In Memory of Steven Carter – Taken Suddenly by Heroin Addiction

In memory of Steven A Carter - Lost to Heroin AddictionThis is Steven A. Carter. He would have been 22 years old if he were still with us. There are many tragic stories like his, that so desperately need to be shared in order to understand how to better treat addiction and save lives.  Sadly, Steven lost his life to a heroin overdose in 2014.  But nobody wants to be remembered for their disease or how they died.  Instead, their lives should be celebrated and the person they were in their prime should be remembered and cherished.  In this article, Chanda Lynn shares her memory of Steven Carter after interviewing his mother, Sharon.   Below is Steven Carter’s story.

Steven loved fitness and going to Virginia Beach on vacation with his family. I remember playing football with him, he was always so athletic and bright. He also happened to run much faster than I ever could. He attended Jamestown Community College doing start-up classes and worked at Jamestown Mattress Company. He loved going to the gym and staying in shape. See, many people have this mental image of who he became when he was actively addicted, but drugs and addiction do not discriminate and they affect anyone and everyone.

Around Steven’s senior year in highschool he struggled with anxiety and depression and was prescribed Xanax.  This is when Steven’s mother Sharon believed the door was opened to his addiction. On Mother’s Day of 2014 Sharon got a call that Steven was found unresponsive from a heroin overdose and she raced back home to help. Steven was given Narcan (naloxone) and was very fortunately revived.

In Sharon’s own words, she said she never knew of his heroin addiction before this day.  They lived in the same home and their bedrooms were next to one another.

“You always think it is going to be someone else’s kid and never your own,” Sharon said.

In memory of Steven A Carter - Lost to Heroin AddictionAs soon as Sharon learned of Steven’s heroin addiction she frantically searched for some sort of addiction help and support for Steven. The day after his nearly fatal overdose, Steven reached out for help. He went to a local outpatient hospital called Jones Hill, in Jamestown NY. They took him to intake and then afterwards, they told him to come back in a week. After the week was up, Steven met with a nurse who then told him that it would be another 3 weeks until he saw a doctor for addiction treatment. He was not able to be detoxed at the time because he was in no visible signs of heroin withdrawal and had no drugs in his system.

Unfortunately, Steven was turned away from treatment because he wasn’t high – all because he couldn’t pee “dirty”. He desperately wanted help, but when he did reach out, he was denied it.

On June 20th, 2014, a little over a month after his first heroin overdose, Sharon received another call.  Her son Chris had found Steven cold, not breathing and without a pulse. Medics tried Narcan and CPR, but to no avail.

When Steven had reached the hospital, Sharon was given the worst news any mother could ever get- that her son had passed away.

Sharon now works with the Hope Chautauqua Coalition and their Committees, the Adult Awareness Committee at the Mental Health Association and runs a women’s group as well. She shares her story in hopes that it will help someone and in the hopes that we can save lives. She wants people to know that when an addict reaches out for help we have to help them right then – not 4 weeks later as in Steven’s case.

“I am not ashamed that my child was into drugs,” Sharon said.  “Addiction doesn’t discriminate whether you’re black or white”.

I went to school with Steven since I was 7 years old. I will always remember his bright smile. But, I can’t help but get so angry when I think of what happened to him. Many people I work with on a day to day basis don’t want help, they don’t want to stop. But then you have someone like Steven who wanted and pleaded for the help, only to be turned away and told to wait over 4 weeks.  It was a senseless death. It was preventable.

I want people to understand that when a drug or heroin addict reaches out for help, it’s like a person who’s been underwater – coming up for air, if you don’t catch them when they take their breath, they’ll sink right back under. We have to catch people. We have to take people seriously. We have to help people when they need it and when they ask for it.

Steven A Carter will never grow old, he will never get married, he will never have a family. Steven’s mother will have to live with the pain of losing a child for the rest of her life. Now is the time to change the way we handle men and women suffering from the disease of addiction – the way we treat them or don’t.  Individuals need to understand that addicts are people with families, with potential, with people who love them. Many, many lives could be saved if individuals would just respond and give help to those who ask for it.

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Written by William Charles, Owner / Publisher and Chanda Lynn, Editor / Writer / Blogger For Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

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4 thoughts on “In Memory of Steven Carter – Taken Suddenly by Heroin Addiction

  1. I am so very sorry for the loss of your soon Steven. I too list my son Brian. March 21St 2016.I miss him terribly every single day. He was a Son a brother and a Father. Leaving not only me but his two sins and a daughter.

  2. In my comment I meant to say leaving not only me but also his two Sons and a daughter. It printed two sins and that is not what I meant to write. Please correct before posting.

  3. It’s not okay that so many young lives have been taken from us due to drugs or friends not calling for help. This is huge in our area. I to lost my 21 yr old daughter in dec 23rd 2011. When they are ready to get help it shouldn’t be impossible to get them the help they need. My heart goes out to you Sharon and all others who have to endure this pain for the rest of our lives. Love,hugs and prayers!

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