Heroin in Berkeley and Bikers Ready to do Something About It

Posted by Kija Wilson on 3/18/2017

In February, Bikers Against Heroin (BAH-WV), West Virginia Chapter generously donated 250 coloring books to Project AWARE for the purpose of using them in elmentary schools in the county.  BAH has a large facebook presence and is very active in the community with a planned Poker Run in June.  This organization is largely made up of Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan county residents who have had heroin invade their lives in one form or another.  We often think that this is a problem in another city or another state and it simply isn't true.  I am chosing to highlight some of their stories in my latest blog.

Jamie Seeley of Hedgesville, routinely posts and updates the facebook page that once belonged to his daughter, Jessie, pictured below with her brother at the Berkeley County Youth Fair in 2000.  

Jessie and her brother at the Berkeley County Youth Fair in 2000

This was posted on Jessie's facebook page 1 month after Jessie passed away:

People that don't know are politely sheepish about asking me what happened to my 21 year old daughter that passed from this world on May 4, 2013. I understand their reluctance. However I want people to know what happened. Especially people that have children.
Jessie started using prescription pain killers as a recreational high when she was about eighteen. She got them from other kids her own age who also used them. Percacet, roxies, laratab, hydrocodone, oxycoten, opana, etc. All of which are opiates.
I am by no means a doctor or authority on drugs, but I am a parent that has lived the nightmare of having a child with opiate addiction. Trust me, it is like having a KING KONG sized gorilla in charge of your life.
What happens so many times to recreational users is that they get physically addicted before they know it, and then have to have the drug to keep from becoming desperately ill. Then, when pills are not available, and they have been withdrawing, someone introduces them to heroin. Heroin is cheaper, and goes a lot further to ease the sickness. It is also way more dangerous. Especially if injected. In reality you are in way over head when this happens.
The addict will become someone else. Constantly lying, stealing, not caring for themselves, totally irrational. Only thinking of where the next fix is coming from, and when.
For those that would be so foolish to think that this could never happen to their child...I have news for you...it can happen. You need to know that West Virginia leads the nation in prescription drug abuse, and in fatal drug overdoses, with a 53% increase in heroin deaths in 2012. HELLO???
Jessie hated what the addiction did to her and the behavior it brought on. She was tormented by it. She went to rehab and got in treatment. It didn't work. She knew the danger as she had overdosed before. One time needing me to give her CPR until the ambulance arrived. She even knew others that overdosed and died. Still she continued. That's how out of control an individual addicted to heroin becomes.
Remember this all started as something fun.
I made the mistake of thinking that she would somehow get passed this phase and have a normal life again. How wrong I was.
Jessie had been doing pretty well just before she passed. She wanted to be free from it. She and I had gone to Florida for a couple weeks and she had one episode of withdraw but it passed. She couldn't believe how good she felt while we were there. She had that beautiful Jessie look in her eyes again. Something I hadn't seen in so long.
When we returned to Martinsburg she got with the wrong people almost immediately and began using heroin again.
Sometime in the AM hours of May 4, 2013, Jessie was alone, and accidentally overdosed to death in her bedroom.
I am not looking for sympathy at all. I just want you to know that this can happen to your child, because it happened to mine.
My only peace is in knowing that Jessie trusted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and is with Him now and forever.
I Hate Heroin!!!!!
I miss my sweet Jessie. One day closer.
Written be Jessie's dad Jamie Seeley


Arlene Coates, of Martinsburg, lost her son David in October of 2016.  She now makes it her mission to give mothers of children who have died from heroin overdoses a letter written from the viewpoint of a mother who has lost a child in hopes that it brings them comfort.  In her words, it is the worst thing that has ever happened in her life.  A copy of the letter is included below.

Arlene's Letter Arlene's Letter 2


BAH is also active in other ways.  The facebook site is a running list of job announcements, resources for addiction, recovery and support, and personal posts about family members or personal sobriety.  One such resource is The Hope Dealer Project, a non-profit organization based out of Martinsburg bringing resources and hope to families stuggling with addiciton for the family member or the addict.  Here is their company description:

Company Overview
The Hope Dealer Project was founded in 2015 after fighting addiction with loved ones for over 8 years and then a fatal overdose of a loved one. The overwhelming sadness and helplessness one feels when this happens is indescribable. We want to make sure that NO ONE ever has to go through this alone! There are resources and support available.
Three women, Lisa Melcher, Tina Stride and Tara Diggs Mayson are all natives of the Martinsburg area. We have all dealt with addiction of loved ones. Together we have over 25 years of experience. We are all horrified at this epidemic we find friends, loved ones and the citizens of Martinsburg in and we will no longer accept it. We are fixing the things we can no longer accept! The women who make up The Hope Dealer Project are extremely passionate about helping others because of their up close and personal experiences with drug addiction of loved ones and how difficult it is to not only survice the destruction, but to learn to thrive.
THE HOPE DEALER PROJECT is a newly formed non-profit organization located right here in Martinsburg, WV. Their aim is to serve the client who is struggling with drug addiction. We want them to know that they are NEVER alone and we will stay with them throughout their recovery journey. We will provide the very best resources and facilitate the life skills and therapy needed to live a fulfilling, well rounded life. However, THEY will have to do the work, push through the tough times and complete the programs. The Hope Dealer Project will provide recovery resources, handle communication and facilitation with the detox centers and rehabs. We will stay in contact with the client to provide ongoing encouragement and support.
We are working with as many local organizations as possible to ensure that our efforts are concrete and helpful to many. Some people have no one to turn to…now they do!
The Hope Dealer Project will also be opening transitional housing to serve those who are in need of housing after the detox and rehab stages. The Hope Dealer Project will facilitate a program for continued sobriety and life-long skills. Classes & programs will consist of regular N/A meetings, spiritual counseling; community service along with music and art therapy. We also plan to have participants work their recovery by giving back to the community in many creative ways.
It’s time to take back our City and our Citizens!
There is always HOPE!

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Bikers Against Heroin - WV Chapter is always recruiting new members.  Join their facebook page and learn about the heroin epidemic, participate in their activities; Poker Run is slated for June 17.