I never thought in a million years I would be writing this or belong to the groups I am now a member of. My daughter, Paige Elizabeth Mazurek, walked on this earth 22 years, 8 months and 19 days before she went to heaven on March 30, 2015. Paige was my youngest of five.
My nightmare began on February 15, 2010. At seventeen, Paige needed a root canal. The doctor prescribed opiates. She got her first taste. As teenage girls do, Paige met a boy. But this boy, he introduced her to heroin. Her addiction quickly spiraled out of control. As many addicts do, Paige had several stints in both jail and rehab. Paige would come out with her faith in God renewed and a zest for sobriety. But heroin had its hold. After a few months Paige would relapse. It was a painful cycle for us all. Paige was one of 16 that lost their life that week in Oakland County from an overdose. Her heroin was laced with a toxic level of fentanyl.
Paige's death was a tragic loss for me. But God has a plan in even the most trying of times. Losing my daughter inspired me to create a new 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax deductible, public charity geared towards awareness and recovery from opiate addiction. From this was born Paige's PROMISE.
HEROIN: IN PAIGE'S EYES
-Written by Paige Mazurek during her addiction
Be careful what you wish for you might just get it all….
I need to apologize to my love ones especially my family. I need to stop hurting the ones I love the most because they are the ones that mean the most to me. Forgive, let go, stop following the path of resistance.
I think it’s time to realize that this isn’t the life for me, I have big dreams and I want to reach my goals. It’s not fun not being me.
Lord forgive me, for I have sinned, for I fell in love with the devils twin…
Love is blind, I thought he was all mine.
I followed his path while he sat there and laughed.
He played me like a fool, why do I have to be so naïve? I’m ashamed for doing the things I did for this lame.
Now I bow my head and pray, Lord forgive me for I have sinned. For I hurt the ones that mean the most to me, I look back now I see. No more looking at life through innocent eyes, I now realize that everybody has to cross that mountain and ask God to forgive their sin.
Remember the best things in life are unseen!
HEROIN: IN A MOTHER'S EYES
To Whom It May Concern:
I never thought in a million years I would be writing this letter or belong to the groups I am now a member of. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children... No mother should have to bury a daughter. Losing a child is a pain like no other – it’s unrelenting and unbearable. There are no words to describe the depth and magnitude of this pain. Losing a child to addiction means a lot of things but the worst is that you didn’t get to say goodbye. Although my heart keeps beating, it’s as if it beats only to continue breaking every moment my baby is gone. I wish someone could wake me up from this nightmare I am living! It’s agonizing.
My daughter, Paige Elizabeth Mazurek, walked on this earth 22 years, 8 months and 19 days before she went to heaven on March 30, 2015. I remember the day Paige was born as if it were yesterday. The moment she was placed in my arms, I was infused with a love beyond all measure and understanding. She was our youngest of five. She was her daddy’s angel.
When people think of addiction, they typically make negative assumptions or stereotypes about the addict’s life, which include things like deviant or criminal behavior, lack of ambition, violence, bad upbringings and broken homes, and having nothing of value to add to society. These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the reality.
Paige was a wonderful child. She was raised in a loving and caring family, in the suburbs of one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. She was well-rounded and knew exactly what she wanted to be--a designer. Paige was a funny blonde and you never knew what would come out of her mouth. This one time, she came home from school excited to tell me about a story that her class had read about potatoes from a state called “Odahi”.
Paige did everything that most children do, from riding bikes and swimming, to riding four wheelers and skating. She was a “normal” kid and she always had a lot of friends. She was creative. Paige and her friends would write songs, poems, and act out skits. As a family, we went on vacations; we did family things, spent quality time, and always had an extra friend or two with us.
Paige had to have everything match, down to the Aeropostale butterfly on her outfit. Her hair and makeup had to be perfect... and don’t forget the jewelry! Paige loved her birthday, which falls on July 11th (Seven Eleven), and she thought free Slurpies on her birthday was the best present ever.
Paige had a learning disability but that never stopped her. She lived life to its fullest and she grew into a beautiful young lady with a loving personality. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body.
Every relationship of Paige’s was different. She made everyone feel special – they really were genuinely special to her. She made up nicknames – mine was “Mama Dukes”— and we would argue over who loved the other more. These are the things I remember – the little things. It’s all I have left of my baby girl – the memories.
On February 15, 2010, when Paige was just 17 years old, she became addicted to opiates she was prescribed from her dentist after having a root canal. Our nightmare began.
Eventually, Paige started using heroin as it is cheaper than prescription opiates (Vicodin on the street is $40.00, while a hit of heroin is as cheap as $5.00). You see, it only takes one time using heroin to become addicted for life. Sickness ensues when an addict stops getting high. Paige made “friends” at jobs and rehabs. There was no safe place to send her. She could always find a way to get her next fix. Despite wanting to help her, we just didn’t know how.
Paige had met the love of her life, her best friend, Mike. Their love ran deep, with plans to marry, have children, grow old and build a future together. Mike wasn’t a heroin addict. He wanted to keep her safe, get her clean and stick by her side. Mike fought for Paige until the end. We all did.
It is said that one in three families have an addict. Heroin does not discriminate based on race, age, sex, or social status. It could be your mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, neighbor, teacher, doctor, or friend. According to the CDC, a person becomes addicted to opiates every 4 minutes and we lose a life to prescription opiates and heroin every 18 minutes. We are losing a generation, maybe more.
Paige was one of 16 people who lost their lives that week in the suburbs of Oakland County alone. Paige's fatal dose of heroin was laced with a toxic level of fentanyl. Her death certificate reads “undetermined” because the county is failing to accurately report drug related deaths for political reasons, including the fear that an increase in drug related deaths will result in negative economic consequences. This sounds like some type of conspiracy but this is actually happening.
“Undetermined” is unacceptable. Paige’s story, and countless like hers, are not being reflected in the statistics. And the statistics are frightening.
Heroin takes so much, not only from the addict but also from those who love the addict. Heroin took Paige and changed her into a person we didn’t know, someone we didn’t want to know. Heroin took a wedding to dance at, a son-in-law, grandchildren to spoil, new memories to make, her voice saying, “I love you Mom and thanks for always having my back,” her laugh, her tongue sticking out and making silly faces, late night conversations and relaxing in front of the T.V., arguing over who loves each other more, hearing her tell me at night, “Sweet dreams, I Love you, mom, sleep with the angels!”
Heroin Gave: an empty chair at the table, a box of Paige’s remains, a broken heart and emptiness that tears will never fill, and Paige’s thumbprint engraved in a necklace I wear around my neck. If Paige’s Promise can save one person, then Paige’s death wasn’t in vain, and that I can live with.
Nothing will ever bring Paige back, but she will never truly die if she lives on in our hearts. Paige’s Promise does that, and more. While I can’t get my little girl back, I can pay it forward and stop the tragic death of someone else’s little girl. Won’t you join me in fulfilling Paige’s Promise?
Founder and President of Paige’s Promise