Jessica Motsinger noticed an increase of opioids starting in the 1990s.
At age 12, she started living with relatives in San Antonio, Texas, and Southeastern Ohio, 40 minutes from West Virginia. In Texas, there were things to do, from chorus to the Reserve Officers Training Corps. But in rural Waterford, Ohio, there weren’t.
“It’s 40 minutes to get (to) a job at McDonald’s,” she said. “It’s 40 minutes’ drive anywhere. But somebody will come out to your house (to sell drugs), even if you don’t have the money for a car.”
Controlled substances followed her throughout adulthood, including in the Navy, where she encountered an individual who said encouraged her to take Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication. She also had a difficult Caesarean section in which gangrene settled in her feet.
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“(Until) people talk about what they are experiencing and see they are not alone, we can’t even begin to help them,” Motsinger said at a meeting hosted by St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly on opioid addiction Tuesday evening in Granite City.
It was one of the first campaign events hosted by Kelly since he declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in Illinois’ 12th congressional district. About a dozen people came out to the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
“I think I have experience on the topic from the law enforcement perspective,” Kelly said. In addition to his typical duties as state’s attorney, he also brought a suit against pharmaceutical companies in April.
“I don’t know what the perfect solution is,” he said, “but there are a lot of good things that people are saying here about health insurance, about the barriers to being able to treat these things.”