HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - HEMSI paramedics say that on average they run on at least two opiate overdoses a week. Sometimes those will happen in one day.
On Feb. 20, those two happened at the same time in the same parking lot of a discount store parking lot in Huntsville.
One young woman who overdosed in her car came to. Huntsville police pulled pill bottle after pill bottle out of her purse and placed them on a patrol car. It wasn't long before she was in the back of that patrol car with handcuffs on. She was hauled off to jail and charged with distribution.
Meantime, in the back of an ambulance another woman referred to as "Lucy" was being revived. She had passed out and overdosed after shooting up heroin and opiates in her car.
There was a car seat inside her vehicle and a stroller in the truck. "Lucy" apparently left that baby at home to go get high.
HEMSI chief operations officer Don Webster said he wasn't surprised to see "Lucy" on the stretcher being revived. She had been on that stretcher before.
"This is your third relapse," he told her once she was coherent enough to understand what had just happened and was going on.
"You've got to work with me. You got to work with the program," he told her.
Webster pleaded with her to get help. Paramedics got her to the hospital to be checked out, but it was not so much for her. It was for the child inside her.
WAFF 48 News investigated what happened to her and her unborn child, and if it survived the overdose. Webster helped find out. In a matter of days, Webster found "Lucy" and also found out she wanted to share her story.
It turns out she's a 23-year-old mother trying to raise a family on one side of a duplex while her parents were living on the other side. She is not what typically comes to mind when thinking of a drug addict but certainly someone driven by a force bigger than herself.
She was also 23 weeks pregnant.
"I did too much, I guess to numb the pain," she said.
When asked if she was trying to commit suicide, she answered "no."
"I was just try to get high," she said. "I'm an addict."
When asked about her child and pregnancy, she said with a quivering voice that the drive is that addictive.
"When you don't have it, you have to have it. So that makes the chase even more so you have to have it," said "Lucy." "You hurt physically. Your back hurts, Your body hurts. You sweat. Your stomach hurts. So you just want to keep coming back for more."
She's been shooting coke and heroin, along with taking pills, on and off for the last five years. She shared that if she had the money, she'd do anything.
She said she quit using this year with the help of legally prescribed Suboxone but lost access to it when she lost her insurance.
"I didn't have any Suboxone, so my resort is what I found and that was heroin. And I did it. I IV'd," she said.
She IV'd, shot it intravenously. In her car. Alone. In a discount store parking lot.
"I still did neglect and left my child at home to go and get high," she said.
She swore that in her right mind, she would have never done that.
"No, I would not. Not in my right mind," she said.
She answered emotionally about her baby at home, saying, "I am going through DHR, I do have to be supervised by either my mom or dad."
That's supervision all day, then at night.
"I am not allowed to stay the night after 11-7. I have to leave my home," she said, acklnowleding that this is "very" tough.
"I think it's the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my life," she said.
"Lucy" said this is enough to scare her straight.
"I'm a great mother and I love my daughter and it breaks my heart that I have to leave her every night because of something stupid that I did," she said.
"Lucy" said her 1-year-old has no health issues or developmental delays due to her drug use. As for the baby she's carrying, "Lucy" said the fetus' health is "perfectly fine."
"Because I only relapsed for about two and a half weeks. They said it shouldn't cause any long-term anything," she said.
"Lucy" tearfully said what she wanted people to know about the situation.
"That it is an illness. That people can't help what they do. They can't help that they neglect and forget about everything else to just get high because it is an addiction and it does take over your life. It takes over your body," she said. "You suffer from it. You hurt. Your body hurts and you hurt your mind. You get depressed and it really is an illness. Once you try and you like it, it's your thing.. It's really hard to stop."
'Lucy" got lucky in that parking lot this overdose. She survived. But only time will tell if she winds up in the back of an ambulance again or if she's finally able to stop.
"I'm going to do my best," she said.
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