“Hope After Heroin,” NBC Program, Produced by Hartford HealthCare News Service, Focuses on Success Stories

Recovering clients whose lives have been transformed by the care they received within the Behavioral Health Network were the focus of a special half-hour television special produced in partnership with the Hartford HealthCare News Service.

“Hope After Heroin: Stories of Recovery” aired on NBC-CT on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 19. A link to the show as well as a listing of resources and information on addiction and treatment services can be found at www.hhchope.org.

“We are enormously proud of the work we are doing to lead the effort against this epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse,” said Patricia Rehmer, president of the Behavioral Health Network. “We believe these stories of recovery offer hope and will motivate people to seek the help they need to overcome their addictions and help them lead normal lives again.”

Ben Roche, a former Rushford client who was profiled in “Hope After Heroin.”

The program takes an in-depth look at four clients from Connecticut’s suburbs whose lives were devastated by the disease of addiction, and the transformative steps they took to seek treatment and embark on a path of recovery and hope. The show includes commentary from Rehmer, Dr. J. Craig Allen and Justin Mink, lead therapist for Natchaug Hospital’s suboxone program in Groton.

The stories included:

Shelbia Herbig was in the throes of addiction when she became pregnant with her son, Mason. She knew that her life would have to change and feared her baby might have been taken from her. But she took steps to seek treatment and begin a path to recovery, and now she can’t imagine doing anything to harm her relationship with her son. She has goals for herself and her son and knows that without drugs, she can do anything.

Marilyn Clark was in her mid-30s when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The mother of three was prescribed Vicodin to help her deal with the intense pain. It helped the pain, at first. But in just a few months, Marilyn —a woman who rarely drank and didn’t experiment with drugs — was addicted to prescription painkillers. Just one year in, she switched to heroin because it was cheaper and easier to find. She lost her home, her career and almost lost her children. It would take years, but Marilyn Clark found hope after heroin with medication-assisted treatment and therapy. Now she is an open advocate for medication-assisted treatment and helps others in their journey toward recovery.

Ben Roche is back working toward his college degree. But just a few years ago, he had a very different story. Growing up, Ben Roche struggled with anxiety and depression. Over the years, he learned to mask his true feelings to his family and friends while excelling in school and sports. Ben began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Within the year, it snowballed. When Ben started taking heroin, his life began to spiral out of control. Eventually, his family and friends held an intervention and he started treatment at Rushford. Today, Ben attends New York University and frequently speaks about addiction and recovery. He hopes one day to help to others fighting this disease.

Michael Mitchell’s life is back on track — and he is hopeful for his future. But his story of recovery is years in the making. Michael nearly lost everything — a high-paying job, his home and several relationships. One day, he looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize himself. He had hit rock bottom, even taking a knife to himself. That was when he checked himself into Rushford, a decision that he believes saved his life. He shares his story whenever he can to help others who may be in difficult circumstances. He will tell you that it takes hard work, focus and life-long dedication but recovery is possible.

The television special was a key part of Hartford HealthCare’s comprehensive approach to provide information and resources about the opioid crisis.