I first met Natalie at a local party. We got along instantly and all of my 'friends' were attracted to her vibrant personality and ability to laugh at anything. Unfortunately, even if it would mean that I would never have been friends with Natalie, I wish that nobody met her at that party and I have many reasons. After that party, Natalie started coming around my circle of 'friends' every once in awhile. All of the people that were supposedly my 'friends' started dabbling with heroin. Natalie said that she had tried it before, but it was obvious that she was innocent and did not deserve to be around it like me. We were very young. I was only 16, and she was only 17. Everyone else was in there middle 20's. A couple of months went by and I didn't see or hear from Natalie that much. I saw her again at an ex-boyfriend named John's (name changed) house a couple months after she started to come around. She started seeing one of my ex boyfriends brothers, Riley (name changed). Two and a half years before she started going out with Riley, and before I knew Natalie, that was around the time I was going out with his brother. I just turned 15 and he was 23. Unfortunately, he introduced me to Heroin and I became so sick that I dropped out of school, overdosed 4 times, died 2 times in the hospital but was revived, and caused a lot of problems with my family. After all the mayhem, I decided to get clean. But, the bad mistake I made was that I thought I was still strong enough to hang with the people I knew who did drugs because I had no other friends. So, as I started to see my friends all get addicted, I tried to warn them about what would happen. Nobody listened to me. Natalie eventually got addicted when she started going out with Riley (name changed), the same thing that happened to me two years before. However, still there was nothing I could do or say to make anyone stop. I moved away to a different town deciding that for my recovery I had to get away. During the year I was in the new town I had some relapses, but I eventually got back on the wagon. I didn't hear anything from my old friends. I would sometimes call to see if some of my friends were still alive. Unfortunately, 2 passed away that year. When I would go back to my old town I sometimes saw Natalie. For a while I thought she was clean because she always looked so well put together and always had a smile on her face. Her appearance was unlike other addicted friends I knew. Since I went threw what Natalie had went threw and got out of the life, the few times I talked to her we would talk about what was going on. She made it seem like things were going good for her. She was such a strong person. Her and her boyfriend eventually broke up so I figured now that she wasn't with him she would get clean. Months passed by and I didn't hear from Natalie and all my old friends because I was still staying away and working on my recovery. I hoped that Natalie was doing the same. One day I was back at my old town visiting my mom. An old friend asked me to come hang out and go to a party. I knew it was wrong and didn't want to be around heroin so I didn't go out. A couple of days later when I was back in my new town, I got a call from one of my old friends. They told me that Natalie overdosed. I asked "is she okay?" I figured she was ok since she overdosed in the past. They told me she had passed away and I was in complete shock and denial. Natalie's ex boyfriend has been charged in connection with a heroin sting and is awaiting trial. Rest In Peace Natalie. You will be forever missed. My heart goes out to Doreen and Victor Ciappa, and the rest of the Ciappa family.
Partners for Hope raise critical funds on behalf Partnership to End Addiction – the nation’s leading organization dedicated to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. Every dollar raised on behalf of the Partnership* will help ensure free, personalized family support resources, including our national helpline, peer-to-peer parent coaching, customized online tools and community education programs, can reach those who need them most. Please consider donating to this fundraiser and sharing this page.
*Donations made to Partnership to End Addiction are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. All contributions are fully tax-deductible, as no goods or services are provided in consideration in whole, or in part, of any contribution to this nonprofit organization. EIN: 52-1736502