Former addict shares her story at town hall addressing drug epidemic

Published: .
Updated: .

Ohio now ranks fourth in the nation for the most heroin addicts in the country.

Heroin deaths are up 753 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Citizens, clergy, educators, social workers and law enforcement came together Monday night to find solutions.

One of the speakers is a former recovering heroin addict, Nicole Manual.

"I'm a liar a manipulator, a cheater, and a thief and I'm very honest with myself to keep me
grounded," she said.

She went from working as a corrections officer who cared for her three boys, to a life of ‘sleeping in random cars.’

“My family all but gave up on me,” Manual said.

Manual said her addiction started with a work injury. She was prescribed the drug Percocet and it went downhill from there.

"My addict brain took over and I needed more and I needed Percocet and I needed this and I needed that and it ultimately led to heroin addiction," she said.

Heroin is what brought dozens to a town hall meeting inside the city's library annex.

People stood up to tell the panel the city needs more detox centers, more rehabilitation centers, and easier access to mental health professionals.

They expressed concerns about how the poor can afford safe housing so they can recover.

Manual was one of the lucky ones. She found a way to get clean before heroin killed her.

“I'll be announcing tonight by the grace of God one day at a time I'll have 19 months clean," she said.

She said it was pure will and self-control that drove her away from heroin. So far it's worked.

She wants others to know heroin doesn't have to win.

"While there may be a monster living inside of you it's not something you have to feed," she said.

A fundraiser Tuesday night will be help to raise money for Cheryl's House of Hope. It provides housing for those in recovery.

The non-profit is hoping to raise $77,000 to get a larger house.

Roof for Recovery March 21: There will be a meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. at St. Mary's Life Center, 61 S. Paint St. Sheila Raye Charles, the daughter of Ray Charles and a former crack-cocaine addict, is the guest speaker. A single reservation is $75, and a table of eight is $500. For tickets or more information, call Cheryl Beverly at 740-703-9615.