Witness to Addiction: Offering hope and help out of tragedy

April 11, 2024 Providence News Team

Offering hope and help out of tragedy

“We were a happy family,” said Richland resident Michele Gerber.

Like so many other families, they had no reason to suspect their son Jim had begun using drugs in middle school.

“We were very naïve.  It never crossed our minds that a child of ours would be involved in drugs,” she said.

But he was, and his subsequent addiction put them all on a journey none of them expected.
Michele has written a recently-released book about that journey called “Witness to Addiction.”  It’s an honest and painful look inside Jim’s story, which is also her story. And the story of countless other families who have been touched by the epidemic of addiction. 

Jim’s story    
Even though Jim began his drug use in 8th grade, it wasn’t until he was in 10th grade that his family discovered it. 

“For two years we didn’t know. We were shocked.  When we found out, we put him in treatment immediately, and again the following year,” she said.  “We thought things were going well.”
They assumed that chapter of their lives was behind them. 

After high school, Jim’s active lifestyle took him to Sun Valley, Idaho, to work at the ski resort.  Following his shifts, he and his young and daring co-workers would return to the slopes to practice stunts and tricks.

“They would take flying leaps, and they would sprain something or sometimes even break something,” she said.

They would end up at a medical facility for treatment.

“That was the late 1990s, and he stepped into what we now know as the huge era of overprescribing. People were given massive amounts of opiate pain pills for minor injuries.  He would walk away from a clinic with 60 to 90 pain pills, which is outrageous,” she said. “It wasn’t until 2016 that the Centers for Disease Control advised stopping that practice.”

Continue reading the full article in our newsletter.

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

More Content by Providence News Team

No Previous Articles

Next Article
Moving past “healthy mom, healthy baby” for Black mothers
Moving past “healthy mom, healthy baby” for Black mothers

As Providence celebrates Black Maternal Health Week, we recognize the importance of providing holistic care...