Wasted Youth: Second chances

(Statewide) February 9, 2006 - Drug addiction can affect almost any family, even the most loving. That was the case for a teenager from Easley, whose story of recovery has drawn a national audience.

Heather Porter started injecting meth into her body when she was was just 12-years-old, "You could just rub your finger up my vein right there and that's rough from poking it so much with a needle."

"I just really did it just to get high. I liked the feeling it gave me."

She's 16 now. In school, Porter's grades dropped from Bs to Fs. A year ago, while "high," she got arrested for shoplifting. She was sentenced to a treatment center for 50 days.

"That was a sad thing, especially when she told us all the stuff she was on. It broke my heart. I cried all the way back home," says Laura Gilbert. Gilbert is Heather's stepmom, "To me she's my daughter."

Heather lied to Laura and her father about her addiction. While in rehab, it hit her how lucky she was to have a loving family, "Some of these kids had some heartbreaking stories. I just couldn't see myself being like that anymore."

That's why she's sharing her story with teens across the nation. Her road to recovery is featured in the March issue of "Teen People."

She warns that addiction is an equal-opportunity problem, "It can happen to anybody. Don't matter what kind of family you come from, don't matter who you are how old you are, nothing. It can happen to anybody."

But she also tells a story of hope for those who can't give up the drugs, "This has been wonderful experience for me to go through rehab, and I feel like a normal person should. Just to anybody out there who's been through what I have, you have a second chance. Take it, because you might not get it again."

Heather has been clean for five and a half months. She quit meth, and is now into making memories. Gilbert says, "I'm very proud of her. I want her to continue to get her education and make something out of herself."

And if Heather has it her way, she wants to be a graphic design artist.

If you think you're child may be using drugs, help is out there. WIS has collected some contact information:

William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility
910 Cook Rd.
Orangeburg , SC 29116
(803) 534-2328

Also, the SC Department of Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Services has a website with information on treatment services>>

Reported by Angie Goff

Posted 6:50pm by Chantelle Janelle