WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton mother who lost her daughter to heroin wants parents to know about a Williamsburg agency that specializes in treating teens and young adults.
“My life took a turn when I was introduced to heroin,” Diana Mitchell reads from a letter written by her daughter Brooke while she was in a treatment program.
A swimmer, field hockey player and top student at Bethel High School, Brooke wanted to be a nurse.
“She graduated with honors,” Diana says with pride.
Brooke’s addiction began as a junior and her mother wanted to get Brooke into a local treatment program, but people kept telling her to go elsewhere.
“Go to Chesapeake. Go to Virginia Beach. Go to Richmond. Really?”
Brooke even went as far as Florida for treatment. Local programs weren’t geared for someone in high school.
“You don’t need to be putting 17-year-olds with 50-year-olds,” Mitchell says. “She was going to Nar-Anon meetings and her and her girlfriend were being hit up on by older people. Come on! These kids are in here to get well, and they need to get well.”
In January of this year, Brooke Mitchell overdosed on what she thought was just heroin.
“My daughter was found with two different types of fentanyl, and actually a cocaine mixture, with cocaine, molly and crystal meth put in it.”
Tragically, Mitchell found out about a local agency that works with teens, young adults and their families right in Williamsburg — but only after her daughter had died. She remembers the day she took a tour of Bacon Street.
“I went in my car and cried. It was right here, and nobody said a word. And it’s been here for 40 years.”
Kim Dellinger, Executive Director of Bacon Street, says she now has regular contact with Mitchell.
“We’re a nonprofit organization and it’s our mission to do this work,” Dellinger says.
She lets parents know that a teen’s craving for risky behavior is appropriate and part of their development into adulthood. The key is finding healthy outlets for that need to push boundaries.
“Encouraging kids to go rock climbing, or encouraging kids to try out for the debate team, or being involved in athletics or whatever it is that might be a healthy risk, but still a risk for them.”
Dellinger says parents need to be alert for signs of change when it comes to their child’s friends, attitude, grades and their amount of socializing.
Bacon Street offers therapy for parents as well with a parents support group, which is open to anyone, including grandparents and those who are parenting adult children.
Mitchell is hoping more agencies will use Bacon Street as a model.
“We need the help. Obviously the drug dealers aren’t going away, ‘cause the kids are falling left and right. But there’s nothing for the kids and that’s why I called you.”