ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has done nothing to slow the opioid epidemic. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon called this past year the worst year for the opioid crisis.
A Central New York woman who struggled with addiction for years reached out to NewsChannel 9 to share her story, and offer encouragement and hope.
“If I didn’t stop using, I was going to die from all the damage that I had done. And it didn’t even phase me,” said Heather Paulding, who has recovered from addiction.
Paulding has a lot to celebrate these days. She’s now healthy, confident, and an entrepreneur, but she’s quick to remember the dark days.
“Opioids made me into a completely different person and controlled my life. Every sense of me- my mind, my body, my soul. Everything,” Paulding recounted.
Paulding’s addiction to opioid’s followed surgery, and what followed was a very dark and scary path.
“If I didn’t stop using, I was going to die from all the damage that I had done. And it didn’t even phase me,” she said.
Paulding is sharing this intimate tale to encourage others not to give up hope, and to seek treatment. She wants those who struggle with addiction to know that they’re not alone.
“You have to make the choices to change, and break free from the isolation, taking these steps to ask for help and accept help. This has to be the number one priority. This was my number one priority, to get off opioids,” said Paulding.
Paulding’s experience also highlights the need to spread the message that addiction is a disease, and not something to be endured in shameful silence.
Heather Paulding urges anyone struggling with addiction, or in need of advice or encouragement to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.