Not another statistic –  

December 11th, 2020 – After getting clean, she started working there and helped other women in recovery keep tabs on their medications and appointments.

She had found her purpose helping other women who were getting the same help she had sought. She called them “my girls.” At home, she was building a better life for her two young children. But when a challenging time left her hurting, she tried to self-medicate again, her mother said. She bought a pill and took it sitting in her car in a parking lot on Calhoun Road. “She didn’t stand a chance when she took that,” said Norma McCutcheon, her mother. “She didn’t stand a chance.”  Nikki’s body was found the next morning, still in the driver’s seat and holding her cellphone. The pill she took contained fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate used in anesthesia. The drug can be fatal even in small doses, and when administered incorrectly, it will slow the body’s functions down so much the heart and lungs stop working.  Nikki was found dead Nov. 7, 2017, one of 16 people who died that year of an accidental drug overdose.  “Nikki is not just another statistic,” Norma said. “There are so many other ‘Nikkis’ out there that deserve a second chance for a better future.”  There were people in Nikki’s life, Norma said, who enabled her to further use alcohol and marijuana to deal with stressors. Eventually, this escalated to taking pills recreationally. Norma tried to intervene, going with her daughter to rehab and supporting her in efforts to quit.

“I did everything I could think of,” Norma said. “She came to me one day and said ‘Mama, I know I’m going to have to make a change. I’m really embarrassed that I’ve been through rehab and it didn’t automatically fix this.’ I told her when you’ve reached that point, you’re ready to make a change.”

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