Mother opens up about daughter's struggle with heroin

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Heroin use has been on the increase for the past 10 years in Arizona, and some think it will continue to rise as addicts switch from pain pills to the cheaper drug.

Now, we meet a Valley mother who put her daughter in detox last week, and is fighting to keep her alive.

Jennifer Price flipped through pictures in a cardboard box.  Most of them show smiling kids on family trips over the years. Some of them are of her daughter Bianka. The photos show Bianka going to the prom, camping, and graduating high school.

“It was her 11th or 12th birthday party at the Ice Den,” Price said, holding a picture of a smiling girl with braces.

Bianka is now 19, and she sent her mother new pictures more than a week ago of infected sores on her hand and arms. They're infections caused by dirty needles used to shoot heroin. Bianka's mom picked her up in California and got her to the hospital.

“I knew if I didn't go, I would never see her again,” said Price. “There might be a true chance I would never see her again."

Price said her daughter's addiction is so complete, she worries heroin will eventually kill her.

“I'm here talking to you to be as open as I can about it to make people understand how severe and real this is,” she said.

Price said both her daughters grew up in a sober household, but like any other, it wasn't perfect. They aren't sure when Bianka started experimenting with drugs, but they took her to the hospital with alcohol poisoning at the age of 14.

“It's been a long fight,” she said. “I didn't know if I could keep chasing her and keep going to get her, and keep bringing her to rehabs.”

Price said it became worse after Bianka turned 18.  Without complete power of attorney, she can't control her daughter’s insurance or medical care, or even find out the answers to some questions at the hospital. 

“She's willing to go this time,” Price said. “I'm grateful for that but there's a time frame that needs to take place. I don't think she needs to come home.” 

They are now struggling to get her into another rehabilitation program. So far, they haven't found one the state will cover so they may have to spend thousands again. The only other option is to give up.

“I really believe in my heart she can't help it anymore,” she said. “That is stronger than her will to live.”


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