NEWTON (CBS) – Maegan Kenney faced issues that would be familiar to many when she first fell into addiction.
“At home I was crying myself to sleep and couldn’t believe the person that I had become” Kenney told WBZ-TV. She suffered from depression and social anxiety since childhood and found herself in an abusive relationship with a dealer who would give her the drugs for free. “I found my outlet and my kind of safe space with that drug,” she said.
Related: Opioid Recovery Resources
Kenney was fortunate enough to get treatment through the opioid blocking drug Vivitrol. With her newfound sobriety, she was able to focus on her education and is now in the process of earning her PhD in clinical psychology at William James College.
Kenney then founded the Opioid Crisis and Advocacy Student Group on campus.
“I just felt like my peers in the program maybe would benefit from having somebody next to them walking them through what it’s like living inside the mind of somebody who is an addict,” she said. Her inspiration to share her story came from a fellow student also in recovery, Christopher O’Connor.
“I just felt like he did it with such truth and such honor and he didn’t make any apologies for the person that he was,” Kenney told WBZ.
O’Connor is no longer able to share his story because he died in July after an overdose. Kenney plans to run the “Rise Up Against Addiction” 5k in Chris’ honor.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to see so many people come out of that darkness, and once they get into recovery they are thriving in ways that nobody could have ever expected and they met a potential that they didn’t even know existed” says Kenney.
Web Extra: Maegan Kenney on how she hopes to inspire other addicts
This is the latest story in a series of WBZ-TV reports on confronting the opioid crisis in Massachusetts.