FROM HEROIN TO HEROINE –
Feb. 2, 2022 – Parker is honest about what it took to recover, hard work, medical attention and a lot of help from agencies dedicated to providing support for those in recovery.
“I had to learn skills to learn how to live life differently and to be able to face those demons and deal with what had been plaguing me,” she said.
Parker said she started taking suboxone to address the chronic pain and withdrawal symptoms without leaving her craving more and dependency counselors and agencies helped her apply for disability until she was ready to get back on her feet.
Yet, with a criminal record, Parker said job prospects seemed slim. The notable exception was the field she already immersed herself in: Recovery services.
“Someone with lived experiences to help others, it’s so impactful,” she said.
Many of the people who helped her, were also in recovery, so Parker figured she could do the same. She took a certification course to become a chemical dependency counselor assistant and started working as an Outreach Manager and Peer Recovery Supporter at Brightview Health, while also taking every opportunity to advocate or speak publicly about her own experiences.
“I started to realize that my story can help people,” she said.
Parker advocated for improved access to the life-saving drug Narcan and an end to the stigma surrounding addiction and by 2018, she said it felt like Ohio was turning the tide in the fight against opioids. Then came 2020.