Deputy uses stepdaughter's death as inspiration in fight against addiction

Deputy uses stepdaughter's death as inspiration in fight against addiction

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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) -- "Does this look like a heroin addict to you?"

That's the question Sgt. Douglas Chapman with the Shiawassee County Sheriff's Office in Michigan asked the county drug court Wednesday. It was part of an urgent message after losing his own stepdaughter to heroin just 10 days earlier.

Looking at Meghan Reid's picture, you would never guess it would be her. That's why Sgt. Chapman brought her picture. He said Meghan helped him heal after the loss of his own daughter in a car accident.

"She filled a void in my life and I became very close to her," he told the room.

Around a year ago, Chapman learned Meghan's boyfriend was a drug addict. He said she denied having a problem herself, but after noticing she was spending long periods of time in the bathroom, Chapman uncovered the truth in April.

"I found the needles and the heroin and everything that they use," he recalled.

Chapman said she continued denying she had a problem, even in September, when he brought her to the drug court to see the work he was doing.

She distanced herself for awhile. Then, recently, there was some hope.

"Two weeks ago, she sent me a text and she said that she's ready, and she wanted to go into the nursing program to get some help," he said.

But that help wouldn't come soon enough. Just as Chapman decided to travel to Meghan's home in Grand Rapids, Michigan and force her to get help, he got the call.

"The moment I saw the phone, I knew what had happened, and she had died."

He arrived with police.

"I saw her and I hope I never have to see anything like that again."

A painful memory that Chapman is now using as motivation. He's been with the drug court since it began in 2015 and says no one has gone back to drugs after going through. Chapman is hoping to get more people into the program.

Now struggling with the loss of a second daughter, Chapman says the heroin epidemic goes well beyond a simple drug problem.

"She was not just a heroin addict, she was a beautiful, vibrant young lady. Twenty-three years old, who to the day it happened, denied she had a problem. Those who are addicted to the drug heroin cannot help themselves," he said.

Chapman is hoping to help change state and federal laws in order to make it easier for family and friends of addicts to get them the help they need.

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