‘All of my friends are dead’ | Former heroin addict rebuilding her life

By on January 17, 2019

From KSDK:  Painting company CEO Melia Welch and her employees are almost done painting a very large, very expensive St. Louis County home.

“When I started on my recovery, I did painting on the side and I thought ‘Wow, this really calms me.’ It makes me forget about everything for a moment,” said Welch.

As a recovering heroin addict, there’s a lot to forget.

All my friends are dead now,” said Welch. “The majority of the group that I used with, the ones that continued in their drug addiction are dead now. They died of heroin overdoses or suicides.”

At the time Welch started her ill-fated experiment with heroin she was a star in athletics and academics: president of her high school class, and a star athlete with dreams of being an Olympic long-distance runner.

“My coach, he wanted me to go to the pretrial Olympics and see what I could do. He believed in me that much,” said Welch. “I was the All-American kid with hopes and dreams, just like so many other kids today, and they were all shattered, shattered because of my heroin addiction.”

Starting at age 18, Welch struggled with heroin addiction for more than a decade.

“I couldn’t deal with life. I couldn’t deal with issues from my childhood,” said Welch.  “I didn’t have to think, I didn’t have to hurt. All I felt was love and warmth. You don’t ever start experimenting with drugs thinking this is going to ruin my whole life. This is going to destroy my family. This is going to take my child.”

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About Dede Hance