Never. Lose. Hope.

By on August 30, 2016


Drug addiction is everyone’s problem. The nationwide epidemic is well known, but local stories of fatal overdoses and struggles with recovery go largely unnoticed. The Ephrata Review is publishing a monthly series that covers these local stories. Some are tragic, some are triumphant. The goal is to never lose hope.


Beth (center) and her two sisters during happier times.Part 1: Beth’s Story

“Beth’s Story” is the first in a five-part monthly series on the addiction epidemic that our society is facing. While names, locations, and dates have been changed to protect her family, Beth’s story is true and sadly becoming too common. The series is written by Janice Ballenger, who works at Retreat at Lancaster County, a premier 160-bed addiction treatment center in Ephrata. While working closely with patients suffering from addiction, she has a passion to raise awareness to what addiction truly is, namely, a chronic, treatable brain disease. There is a need to detach the negative stigma attached to addicts. There is help and there is always hope. One more “Beth” is one more too many lost to this horrific disease.

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Part 2: Laura’s Ladder

Laura’s Ladder” is the second in a monthly series on the addiction crisis that too many people are battling. The series is written by Janice Ballenger, who works at Retreat at Lancaster County, a premier 160 bed addiction treatment facility in Ephrata. Working closely with addicts, she has a burning passion to raise awareness to addiction and offer hope to all. Part I of this series, “Beth’s Story,” detailed Beth’s life as a once-successful registered nurse who ended up dead at age 38 from a heroin overdose. While some names and locations have been changed for the privacy of her family, “Laura’s Ladder” is also a true story with local ties.

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My little brother: As told by a grieving big sister

This is a local family’s drug addiction tragedy as told by a sister who lost a brother to an overdose less than a year ago. It happened right here in our community, and it happens more often than many might think. Identities have been withheld to protect those involved.

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next-monthPart 3: ‘Andrew’s Actions’

“Andrew’s Actions” is the third feature in a monthly series on the addiction crisis that our society is facing. The first series, “Beth’s Story” detailed Beth’s successful life as a registered nurse, and her untimely death. “Laura’s Ladder’ chronicled Laura’s life as she climbed out of her addiction cesspool and is now a contributing member of our local community.

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LR20160519_Secrets-cropPart 4: Secret Addiction

“Secrets of Addiction” is the fourth feature in a monthly series on the addiction crisis that our society is facing. It should be noted that none of the following stories are in any way related to, nor submitted by, any patients at Retreat. Also, none of these stories are being shared to be used as enablers, but rather to hopefully be used as preventive measures. Some names have been changed to protect their family’s privacy.

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Part 5: Out of Tears: A parent’s perspective on addiction

“Out of Tears” is the fifth story in a monthly series on the addiction crisis facing our society. This case is just one of the many gut-wrenching stories shared with her. Reach out and help these struggling families if you can. Get the parents into rehab so that they can become a part of their children’s lives. Don’t end up burying your children. Never. Lose. Hope.

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Readers share their stories of drug addiction


Part 6: Vic’s Victory: A recovering drug addict shares his story

In the decades that spawned the Vietnam War; Star Wars; lava lamps; Pac Man; Rubik Cubes and Swatch watches, Vic was among many doing things other than having an interest in the above. A lifetime resident of Ephrata, he recently reached out to offer hope to all as he graciously shared his personal story.

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Part 7: Erin’s Escape: Lucky to be Alive

Substance abuse too often causes domestic abuse and can result in appalling behavior. In the United States, it is estimated that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds. One-fourth to one-half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse problems. Erin’s attacker was her friend, she thought. She trusted him. She was lucky enough to get out alive to share her story. Erin’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

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Don’t surrender to addiction

You are not alone!


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