One Nation Overdosed: How Children Cope With A Parent’s Addiction | NBC Nightly News


PARENTS IN ACTIVE ADDICTION. HERE’S NBC’S KATE SNOW.>>HI, BABY GIRL.>>Reporter: TORY BRINKMAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SURVIVOR. BORN 15 WEEKS EARLY, A TINY POUND AND A HALF. THAT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING OF HER STRUGGLE. FOR THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF HER LIFE SHE LIVED WITH A MOTHER ADDICTED TO HEROIN. THEIR HISTORY TOGETHER SHOWS HOW SAVAGE THE ADDICTION CAN BE. TODAY SHE’S A REMARKABLY COMPOSED 14-YEAR-OLD TELLING HER STORY HER WAY. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THOSE EARLY YEARS AND YOUR MOM?>>SHE NEVER ATE. SHE’D HAVE MAYBE A COKE A DAY. NO WATER. THEN GO RIGHT BACK TO BED. SHE WOULD NEVER TAKE CARE OF ME, NEVER FEED ME. I HAVE TO FEED MYSELF. I CONSIDER MYSELF AS THE PARENT AND MY MOM THE KID.>>Reporter: DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM SOLD DRUGS?>>I KNOW SHE DID.>>Reporter: DID SHE GET IN TROUBLE FOR THAT?>>YEAH. ONE TIME I THINK I WAS AROUND 7 OR 8, SHE ACTUALLY MADE ME DO A DRUG DEAL FOR HER.>>Reporter: A DRUG DEAL? LIKE WHAT DID SHE ASK YOU TO DO?>>SHE PUT EITHER HEROIN OR COCAINE IN A NAPKIN OR SOMETHING. AND SHE SAID RUN UP TO THAT HOUSE, GO GET THE MONEY AND GIVE THIS TO THEM.>>Reporter: TORY SAID SHE NEVER GOT ANY HEALTHCARE GROWING UP.>>NOT UNTIL I WAS 10. I HAD NEVER BEEN TO THE DENTIST.>>Reporter: WHAT ABOUT PETE TRIGZ, DOCTOR.>>NO, NOTHING.>>Reporter: HER MOM TOLD TORY NOT TO TELL ANYONE ABOUT THE THINGS SHE SAW IN THEIR HOME. BUT TORY WOULD CALL HER GRANDPARENTS WHEN SHE RAN OUT OF FOOD. THREE YEARS AGO LILLIAN AND RICHARD WERE AWARDED LEGAL CUSTODY.>>WHEN SHE FIRST CAME TO LIVE WITH US PERMANENTLY SHE WAS BLAMING HERSELF. MAYBE IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF MOM HADN’T DONE THE DRUGS.>>Reporter: IT WAS ALSO HER UNCLE, THE CLOSEST PERSON TORY HAD TO A FATHER FIGURE. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR UNCLE?>>HE PASSED AWAY, NOVEMBER 20th, 2015, FROM A DRUG OVERDOSE.>>Reporter: HEROIN?>>MM-HMM.>>Reporter: THAT MUST HAVE BEEN SUPERHARD FOUR.>>YEAH. BECAUSE — I MEAN, HE BASICALLY TOOK CARE OF ME INSTEAD OF MY MOM. LIKE IF MY MOM WAS ASLEEP, HE’D TAKE CARE OF ME. SO IT WAS JUST — IT WAS — IT WAS SAD. HANG ON.>>Reporter: YOU WANT A KLEENEX? I HAVE ONE.>>I GOT ONE OVER HERE.>>Reporter: COME HERE. THIS IS REALLY HARD STUFF TO TALK ABOUT. AT 14 YEARS OLD, TORY HAS SEEN ENOUGH PAIN FOR A LIFETIME, MAKING HER SPIRIT AND ATTITUDE TODAY ALL THE MORE IMPRESSIVE. HERE’S A BIG QUESTION.>>OKAY.>>Reporter: WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO US?>>BECAUSE I WANT TO SPREAD AWARENESS OF HOW DRUGS HAVE NOT ONLY AFFECTED MY LIFE BUT HAVE PROBABLY AFFECTED A LOT OF OTHER KID’S LIVES AND I WANT TO JUST HELP PEOPLE.>>Reporter: TORI MOTHER KNOWS THAT SHE’S SHARING THIS STORY. SHE’S BEEN SOBER FOR THREE YEARS AND WORKING TWO JOBS. TORI SAID SHE’S PROUD OF HER MOTHER AND THE TWO SEE EACH OTHER EVERY WEEK. AND WITH OVER A MILLION PEOPLE IN THE U.S. SAYING THEY ADMIT TO USING HEROIN, THAT MEANS THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF STORIES LIKE TORI’S.>>I’M JUST BLOWN

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