Celebrating nearly nine months sober, Angela Dowd remembers how heroin made her feel.
“Sticking that needle in my arm, it would give me an hour high of just feeling like everything’s okay,” the 25-year-old Vermilion woman said.
Dowd is now sharing how her own parents saved her life, after she overdosed in 2015.
“I was blue. I was completely dead. I had no pulse, no heartbeat, nothing,” Dowd said.
In January of last year, her father walked into her bedroom to find his daughter unconscious with a lit cigarette burning her hand. He administered Narcan, or Naloxone, while her mother did CPR. They also called 911.
The opiate antidote is administered nasally and can reverse the effects of an overdose. It’s available for free at many local health departments.
Tammy Dowd, Angela Dowd’s mother, had a hard time recalling the day she almost watched her daughter die.
“It’s like she’s dead. She’s dead,” Tammy Dowd said. "I couldn’t walk by that room forever. That door had to stay closed. I think I got PTSD from it.”
But Dowd relapsed in August, shooting up one last time before her probation officer had her arrested.
Despite the obvious negative consequences of relapsing, Down said her drug-addicted mind had just one priority.
“I didn’t want to feel it. I didn’t want to feel the pain,” she said.
But since August, Dowd claims to have stayed clean, attending counseling three times a week and taking care of her six-month-old baby boy, Xander.
She's doing that while also working to regain custody of her other three-year-old son, Drystan, who was removed from her custody in 2015.
“Drug use, it took my son from me. It took my life from me,” Dowd said, shedding tears.
Drystan’s aunt and uncle on his father’s side are trying to adopt him permanently, but Dowd said she has earned a second chance.
"I miss him more than anything,” she said. "It’s not something I would wish on anybody.”
But she would not have gotten that second chance if it were not for her parents and their life-saving kit.
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