Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can fall prey to addiction, even if they have led what many may believe is an ideal life. Recently, Cassie Nygren, daughter of Representative Nygren illustrated this point very clearly by speaking from jail.
A Seemingly Happy Family
Cassie Nygren spoke out about her struggles with addiction to heroin and opiates. Nygren emphasized that she came from a home where she was raised by two loving parents. While many may believe that only children who come from “broken homes” succomb to addiction, Cassie Nygren’s case illustrates that even two attentive parents cannot necessarily prevent the dangerous hold that addiction can have on someone. Cassie did note that while her parents were an active and loving force in her life growing up, she was sexually abused by a family member at a young age. Many studies have shown that sexual abuse individuals are at a far greater risk for chronic depression, which in turn puts a person at greater risk for drug addiction.
A Quick Spiral Into Drug Use
Cassie Nygren reported that she began experimenting with drugs like alcohol and marijuana at the age of 15. She so quickly lost control of her actions and her ability to make sound decisions that she soon found herself pregnant with a baby girl, who she gave up for adoption. After her child was given up for adoption, Nygren found herself even further engulfed in substance abuse problems. She became romantically involved with an individual who exposed her to the drug Oxycontin. She immediately enjoyed snorting the drug, explaining that she “fell in love with it right away.” After abusing Oxycontin for a short period of time, Nygren moved onto heroin, which she says she was initially attracted to because of the fact that it was cheaper than opiates. Cassie recalled having similar feelings of euphoria after trying heroin, explaining that she felt she was “on top of the world.” Cassie finally hit rock bottom when she overdosed on the drug and was discovered on her family’s bathroom floor by her mother, who remembers her as being disturbingly purple in color.
Representative Nygren’s Push For Anti-Drug Legislation
Representative Nygren was deeply affected by his daughter’s struggle with addiction. He has expressed heartbreak over the fact that his “bright daughter with a brighter future (didn’t) graduate high school.” He has used the pain and disappointment he has felt in watching his daughter struggle with addiction as fuel to drive him to push for legislation that would increase education and other prevention measures specifically targeted at curtailing heroin abuse. Nygren is also pushing for laws that would grant some form of immunity to users reporting overdose, as a means of helping first responders save more users by arriving at the scene prepared with doses of a drug called Narcan, which reverses heroin’s effect on the body.
Cassie Nygren says that she fully supports the laws proposed by her father. In the family’s home state of Wisconsin, heroin related deaths increased by an alarming 50% last year. Cassie herself hopes that after completing her sentence, she may continue to recover and reclaim her life. She wishes to be a part of her adopted daughter’s life and does not want the child to simply view her as “just a heroin junky addict.”
Parents Should Seek Help For Their Child At First Signs of Addiction
Unfortunately, instances of heroin and drug use among teens continue to grow. Many parents may not know the signs of addiction, or may be in denial about the fact that their child is abusing drugs. The sooner a teen seeks help, the less likely they are to suffer terrible consequences.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.