I first met Tammy about 17 years ago. Her kid and my kid were in a sport together.

For several years, our kids played together or against each other.

Once our kids grew up, we didn't see each other - maybe at the movies once, and at the store a couple of times.

She and her husband were always nice and friendly. They seemed like a typical South Jersey couple - hard-working, supporting their kids, and working their way through life.

I was surprised to get a text from Tammy recently.

" I wonder if you can help me share my story", she texted.

"OK...." I responded. "What's up?"

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A local mom shares her drug addiction story

"I know you have a background with addiction, and I want to share my story, so people know how common the problem is - and that it can happen to them."

(Some background here: My "background with addition" is that I grew up with an alcoholic father, who - thank God - found his way to sobriety by the time he reached about 40 years old. He used his sobriety to fuel his interest in helping others. He went on to found, build, and operate a drug/alcohol treatment facility, and helped thousands of people overcome their addictions. While I was never involved in his business, his interest enabled me to be keenly aware of the problem of addiction in this country.)

Tammy proceeded to tell me that she was in recovery for her addiction to heroin.


Heroin's a street drug, done by poor and homeless people. Not soccer moms from a sprawling township in South Jersey. Not moms who drove their kids to school, practices, games, and activities.

Who's she kidding, heroin?

" I want to tell my story, so people know it isn't just the poor. It isn't just the down and out. It's people like all of us. It's people like me."

NOTE: Some facts about "Tammy" have been changed to protect her identity. While she was OK if I used her real name and such, I am not. I'm not comfortable with how people could react to finding this out about Tammy - and, yes, I find that sad.

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The interview with the heroin-addicted soccer mom

Tammy doesn't look like she's a heroin addict. She looks like any other mom you'd see at Shoprite, at Target, or waiting in the pick-up line at school.

She's neatly dressed, not disheveled and dirty.

She drives a nice car, and lives in a nice house. She's still married. She has a job. She doesn't look like a heroin addict. She looks like you and me.

"That's the point", she says. "That's why I want to do this. I want people to know I am like you, I am like them."

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What follows is a transcript of our conversation.

"I assume you didn't just one day start taking heroin out of the blue."

"I was always taking pills. I had a lot of surgeries and other medical problems. Doctors were giving me pills left and right.

"Back in the day,I had to go to Urgent Care for an accidental injury, and the doctor prescribed me Percocet. I called him an hour after I got home and told him I accidentally dropped them in the toilet. He wrote me another prescription for 90 more pills.

"My pill addiction just kept getting refueled, until one doctor caught on to what I had been doing, and brought a halt to what I had been doing for years.

"Until then, I was Superwoman, thanks to the pills, like Percocet. My house was clean, I had a car and a job. I took care of my kids. I was involved in their activities. I was high the whole time."

"What did you do when you couldn't get pills from doctors?"

"I found new ways to find pills. When I couldn't get pills, I abused alcohol. Any way I could to get that high that I needed to survive."

"So how do you start using heroin?"

"My sister introduced me to it. At first I was horrified, but thenI tried it, and it worked. She told me to sniff it, and that's what I did. I never stuck a needle in my arm. I had kids and a husband and I didn't want to lose them. I rationalized my use by thinking I was only taking enough to get be through each day.

"I still took mostly pills, but when I couldn't, I went out and got heroin."

"Where did you get heroin?"

"My friends. Heroin is everywhere. All you have to do is talk about pills, and people will help you. I didn't go to the streets - I was afraid of the law.

"It it so easy to find. You can go to any supermarket, and store, and see people standing outside and you know all you have to say is, 'Do you have any dope?'

"There were other people like me that I would buy from. Middle class people."

"Anything else?"

"It's everywhere. There are stores in Atlantic City where you walk in and everyone knows why you're there.

"These drugs are everywhere. They are in middle-class America."

"Where are you now?"

"Happily, I'm in recovery. Seven months clean."

"Final comment?"

"I hope one person reads this and realizes they can get out of it. There is help, Reach out for it."

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