By Bryan Marshall, LCNI WRITER
Grant County News
Shayne’s mother knew her baby boy was up to something.
Throughout each day, she would call her son at his Bellevue, Ky., home to check on him.
If he didn’t answer, she would be on her way.
A day like any other in November 2011, Shayne picked up when his mom called, but his slurred speech worried her.
She was at his house in minutes trying to get him out of a locked bathroom.
“I told everyone to leave me alone because I was going to the bathroom,” said a now-24-year-old Shayne, locked up in the Grant County Detention Center. “But, I was on the bathroom floor dying. That’s when she called the ambulance. I was in there overdosing.”
After calling 911, Shayne’s mother and girlfriend struggled to hold him up outside of the home as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
As the paramedics rushed him to the hospital, Shayne was injected with Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of heroin.
The impact was immediate.
“It felt like my eyes just popped open,” Shayne said.
“I felt like I was on fire. My legs were burning and I was freaking out. The only thing I could say was, ‘Am I going back to jail?’ The ambulance people said that if they would have been two minutes later, they wouldn’t have been able to bring me back.”
After spending six hours recovering in the hospital, Shayne was discharged.
No arrest made.
The next step was clear for Shayne.
“I went straight from the hospital to get high,” he said.
of an addict
Flashback to the beginning.
Before the needles.
Before the raging addiction.
Before the epidemic of heroin grabbed hold of Shayne like it has so many other Northern Kentuckians.
Prescription pills were the only solution to help ease the pain of a broken bone in Shayne’s hand.
“I had known about people who were drug addicts,” Shayne said. “I had been around them, but I had never done it. When I took those pain pills, I knew what everybody else was getting into them for.”
Shayne got hooked on the pain pills, but said he was still a functioning addict.
That would all change when he fell down the slippery slope of addiction and began abusing heroin.
“I was doing pain pills on the regular,” Shayne said. “Then, the people I was hanging around with starting doing heroin and I started giving them rides to get it. That’s when it started. I didn’t have any pain pills and they had heroin. I was open to doing anything that took me out of myself. As long as I didn’t have to feel who I was and I could be high, it didn’t matter what it was.”
Shayne said he just wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else.
He describes heroin as “really like the same thing, just intensified” compared to pain pills.
Like many, Shayne, who was 22 at the time, started out by snorting heroin.
“I got sick the first time,” he said. “The taste of it alone made me puke. Then, I just felt like I was invincible. I felt like I had all the energy in the world, but I couldn’t keep myself standing up at the same time. I just wanted to close my eyes and lay down. But, once I started moving, I didn’t want to stop. As soon as I stopped, I was done for. There wasn’t no moving no more.”
Three months into his heroin abuse, Shayne started shooting the drug into his arm.
It began after a fight he had with his girlfriend.
She threatened to inject heroin into her system, something Shayne said he was against.
Angry, Shayne left only to return the next day ready to try using a needle because “since she was doing it, I felt like I had to be doing what she was doing.”
One poke turned to many as Shayne’s craving led him to shoot up all day, everyday.
Before he even injected himself with a needle, he would already be thinking about how he was going to get his next fix.
“It’s like when you go to the hospital and they put you on an IV, you can feel the cold water running through your arms,” Shayne said. “I could feel it moving through my veins. I don’t even think it was the heroin that got me. It was that needle. The actually poking of the needle is what really excited me. Maybe, it was the fear of it. Every time, it’s like playing with death. It sounds horrible, but it’s exciting.”
There were a few times Shayne would miss the vein and his arm would swell and turned black and blue.
He wasn’t concerned about sharing needles.
The high outweighed any consequence he faced.
He simply did not care.
During a camping trip with friends on the weekend of Fourth of July in 2011, Shayne spent $15,000 running back from A.J. Jolly Park to Cincinnati buying heroin.
“I knew I had a problem,” Shayne said. “I couldn’t even sleep if I had drugs. I was like a kid on Christmas. You know Christmas is coming and there’s going to be presents there, so you don’t want to sleep. You just want to hurry up and get them.”
Shayne did try to get help one time, but he could not make it through the sickness of the detox.
Again, while living in Ohio, Shayne’s mother encouraged him to come back to Northern Kentucky to get sober.
“I thought, if I can make it through three days of the sickness, I can give up dope and I can get my kids back,” Shayne said. “It was a day and a half into it and I was really sick. So, I decided to try to get some Xanax to get some sleep. But, I went overboard and started drinking Tylenol and Nyquil, anything I could to knock me out. One second I’m sitting in the house of my baby mom’s family, the next second I’m at a store telling them to give me everything they got. I totally blacked out.”
In his drug-fueled haze, Shayne drove three miles to a store in Covington in the middle of the night, a drive he does not remember.
He was in the store for about 45 minutes before he asked the clerk for a piece of paper and a pencil.
On the paper, an unarmed Shayne told the clerk to give him everything he had or he was going to shoot him.
He was arrested for second-degree robbery and possession of a controlled substance and lodged in Kenton County jail.
Shayne has three daughters, ages 9, 8 and 5 years old.
He lived with the two youngest and their mother before his incarceration.
He has not seen his eldest daughter, who lives with her mother, in 16 months.
“I started doing heroin and stuff and I totally forgot about her,” Shayne admits regretfully. “She didn’t live with me.”
Shayne’s youngest two daughters live with his aunt, a consequence that stemmed from his arrest in Campbell County.
“I would steal anything I could,” he said. “I got caught in Campbell County when I broke into my work and stole a bunch of money out of the safe. I was willing to do whatever to get my drugs. I didn’t care who I hurt. I didn’t care if it was my kids. I’d steal from them if I had to. When I sit back now and think about that stuff, it’s horrible. But, it’s the truth.”
When police came to arrest him, Shayne jumped out the window of his apartment.
He was apprehended with heroin on him and the children were taken away because of neglect.
Shayne said he always felt like he was a good father to his girls.
“I’ve done (heroin) in the same house, but they’ve never seen me do anything,” he said. “I’d go in the bathroom for an extended amounts of time and tell them to go play. They’d wonder why I’m in the bathroom for 20 and 30 minutes at a time. I was in there getting high.”
“I felt like I was doing the right thing because I didn’t show it to them,” Shayne said. “I told them I loved them everyday and dressed them good. They were fed. I thought there wasn’t anything wrong with what I was doing. But, in all reality, there was.”
Shayne said his youngest two daughters know what he did to get put in jail and they realize he is working on getting help so he can be a better dad.
“They know I messed up, but they don’t hold nothing against me,” he said. “They’re ready for their dad to come home. I miss birthdays, Christmases, everything. I don’t even know what to tell them half the time. I call them and the only thing I can say is that I love you.”
A new beginning
Shayne has been in jail for more than 14 months on the robbery charge.
He was transferred to the Grant County Detention Center to participate in the Substance Abuse Program (SAP.)
Shayne admits he initially signed up for SAP because he knew that the court system was going to make it a requirement for parole.
“I didn’t plan on changing anything,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I got out. Being here though, I really learned stuff. I came in not caring, thinking I could slide through in six months. When you’re around it, you can’t help but pick it up. It makes you start thinking. I learned a lot of stuff about myself here. I really do have a problem. I can’t be going back to that.”
Shayne graduated from SAP on April 4, but he will not be up for parole until October.
Looking back, Shayne said he regrets ever taking pain pills.
The pills began a downward spiral that ended in a heroin addiction that led to a man behind bars and daughters without a father.
“I learned a lot of stuff, but I don’t think it’s worth all of the pain that I’ve suffered and the pain that I’ve caused, especially on my kids,” Shayne said. “They’re innocent and I’ve caused them all kinds of pain.”
When he finally is released, Shayne plans on attending A.A. meetings, staying away from negative situations and not holding in his feelings.
“With all the stuff I’ve picked up and what I know I’ve got to do to stay sober and that I can’t go back to the same people and things, I’m pretty confident,” Shayne said about not relapsing. “Overall, I can’t say because you never know. I could walk out there and 10 minutes later be drunk. Just like I could walk across the street, get hit by a car and die. But, I’m pretty confident that if I got out right now, that I would be able to stay sober. I know what to do now.”