NKYHatesHeroin.Com was asked to help with a video project that would share real stories from real parents about real children. We jumped right in and volunteered to not only help with the video, but we said we would actually film, edit and produce it. In one short weekend, we had dozens of total strangers through our house and into our “low budget” homemade studio in the basement. Some of those total strangers are now some of our biggest advocates, and friends that we work with to fight our fight.

“Dark Truths” is the result of our efforts, along with the help of many, including the parents who were brave enough to share their stories. We are proud of them!

If you would like a copy of Dark Truths, drop us an email and let us know!

NKYHatesHeroin.Com – Dark Truths from Chris Stegner on Vimeo.

From our friend and supporter Lesley Cooney, thanks for the heads-up Lesley!

“WE ARE CONFIRMED for a showing of the Anonymous People on Thursday 10/10 at 7:30 pm at The Great Escape in Wilder. Something tells me it will sell out but FYI part of Gathr’s rules are that 100 people need to buy tickets by 9/26 or the movie will not be shown and for those who did reserve tickets, there cards will not be charged. The documentary is 82 minutes long.”



THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE is a feature documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. Deeply entrenched social stigma have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The vacuum has been filled with sensational mass media depictions of people with addiction that perpetuate a lurid fascination with the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition. Just like women with breast cancer, or people with HIV/AIDS, a grass roots social justice movement is emerging. Courageous addiction recovery advocates have come out of the shadows and are organizing to end discrimination and move toward recovery-based solutions.

The moving story of The Anonymous People is told through the faces and voices of citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, public figures, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement aims to transform public opinion, engage communities and elected officials, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting solutions.

I am Casey’s mom and the initiator of Casey’s Law. Every effort to intervene on his disease was stymied because he was over the age of 18 and was not in the criminal justice system. After he was arrested, I pleaded with the court to order treatment for Casey. He was released on his own recognizance and warned that he could receive a summons within ninety days to appear in court to face drug-related charges. Casey received that summons on the day of his funeral. It was too late.

After Casey’s passing I called the courthouse for the address of the judge who had released Casey. I explained how I had wanted treatment ordered for him, and was told that I did not understand how the system worked. My response was, “if that is how the system works, there’s something wrong with the system”. Thus began the work to initiate Casey’s Law for the state of Kentucky which became effective July 13, 2004, two years after his passing.

Each time I hear Dr. Volkow speak she reaffirms for me what I have come to understand about the disease of addiction and why there needs to be an intervention that will keep an individual in treatment long enough for healing to take place. Dr. Volkow has said that we are willing to accept research on every other level except when it comes to the disease of addiction. We know that the prefrontal cortex, the brakes, are not working and that the reward center, the go system, is working overtime. It’s not that they do not want to put the brakes on. They CAN’T put the brakes on, continuing to use “despite catastrophic consequences”.

Prior to Casey’s death, I spent days on the phone with anyone and everyone who I thought might be able to help us. Regardless of who I called, the mantra was the same, “he has to want to, lose enough and hit bottom”. Because many of them were ‘experts’ in the field, I believed what I was being told. I know now that these are ‘myths’. (www.drugabuse.gov) That is contrary to the best practices for treatment of any other chronic progressive potentially fatal disease. With other diseases, we know that the sooner the disease is recognized, the longer it’s treated, the better the chances for recovery.

Granted there may not be a myriad of studies to prove the efficacy of involuntary treatment. However, at least one that I have seen concludes no significant difference between voluntary and involuntary treatment. Regardless of how a person gets into treatment, a good indicator of success is staying in treatment.

Treatment works if you stay in treatment, a fact that informed my decision to initiate Casey’s Law. As a young man in treatment said to me, “I think it would be easier if I knew I had to be here”. The only hope that many of addicted individuals have is that someone will do for them what they are incapable of doing for themselves because of this brain disease.

Note from NKYHatesHeroin.com: Charlotte has been an inspiration to many people including members of our own family. She has her own blog to continue telling her story and sharing her experiences. Check out Charolette’s blog here.

This is a re-post of a story from Gina Bridewell-Holt , one of our “staff” here at NKYHatesHeroin.com. This story was originally posted on Gina’s blog “Raising 2 Tweens”.

I have to say I’m completely overwhelmed by the amount of hits my post 72 Hours of Heroin has had, as well as all of the comments that were made on the post. For days I couldn’t get on Facebook without it clogging up my news feed. Hundreds of people shared and it and 30,000 people read it! I wrote that post as my own therapy, just as I do all my posts. But this post became therapy for so many more people. Thousands of people.

The comments have been so hard for me to read and even harder to reply to but I know I need to for my own therapy. Dozens of people have told me their stories with heroin. My son died, my brother died, my sister is hooked, I found my cousin dead, my girlfriend won’t give it up… It was the same story with different names over and over. I was shocked. I can’t believe how common this drug is. I can’t believe how many people are hurting so bad that they are willing to inject a needle full of street drugs into their veins.

Some of the comments were from people asking me for advice. They have loved ones hooked on heroin and they don’t know how to help them. I wish I had the answers. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s in my nature to help. I will truly give you my last dollar for food, I will find you resources for therapy, medical care, housing, schooling, whatever you need. That’s just me. So seeing my boyfriend’s nephew die like this, I’m ready to take the heroin epidemic on and somehow win! Nicholas’ whole family is coming together to fight this. We want to educate others on what they can do if there is a problem but more importantly help people say no to heroin.

This is a re-post of a story from Gina Bridewell-Holt , one of our “staff” here at NKYHatesHeroin.com. This story was originally posted on Gina’s blog “Raising 2 Tweens”.

My boyfriend’s family (and I) lost a wonderful man this past week to heroin. You can read this tragic overdose story here. Nicholas Specht was always smiling. He welcomed me into the family from the first time we met. As far as we knew, he had been clean for several months since rehab. Nicholas grew up in a good town, with a wonderful christian family who cared for and loved him. He attended one of the best schools in the state. He spent the last several weeks volunteering at church with a construction project. He attended meetings every single day. We thought he was doing great.

nick funeral

But the truth is, he wasn’t doing great.  He was clean but still struggling. Nicholas had something tragic happen in his life a little over two years ago. His baby was still-born. This crushed Nicholas, as it would anyone. In a weak moment he turned to heroin. Heroin quickly changed his life. He found himself doing things he would have never done before to get this potent drug that eventually took his life.

I met him when he got out of rehab. We would chat a lot. I would tell him that he needed to stay away from his old friends, people and places where he could easily get the drug. I would tell him to call me if he felt the urge and focused on just saying no. But thanks to a comment on my post 72 Hours of Heroin that was made by a medical staff member who tried to save Nicholas last weekend, I realize I was focusing on the wrong things. I also realize that repeatedly telling my children to say no to drugs is not enough.

Think about it… I can’t imagine that anyone in their right mind wakes up one day and says “I think this will be the day I try heroin. I think I’ll put some crazy drug in a needle and shoot it into my body.” Only someone not in their right mind would do this. Something drives people to make this decision. Something horrible in their lives, like losing a baby. It may be chronic depression, a relationship breaking up, losing a job, feeling like a failure or something else that they just can’t cope with.

So in addition to teaching our kids to say no to drugs, we have to teach them that it’s okay to come to us with their problems. It’s okay to seek counseling. That no problem is too big or too small. We have to teach them how to cope with their problems. That has to start at a young age. We can’t just baby our children and tell them things will be okay. We have to teach them how to make it okay. There are tons of articles and bookson how to cope with life’s unexpected issues. We need to encourage our schools to focus on teaching kids how to cope when they preach say no to drugs.

I stood at Nicholas’ grave yesterday with my 14-year-old daughter wrapped in my arms. I cried and begged her to always tell me about stresses in her life. I told her that I will always be open and will never judge her. I will get her the help she needs to deal with anything and everything. I told her my love for her is stronger than any problem she might have. I made her promise me that she would never to turn to drugs to cope with her problems. I hope and pray she keeps that promise. My 11-year-old son and I will have the same conversation tonight.

Nicholas died just a few weeks after his 30th birthday. He turned to heroin in his late 20s. It can happen to anyone at any time. Heroin does not discriminate. It is cheap and easy to find. I am asking all of you to have this conversation with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones. Have this conversation no matter if they are 10 or 40.

Please share your thoughts and comments here as our family truly appreciates reading them. And please share this with your family and friends. Heroin is an epidemic an education is the only way to crush it.

This is a re-post of a story from Gina Bridewell-Holt , one of our “staff” here at NKYHatesHeroin.com. This story was originally posted on Gina’s blog “Raising 2 Tweens”.

When I met Nick in March he immediately told me about his nephew Nicholas who was in rehab for a heroin addiction. I was supportive. Nicholas got out of rehab and I embraced him with open arms. In fact, Nicholas and I really clicked. We would message each other through Facebook, text and talk on the phone from time to time. He came over our house for dinner a month or so ago. We grilled out, chatted and just had a good time. We talked about his addiction a lot. He often thanked me for not judging him and being so kind. I truly thought of him as my nephew. He struggled daily but was fighting so hard. His fight ended Monday, August 12 at 2 a.m. though.

I had just gone to bed and Nick was watching TV when the phone rang about 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 23. Nick came running in the room. I knew immediately by his face that something was seriously wrong and my gut told me it was Nicholas. We both rushed around getting clothes on. I was shaking. He was crying. We ran to the car and rushed to the hospital, which is luckily just a few minutes away.

Family was rushing in – aunts, uncles, grandparents, church members. Tears were flowing. I held Nicholas’ hand as the nurse told me that his heart had stopped and he had to be revived. He was not conscience and was breathing through a tube. I asked what the chances were that he’d ever wake up. I knew the real answer by the look on her face but she told me it was hard to tell at this point. I continued to hold his hand and prayed for a miracle. The family took over the ER that night. We all supported each other, made phone calls and prayed.

After several hours, Nicholas was moved to ICU. They told us they had to bring his temperature down to try to save him. That took about 24 hours. Then they had to start warming him up again so a CAT scan could be done. That scan would tell us whether he was brain-dead and what his survival rate might be. Saturday afternoon is when we were told there was no chance of survival. He could not breathe on his own and there was no brain activity. Although we were trying to prepare for this since early Friday morning, it was heart wrenching to hear. I truly can’t remember a time in my life feeling that much pain. The only thing that comes close is when Joey was diagnosed with LCH.

I have lost several family members but never to something this tragic and never anyone this young. Nicholas was only 30 (read his obit). Not long after receiving the diagnosis, we were told that he was an organ donor and that things would be prolonged because we had to find matches and fly surgeons in. This honestly caused mixed emotions. We were all thrilled Nicholas’ heart and other organs would live on. But it did mean spending more time in the hospital and postponing closure. We were told that it would probably happen around mid-afternoon on Sunday but that time-frame kept getting postponed due to finding the right match and surgeons getting there. Around 7 p.m. they told us it would happen at 2 a.m. We decided to go have dinner as a family and return to the hospital around 12:30 a.m.

heroinJust over 72 hours after that initial phone call each one of us took a turn saying goodbye. Stories about Nicholas were told, favorite things about him – like his smile – were reflected on and many tears were shed along with the question “why?” being repeated over and over. I held his hand, kissed his forehead and repeatedly said the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I told him I loved him, that it was okay to leave us now, that his struggle was over and that I would miss him terribly.


Yes, part of me wanted to scream “why the hell did you do this to us?!? Why would you do this to your parents? You were doing so good. Why didn’t you call me?” But there was no sense in that. I’m betting a heroin addict doesn’t know why. He didn’t want to hurt us. Nicholas loved everyone. He loved life. His smile showed it.

Nicholas’ death was senseless. In a weak moment two years ago, after a horrible tragedy in his life, he said yes to heroin. One time and boom you are addicted. He struggled with it ever since. He had been clean but one night let heroin win his fight. We believe he did his “normal” dose, which his body couldn’t handle because he had not been using regularly. He overdosed. His poor father heard a crash in the bathroom and found his son laying in his own vomit and was not conscience. His parents had to watch as EMTs loading him in the ambulance doing CPR and trying to save his life. His parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends spent 72 hours in the hospital hoping and praying for a miracle. A miracle that we never got.

When I finally got home and saw my own children I hugged them both and sobbed. I begged them to promise me they would never try heroin. I told them all about Nicholas and the last 72 hours. They both cried with Nick and me. They both promised they would never touch it. I will remind them of that promise at least weekly for the rest of their lives.

nick specht

Heroin can happen to anyone and any family. It’s super easy to come by. Just swing by the parking lot of a busy grocery store (even in an upscale neighborhood) or walk a few blocks in an inner city (or in the suburbs) and you will find it. It’s super cheap too. Apparently you can get really high for $5. You can die for $10. It’s not something that only happens in bad neighborhoods. It happens every where – even upscale towns. Nicolas lived in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He comes from a good family with good values. He was very loved and cared for. (See: Impact of Heroin Addiction on Family and Town and Northern Kentucky is Ground Zero for Heroin)

Dealers will give heroin to kids, adults, boys, girls, poor people, rich people, white people, black people and anyone who will take it. Heroin does not descriminate. They will even give it to you for FREE the first time because they want you to get hooked and then pay. And believe me, you will pay. You will pay with your life. Luckily Nicholas has a huge supportive family who loves each other very much. We are not going to let Nicholas’ death be senseless. We are going to tell his story over and over. We are going to find a way to educate today’s youth and families. We are going to fight heroin and find a way to win! We hope you will join our fight.

As of 2009, 100,000 people were dying from heroin use each year. It has been estimated that 6,500 die each year from heroin overdose. You can learn more about heroin here. Our family will have a website up soon called Heroinhurts.com.

Do you know someone hooked on heroin? Have you lost someone to this horrible drug? Are you ready to join the fight against heroin? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment here.