‘That drug is like the devil’: Heroin addict tells story from Butler County Jail

If there is a silver lining from the opioid crisis, it is that more money and programs are now in place to deal with the underlying problem of addiction.  

Throughout September, the Journal-News has brought you closer looks at the way Butler County is changing the narrative around addiction.

The Journal-News also brought you the stories of two people who illustrate the continuing challenges addicts face. 

Here is the story of Michelle Hobson, one of those women.———

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Drug addiction has caused Michelle Hobson to do things she thought were impossible.

Stealing. Drug trafficking. Prostitution. Going to jail — multiple times.

The Hamilton woman said heroin is the reason she can’t be a mom to her two children, who are being raised by their grandparents.

“That drug is like the devil,” said Hobson, 30. “You will sell your soul for that drug. It’s worse than anything I’ve ever done.”

ANOTHER ADDICT’S STORY: ‘You can have your life back. You just have to earn it back.’

Hobson has a few months remaining on her latest booking in the Butler County Jail, this time for drug trafficking after violating the terms of her probation.

Heroin has been Hobson’s primary drug of choice since she began using at age 17, she sad but she hasn’t decided to get clean until recently. After she gave birth to her second child — who will be 2 in December — she had been clean for a year before a relapse.

Hobson’s story is familiar. She grew up in Hamilton, the middle sister of three living with their mother. Her father, who wasn’t married to her mother, was “around” but not completely in her life. Hobson’s older sister served as a second mom as she ran the household while their mother worked one of three jobs.

Hobson drank and smoked marijuana as a teenager.

Then she moved onto pain pills after having her wisdom teeth removed.

OPIOID INVESTIGATION: Pace of overdose deaths has slowed this year in Butler County

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Heroin was introduced to her by an older boy who injected her, and she said, “I just liked it.”

“I couldn’t tell you what made me do it, except for the experience. Experimented,” she said.

Hobson said she has a new mindset when it comes to her recovery.

“I’m way more stronger. I’m more determined,” she said. “I want to find out what my purpose is. I want to have a purpose. I don’t exactly know what it is yet. I believe in God and I know that he’s helping me through this, giving me guidance.”

She said she had always believed in God, but drug addiction puts you “in a dark place.”

“You forget a lot of things,” she said. “This time I’m reaching out to anybody, everybody, Him, talking and praying.”

MORE: Schools enlist students as leaders in battle against opioids

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Once she completes her current — and hopefully final — jail term she intends to continue the recovery treatment she’s receiving in jail. She wants to “learn how to be able to live my life sober and clean,” and eventually tell her story “and maybe it might help someone.”

“I think I want to work with recovering addicts. I want to give back, honestly,” Hobson said.

But first is to get her in recovery, and away from the people she’s surrounded herself with that led her to drug addiction.

“When I get out of treatment I’ll be able to take the other steps (of recovery) and get a job. Working. Getting a place,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to get my children back — to have a job and to have my children.”

MORE: Coalitions aim to avert substance abuse, stem tide of opioid epidemic

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