SAN ANTONIO — Many are dealing with the stress of not working, children not in school and the risk of contracting COVID-19. The DEA wants to remind the public before they turn to drugs to deal with the situation, to remember how addictive and deadly a drug addiction can be... a message a former drug addict wants people to remember.
"It’s very deadly, this disease," said Valarie McDonald, a heroin addict at the time was doing what she normally does, Shooting up just to get high.
"I don’t remember anything from the night I overdosed, I know the people that I was in the car with, they didn’t want to deal with someone that died so they threw me out in an alley," said McDonald.
McDonald woke up in the back of an ambulance after being revived by EMT using Narcan, that saved her life.
"When I came to and was freaking out , you know, the EMT said we didn’t know if you were going to make it," said McDonald.
"What’s going on through the mind of a heroin addict, a meth addict, who know that this can happen to them," Yami asked. "I definitely didn’t think it was going to happen to me, especially because I did the same amount I had always done. I didn’t do anymore or any less, it definitely wasn’t planned," said McDonald.
According to the DEA, new drugs are hitting the street that are cheaper, but deadlier and each hit is a chance you take.
"You are again, as I’ve often said, playing Russian Roulette when you take some of these narcotics that can be counterfeit and could have a deadly drug in them such as fentanyl," said Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the San Antonio district.
"Really with any of the drugs, there’s so much being put in there that of course your drug dealer isn’t going to tell you, right... because they don’t care," said McDonald.
Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanyl is 10,000 times more potent and a 100 times more potent than fentanyl. This shows how much a fatal dose of each can be. A risk they're willing to take because it's all about the next hit add to that you don't know if the person who handled your drugs has COVID-19 exposing you to it.
"The night I overdosed, after they released me from the hospital, I walked across the street to a hotel and shot up again," said McDonald.
Today, McDonald tries to help others who are recovering drug addicts and she sends them a powerful message.
"If you have any reservations as to whether you’re going to go use again, go ahead and write a goodbye letter to your family, because you never know if you’re going to make it," said McDonald.
McDonald works closely with Alpha Home helping others just like her, saying recovery is always possible.
"I know a lot of people out there couldn’t imagine that there is another way to live, because our disease really gets us to a deep dark ugly place and there’s a way out. There is a way out," said McDonald.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction reach out to Alpha Home or call (210) 735-3822.