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Op-ed: The night my mom overdosed on heroin

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 19:44:19-04

Caitlyn Holt lives in Ludlow, Kentucky.

This is part of WCPO's Heroin Project: How Do We Respond?

Tonight was an amazing night. I watched my brother play his heart out on the field along with the rest of our boys. I came home and edited and uploaded some great pictures of pretty girls in dresses;and handsome young men putting in work. As I lay in bed next to my four-year-old, I got a phone call that would change my life forever.

My mom was overdosed and lying on my stepdad's bedroom floor.

He didn't know what to do, who to call (besides me) or what she had taken. I immediately ran to the car and went to their house. In the 30 seconds it took to get there, I had already called 911, told them there was an overdose, looked at her pale, lifeless body and known she was almost gone.

I felt for a pulse that was not there. I listened for any breathing, but I knew I wouldn't hear it. As the operator was talking, I began CPR. Nothing was happening. Nothing.

I continued for a couple minutes. Finally, something. The breaths weren't much, but they were there. Her pulse wasn't much, but it meant she didn't die. Until the EMTs arrived, I continued to try and breathe life into the woman who had given the same thing to me.

Once the EMTs arrived, they asked a series a questions that I answered with brutal honesty. I watched them administer three doses of Narcan and intubate her so she could finally breathe clearly. She was alive but not awake yet because the heroin on the streets is almost immune to Narcan.

As they were getting ready to put her on a gurney to take her to the hospital, she woke up. Mad. She told them she didn't overdose and that she was fine the whole time. She got up and walked to the ambulance as if she hadn't just died.

She was taken to the hospital where she'll get IV fluids and checked to make sure she is breathing fine. She will not go to jail, even though there were needles, with heroin in them, in her purse. The same needles that she almost killed herself with.

She will not have to get help with her addiction, because the call was an EMT call and not a police call. She will continue to use because she knows as long as she doesn't get caught by a cop with the drugs while she isn't overdosing, she's got a get-out-of-jail-free card.

I hope you have never witnessed someone overdosed and dead. If you have, you know it changes your life.

I should not have to sit and beg and plead with a cop to arrest my mother because she almost died. Cops should not have to look the other way when they know an overdose has occurred and drugs are still present. People who use should be held responsible and then get help.

Tonight, I saved my mom from heroin overdose. Sadly, I know in my heart it won't be the last time if she doesn't get help and treatment.

The worst part of the whole night wasn't witnessing or doing anything I did. It was coming home to my 17-year-old brother, telling him what happened and seeing the look of disappointment and hurt as tears ran down his face. This is real life, and although I feel no pity for addicts, I feel pity for all the kids affected by it. Pity that addicts don't go to jail to get the help they need.

I love an addict, but she doesn't love herself.