Seven Days of Heroin
8:30 p.m. Thursday
Brandon McCormick finds a seat in the back of the conference room and waits for the others to arrive.
It’s his first meeting with the “Bedtime Breakfast Club,” a support group at Dorman Products in Warsaw, Ky.
ABOVE: Brandon McCormick tells the support group that he's overdosed five times. Dorman Products in Warsaw, Kentucky has made a point to support workers struggling with addiction, which they find increasingly more of. The company says it's safer if employees feel comfortable being honest and asking for help, which can prevent workplace injuries. Carrie Cochran/The Enquirer
McCormick, 32, is new to the auto parts supplier and to the group. He was worried about coming because he thought it might be held against him, but he was more worried about trying to stay off heroin on his own.
“I’ve been on pills and heroin for the better part of the last seven years,” he tells the group.
He hasn’t used drugs in a month, he says, but he knows he’s not out of the woods. He tells them he thinks about using every day, multiple times a day. He’s afraid of what he might do next week when he cashes his first paycheck and has some money to spend.
“I have nobody to talk to,” McCormick says.
The group leader tells him he’s wrong.
“Now you have a whole big ol' family,” he says.
8 p.m. Saturday
The sun cascades through the enormous oak trees in Maureen Sharib’s front yard as her grandchildren drop into the grass and roll down the hill, giggling most of the way.
Sharib can hear their laughter from the back deck, where she’s sipping lemonade and watching the sun set.
Sometimes, Sharib wonders how they can be so happy. Jaxon is 4 and Brianna is 9 and they have plenty of reasons not to be. Their mom, Natalie Bauer, overdosed and died in January after a decade of battling an addiction to heroin and painkillers.
Sharib, Natalie's mom, is raising Brianna now, and Sharib's sister is raising Jaxon. They’re doing their best to provide safe and happy homes, but it's hard.
Some nights, Brianna will cry out, “I want my mommy! I want my mommy!” Some nights, she climbs into the closet and digs out an old framed photograph of her mom that Sharib hides away, for fear it will upset the kids.
ABOVE: Maureen Sharib calms her granddaughter Brianna, 9, after getting out of bed at night. Brianna's mom, Natalie Bauer died Jan. 29 after a lengthy battle with heroin and opiates. Xanax and fentanyl were found in her system. Carrie Cochran/The Enquirer
The children will spend the night together, as they do most weekends, here at Sharib’s house in Mount Lookout. They go to bed around 9:30, but Brianna keeps getting up and coming back into the living room.
She finally climbs onto her grandmother's lap. Sharib strokes her hair and kisses her forehead until Brianna closes her eyes.
11:41 p.m. Sunday
Lizzie Hamblin stands in the doorway of her son’s room. It’s mostly empty now.
Scotty returned while she was gone and took almost everything of value that he owned. He’ll probably sell it, she thinks, so he can buy heroin.
Lizzie told him not to come home if he’s using drugs. She told him she’d call his parole officer if he did. She wants Scotty safe, but for too long she’s let her love for him stand in the way of doing what’s best for him. He needs to get treatment
ABOVE: Lizzie Hamblin scrolls through Facebook as she waits for an answer for her son. He's out on the street and hasn't heard from him in more than a day. Carrie Cochran/The Enquirer
Earlier today, Lizzie talked to Kim Hill. She’ll see her tomorrow at the funeral for Kim’s son, Tommy.
Kim told Lizzie she’s praying Scotty gets arrested and locked up before it’s too late.
Lizzie scrolls through her text messages from Scotty. They have been angry, cruel. He blames her for his problems. It’s what he does when he’s using heroin.
She types a message to him: “Love you.”
She will keep saying those words until he hears her.
Her phone pings and she picks it up. It’s a message from Scotty.
“Love you too.”
RIGHT: Lizzie Hamblin finally hears from her son. She says she'll sleep a little easier tonight. Carrie Cochran/The Enquirer
ABOVE: Kim Hill holds her grandson at the funeral of his father and her son, Tommy. Tommy overdosed a week earlier on heroin in Newport, Ky. and was found by his roommate hours later. She watched the paramedics carry the body bag out the front door and to the sidewalk, as one lost his grip. She said she knows they have to see this all the time, but she doesn't. She yelled, "That’s my child! He is not a piece of garbage!" Carrie Cochran/The Enquirer