Darlene Pope grew up in Baltimore and became addicted to heroin at age 20. Now at 55, she's drug-free and shares her story during a special, statewide TV event Saturday.
WASHINGTON — She grew up in a part of Baltimore where the sunlight shone on drug deals taking place out in the open. When Darlene Pope turned 13, she began using marijuana. By age 20, she was hooked on heroin.
“I was so out of control with my heroin use that I was homicidal and suicidal,” said Pope.
It would take her years to break her dependency. Now 55 years old, Pope is one of three people who will be featured Saturday night in a Maryland Public Television special called “Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery.”
Heroin’s tightening grip on Pope had her losing grip on her own life.
“At first, it was like, this was the ‘ultimate,’ not realizing that the ‘ultimate’ was going to take me down a path of hell,” she said.
As she focused on feeding her addiction in the 1980s, she eventually lost her job and her apartment, ending up in homeless shelters.
In 1991, after her family took her to an area hospital, Pope decided to work on ending her addiction. After leaving the hospital, she spent several months in recovery programs in Baltimore and Delaware.
Once she returned to Baltimore, she said her strength to stay away from heroin was tested on several occasions: Over the next four years, she had two miscarriages, one child was stillborn and her mother had died.
Editor’s Note: This post has been edited since it was originally published in order to update the time the Maryland Public Television special “Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road to Recovery” will air on WUSA-TV. The program is scheduled to broadcast 11:35 p.m. Saturday.
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