Addiction does not discriminate

One citizen’s story of watching her child fight opiate addiction

Marci Davis dealt with addiction early in life because of an alcoholic parent.

“I lived through it in my own childhood, phases of it, without realizing it,” she said. “I never dreamed that it would be my own child.”

That child, Jacob, started life precariously. Born with a heart condition, Jacob’s tiny heart failed when he was nine days old. He endured three open heart surgeries before his second birthday.

“Basically, they told me that they didn’t think he would live, at nine days old,” Davis recalled. “It was so awful then, going through all that.”

When baby Jacob would cry inconsolably, Davis remembers seeing him turn blue, because he couldn’t get enough oxygen. Sometimes his whole body would turn a blueish tint, which was terrifying for her.

Parts of that awful memory started reoccurring under different circumstances when Jacob was 18-years-old, as he abused and overdosed on heroine.

Jacob was 16 when he started taking Vicodin, Ritalin, or Adderall with groups of friends before school, said Davis. When a friend of a friend who was older told him he’d love heroine, he tried snorting it. Soon someone told him that needles were a more effective high.

“He had no anxiety around needles, because of his heart surgeries, so it wasn’t hard to shoot up,” Davis said.

So began a six year nightmare of watching your only child, the person you love most in the world, put his life in danger daily abusing drugs. Jacob became one of the thousands of victims of an epidemic that has reached emergency levels in the U.S.: opiate addiction. Davis agonized as Jacob struggled.

“I just kept thinking, ‘a person with a completely healthy heart can’t survive all this drug use. How in the world is he going to live through this?’ That ran through my mind every minute. ‘I don’t know if his heart can take this.’ All the time worried sick about what would happen.”

She remembers the night of his overdose, how he was foaming at the mouth, almost choking.

“All of a sudden he became conscious, and was drenched with sweat. He was saying he didn’t do anything, he just fell asleep. We were trying to tell him, ‘No, that’s not falling asleep. You were blue.’”

Next month hear how Marci Davis endured the worst of her son’s addiction.

Read Jacob's perspective here.