Knowing all too well the utter confusion you face when finding out your loved one has an addiction, Karla wants to do whatever she can to help get the resources out into the communities and available for easy access. She believes that families and friends need to know where and who they can turn for help, support and advice. Karla feels that individuals with a substance use disorder need to know where and who they can reach out to find the resources, help, support and advice they need to fight addiction and win.
When Karla first found out that her daughter Alicia was addicted to heroin she was in shock; Karla's daughter lived in Florida and was in the Navy and doing very well for herself. Alicia was in her 7th year and she had just returned to the states from a six-month tour served in Italy and another six months served in Japan. She had a couple of minor surgeries and was prescribed painkillers, which she used and continued to receive refills for to address a back injury. When she could no longer get refills, she turned to heroin, and her career went downhill quickly; eventually, she was discharged from the Navy.
Karla's daughter Alicia battled her addiction alone with no insurance and no money, losing her apartment, losing all her belongings she had accumulated while in the Navy, losing her dignity and in the end losing her life in March of 2016. She was proud and too ashamed to come to Karla for help; she didn't want to disappoint Karla and she was very embarrassed of the situation.
Karla believes that It is so important that we change the stigma surrounding addiction and substance use disorder. She believes that it’s time we look at it as a disease and realize we need to help and provide the resources so that individuals, as well as their families, can get the help and support they all need.
Karla says that she may only be one person, but by uniting with other like-minded individuals, we can educate to change the stigma and provide access to resources in a combined effort to turn this epidemic around and save precious lives!