GUEST BLOG: “Addiction Was Not My Choice, But It Became My Journey”

By: Joette Dudeck, Advocate

May 13, 2016

Addiction was not my choice, but it became my journey. My daughter, Lisa, died of a heroin overdose on May 14, 2015. She was 31 years old.

I became an advocate for my daughter and pledge to continue to be an advocate for those who suffer with addiction. When I learned that Governor Wolf had declared the fight against opioid abuse a top priority for his administration, I felt encouraged to reach out and share Lisa’s story.

Lisa became addicted to painkillers after they were prescribed to her as a result of a 2014 car accident. Her addiction then turned from painkillers to heroin. After six months of heroin use, Lisa made the decision to check into a 30 day inpatient detox and rehabilitation program. While my daughter made the decision on her own, not everyone has that strength or option. I applaud Governor Wolf’s initiative to move forward with what is known as “warm handoffs.” Warm Handoff policies allow healthcare professionals to transfer individuals who have been in a physician’s care for opioid abuse to specialized drug and alcohol treatment facilities to continue their recovery.

Once Lisa completed her program, it was recommended that she enter a recovery home. These residences are for individuals who are looking to live in a sober environment after leaving rehab. The facilities that were recommended for Lisa were independent from the court system, all-female, and, to reside there, the women were required to sign a contract stating that they must be employed, must pay rent, and must stay drug free.


I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all the support that was extended to my family from our community after the loss of Lisa. To know that Governor Wolf is bringing the deadly epidemic of opioid abuse to the forefront in Pennsylvania makes me hopeful that many other families and individuals will soon be saved from the tragedy of addiction.


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