COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Heidi Riggs found out her daughter Marin was using heroin during her senior year of high school.
Just eighteen months later, in January 2012, Marin overdosed on heroin and died two weeks after her 20th birthday.
“When we heard heroin, it was just shocking to me, because I thought of it as a junkie’s drug,” Heidi Riggs said. “Something that would never have happened to someone like my daughter, who lived in suburbia—Pickerington, Ohio.”
In Marin’s memory, Riggs has made it her mission to educate and de-stigmatize addiction.
“We’ll talk about diabetes, we’ll talk about cancer,” Riggs said. “But this is a dirty little secret in many families and it needs to come out, and people need to talk about it.”
She said the heroin epidemic is everywhere.
“The face of heroin can be anybody, and it can be anybody’s child,” Riggs said.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on Thursday morning to contact local agencies. The Attorney General’s Office said in a press release that it wants more agencies to start carrying naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opiate overdose.
Riggs said Marin had overdosed once before the overdose that killed her. That time, she said, medics gave her naloxone, which revived her. The second time, in January 2012, her brother Nick found her on the bathroom floor.
“Maybe had he had the naloxone, the Narcan, I don’t know,” Riggs said. “We’ll never know. But I think that every family member, every person should have access to this.”
She knows it won’t bring Marin back, but she hopes it will make a difference for someone else.