A Community in Pain: Seven Sisters

Part 1: Ally Fields and Kerri Leach

On Wednesday, we took a closer look at the pain of not only those suffering from addiction but the pain shared by their families. 

A group called Seven Sisters is made up of seven local women who have lost loved ones to drug addiction.

Kourtney Fields' drug addiction began at age 21. He struggled with dependence to opioids for years. His family, including his sister Ally Fields, tried to intervene. But their help couldn't match the powerful grip of opioid addiction.

“Once the addiction really gets hold of you, it's almost like you don't even have a choice anymore,” said Ally, “It just takes over you.”

Opioid addiction became such a large part of Kourtney's life that he eventually graduated to the more powerful drug heroin, an addiction he couldn't beat.

“You really go through every emotion in the book. You want to just like tell them, 'why can't you just stop' and it's just not that easy,” said Ally.

The addiction to heroin took his life at age 35. His death brought Ally together with Kerri Leach and the rest of the group known as the Seven Sisters. Kerri's sister Kelli also died from a heroin overdose. It was a drug Kerri had no idea her sister was using.

“I never really – I didn't know it was such a big thing, but it is. I mean, it's huge. It's definitely not Mayberry,” said Kerri.

It's that bond, from the loss of a loved one to drugs, that brought the seven women together. They hope together they can raise awareness of a growing problem that's not often talked about.

Part 2: Lindsay Locasto, Casey Blake, Katie Keown-Carley

What would you do if you learned a loved one was dealing with addiction? Seven Sisters is a group of local women who had to face that reality and pain.

“Whenever you know a family member or a friend that's going through addiction – most everybody is touched in some way – you realize it does not discriminate. It can reach anyone,” said Lindsay Locasto: Cas

Everyone of the Seven Sisters has been touched by drug addiction.

“I feel like everyday it gets worse, so yes, I do think it's an epidemic,” said Casey Blake.

For Casey Blake, her brother's addiction to opioids started after a sports injury in high school. His doctor prescribed him some painkillers. That was the start, she said, of a 13-year battle with narcotics.

“It kind of escalated into other things. Started with pain pills, went onto other drugs, and ultimately he died of a heroin overdose. That was after he had spent nine months clean and healthy in St. Paul, Minnesota after treatment,” Casey said.

Two months after treatment, he died of an overdose.

For Katie Keown-Carley, her brother's addiction started with alcohol abuse before he started turning to opioids and heroin to get high.

“We had no clue he was doing that. We did know that he had been and had done other drugs and messed around with pills and other drugs, but we were very shocked by the heroin,” said Katie.

Tragically, Katie's family was hit twice by overdose.

Her brother and cousin used heroin together – ingesting a batch laced with fentanyl. Both died together. Now, with the rest of the Seven Sisters, Katie hopes to raise awareness and let addicts know it's okay to ask for help.

 


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