May 13, 2014 Allie Wenner Uncategorized
As she was growing up, Kali Perry wanted to be an artist. A 2012 graduate of East Syracuse Minoa High School, Perry was a high honor roll student who was involved in the school’s art program. She did a little bit of everything: drawing, painting and pottery, according to her mom, Melissa Hosier, of East Syracuse.
But on Nov. 4, 2013, Perry’s dreams were cut short at age 19 when she overdosed after taking too much heroin. It came as a shock to those close to her — Perry, with her long red hair and bright blue eyes, who showed up for work at her full-time job regularly – she just didn’t seem like someone who was addicted to heroin, said Hosier.
“She was normal —an all-American, normal kid that came from a pretty normal family,” Hosier said. “I mean, I wasn’t an addict. I didn’t have any drugs in the house, including prescription pills. You would never look at her and think, ‘Oh, well she does heroin.’ You would never think that… I didn’t.”
Hosier found out about her daughter’s addiction last June, when Perry’s then-boyfriend approached her.
“He said, ‘Kali’s using heroin.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, right — sure she is.’ I thought he was lying to me. ‘She would never do that; she’s too strong of a person,’ I said. I couldn’t even talk, I didn’t know what to do,” Hosier said.
Described by her mom as “very independent,” it came as no surprise to Hosier when Perry announced she wanted to get her own apartment after high school. She told her mother that she wanted to take a year off before applying to college to decide what she really wanted to do while working a full-time job in the meantime.
Perry moved out and soon found a good job that paid well. From far away, it seemed like a good situation. But Hosier said that when she started to look a little closer, she began to believe that her daughter’s problem started at this job, where she became friends with people who were heroin users.
“She had some underlying issues. Kali struggled with anxiety and depression,” Hosier said. “And when she got out on her own, she realized how difficult it could be. The pressures of working and paying for her rent, phone bill, car — it became very overwhelming for her.”
Perry confessed to her mother about her addiction a couple weeks after her boyfriend broke the news. Hosier said she had no idea what to do – so she started calling everyone she thought could help. And she was startled at how difficult it was to get Perry into a rehabilitation treatment center.
“We started the process in late June, and it took two weeks of calling every single day to try to get her in,” Hosier said. “They said things like, ‘I have to verify your insurance, I have to get her medical records.’ The whole thing took a long time, and I was saying, ‘But she needs help now! Right now! What’s the problem?’”
They were finally able to get Perry in the program in the beginning of September. Hosier said that her daughter knew from the beginning that she could sign out at any time, but she encouraged her to stay for at least 30 days. After two weeks at rehab, her daughter started saying that she didn’t want to be in the program anymore; she wanted to go back to her life. And despite her mother’s pleads to stay, Perry checked herself out of the facility after three weeks.
“I don’t know if she was really mentally ready. You have to want to quit, and I don’t think she was really there,” Hosier said. “I think she did it for me and everyone else close to her, but I don’t think she was ready.”
Hosier described the month after Perry got back from rehab as “one of the best months I’ve had with her in years.” She moved back home and Hosier thought things were getting better; this was a weight that was lifted off of her daughter’s shoulders, as she no longer had to worry about paying rent.
“She was saying things to me that she normally didn’t say, like, ‘I love you mom and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.’ Things she hadn’t been saying for a while because she was so out of it. It was a great time,” she said.
On Friday night, Nov. 1, Hosier said she was out doing errands when she had a feeling that she should stop by to see her daughter around 5:30 p.m. When she entered the apartment, Perry was sleeping in her bed, and Hosier said she suspected she was coming down from heroin.
“I kind of took the tough love approach at that point and I told her that she had to want to quit for herself, or it wasn’t going to happen,” Hosier said. “She said to me, ‘Mom, you just don’t understand what it’s like.’ And that was our last conversation.”