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This time her family raised money on Go Fund Me to send her to Bella Monte, a rehab facility in California, at a cost of ,000 a month. Her enthusiasm is so promising and yet, after months of reporting on the drug epidemic, I find it hard to ignore the red flags that come up in our conversations: She’s been “chilling” with a boy she met in rehab (a recovery no-no), and they’ve decided to pick up and drive to Fresno, California, even though the plan was for Chayce to go to a sober house. I don’t know how to stay hopeful and also be prepared.
When I first speak to Chayce this spring, she has just graduated after spending 80 days there. All I can do is focus on loving her regardless.”Will Chayce make it?
Shanda had a huge soft spot for children; not just her own, but she adored her niece and nephew too.
She loved her children and would have been a great mother if she could have beaten addiction.” —Aaliyah Kenekham, 21, Richmond, IN | Died December 21, 2016“I don't want my daughter to be defined by her addiction or mental illness.
I want the world to know that she had a huge heart and her laughter was contagious. She loved helping people.” —Christina Ponte, 28, Malden, MA | Died October 3, 2016“I want people to know that she was so much more than her addiction.
She was a beautiful young woman with so much potential.
By then Chayce was having trouble finding a vein and, if she had to be honest, was tired of her whole life, tired of doing anything to not get “dope sick” (the stomach-turning sweats of withdrawal), tired of spending her days sending naked Snaps to guys for $20 or $30 so she could buy a hit, tired of sneaking into restrooms at Arby’s and Taco Bell and praying they had a mirror because by that point she’d resorted to shooting up in her neck. After landing in the emergency room in January, she walked out of the hospital looking to use, searching for the friend who’d given her the fentanyl-laced drugs. Chayce found his buddy and did more heroin, but the next day he turned up dead too. It’s not that she hadn’t tried—countless times, it seemed—to get sober.
But without insurance she’d had trouble getting into an in-patient program. I don’t wanna ever not feel like I feel right now.” She talks about getting a job and becoming a drug counselor. “I am filled with anxiety every day since she’s been out,” says her mother, Tracie Knittel. But with each overdose, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I might lose my daughter to heroin.
Or will she become one of the women who die every single day as a result of opioids?
Reghan Berry, 22, Greer, SC | Died May 16, 2017“Reghan had the best personality. She was the type of person that if she saw someone being picked on, or if they didn’t have enough money for clothes or shoes, she’d stand up for them.” —Samantha Cody-Neuhoff, 24, Chatham, IL | Died May 12, 2017“For all of the struggles Samantha was having, she was still involved with our family.
It was all downhill from there.” —Amber Delage, 29, Endwell, NY | Died August 1, 2016“She was amazing.