cried. He made me go to his car and see my seven nieces and nephews who I hadn’t seen in years. Three days later I called him and asked him to put me in rehab. I went to Gateway on December 13, 1983. I have been clean through the grace of God ever since.
God, please help the families who are suffering from the disease of addiction and who have lost their loved ones to this insidious illness. The ends are always the same………jails, institutions and death.