Grandmother in recovery offers close-up look at heroin addiction
A Bronx grandmother gave News 12 a firsthand look at how her heroin addiction has impacted her life.
Maria Reyes, a grandmother of three, says she started using heroin at 18 as a young, curious girl in Puerto Rico. She overdosed and nearly died her first time trying it but kept on using. Reyes says she eventually overdosed a second time too.
"I liked the high," she says. "I did it for 32 years."
Reyes is 64. She is now in recovery and living with hepatitis C. She stopped using 11 years ago but has fallen back into the cycle at times. She has been completely clean for two years, in treatment and taking Suboxone at St. Barnabas Hospital.
"Now, I go out dancing," says Reyes. She adds that her daughter, who had begged her to stop using, is now proud of her.
Reyes is overcoming the odds with the help of Dr. Jonathan Samuels at St. Barnabas.
"She's in a really good place now," says Samuels. "She's remained opiate-free."
Reyes is hoping to inspire others with her success story.
"Everybody I see using, I let them know...it's not worth it to do that," she says.