WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. – Video of a Wisconsin woman sitting unresponsive, mouth agape, as she overdosed in the driver’s seat of her car later went viral – and she credits the video with giving her a second chance at life.
“I’ve always been a ‘good kid,'” Katrina Henry told WITI. “I don’t drink. I like to paint. I like to draw. I work out. I was a cheerleader throughout high school. I had an internship. I did research with my professor, and always had at least two jobs. I would have considered myself a very successful person,” Henry said.
If you could hear how that picture was torn apart, how the pieces fell into the abyss of addiction and the will to survive slipped away, it would sound like this:
“I felt so alone. Worthless. Almost hopeless. I felt like I was never going to get help now. Like, who’s going to help me now. It broke my spirit,” Henry said.
The video was recorded on March 21st near Hopkins and Glendale in Waukesha, roughly 20 miles west of Milwaukee, after Henry crashed her vehicle into a parked car.
“They took me to the hospital, handcuffed me to the bed. I died. I overdosed and died,” Henry said.
Henry said she doesn’t remember much from what could have been the last moments of her life — the overdose that nearly killed her, or the crash that certainly saved her.
“Nope, not at all,” Henry said. “There was no driving and I’m starting to get tired or anything. Everything was black. I don’t know how that happened.”
Henry does remember well how she got hooked:
“I started using Percocets. A boyfriend of mine kind of got me into it. I didn’t really know what they were, and so I started doing them with him and then when I wouldn’t do them, all of a sudden I would get sick, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m addicted to these.'”
At first, she said, the pills helped erase what was inside:
“I’ve had a lot of bad things happen to me in my life, so it just kept building and building, and it was my only release. Or so I thought. Numb the pain. Took me away. Didn’t have to deal with the pain. Didn’t have to deal with feeling worthless, and like a failure and a loser, and I’d tell my mom — I just feel like such a loser. I thought that I was doing everything to be successful in life.”
The drugs, however, were deceptive. They turned on her, like an underground enemy. The more she did, the more worthless she felt — a bigger failure, a bigger loser, all alone with her lie.
“I didn’t want to admit it. I was lying. I was like ‘I’m fine,'” Henry said.
Of course, she wasn’t, but the warning signs weren’t enough for her to admit her addiction.
“I started losing interest in things,” Henry said.
Sliding into a deeper depression wasn’t enough. Getting arrested wasn’t enough. An armed robbery wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t until that day in March, when she was driving after snorting what she thought was cocaine, that she received her final warning — recorded on camera for the world to see. The drug was likely laced with fentanyl. Within minutes, Henry’s life began to slip away.
The viral video of her head bent back and her stumbling to life after being injected with Narcan spawned a tirade of hate on social media.
“I’m getting messages from people saying they wish I would have died. I think it was very cruel,” Henry said.
Henry said she realizes the crash saved her life.
“As ashamed that I am that I hit that woman’s car, I’m also glad. No one would have found me. I would have died there,” Henry said.
And the video gave her a second chance.
“I don’t think I would have taken it as seriously. In a split second your life can change,” Henry said.
Her life actually changed the first day she did the Percocet.
“I had no idea what they’d do to me. I had no idea,” Henry said.
On that day, the clock started ticking. The rest was just a matter of time. Looking back on that day, Henry had this message for others:
“You have no idea what’s in those drugs. It could be anything. Drug dealers don’t care what they’re selling you. They’re just trying to make money. They may not even know what it is. People my age, they just don’t think anything of using drugs. I’m not using that as an excuse, but it kind of, to me, normalized it — and I just want people to admit it and go get help. You don’t need to be ashamed of yourself.”
Henry said she believes it was the shame that held her back before the video went viral and she started talking about her addiction:
“I was so embarrassed. I always told myself that I would never end up like that. Talking makes you feel so much better. It makes you feel like you’re not alone. I felt so alone, that I was the only one dealing with this problem, and that no one would understand. I don’t feel hopeless and worthless anymore, and I know I was brought back for a reason, and I’m going to live up to my full potential. I’m not going to be feeling like a loser, feeling down on myself, feeling like I don’t matter. I clearly do. I just had to have it taken away from me, or almost taken away from me, in order for me to feel like I am worth something. That maybe I am here for a reason.”
As of Wednesday, April 19th, Henry was in her third week of therapy and drug treatment.