Recovering drug addict, law enforcement: ‘Drug epidemic is here, lives being lost’

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A warning from law enforcement officials Thursday that more heroin and opioid drugs are showing up in Kansas, it isn’t lost on the survivors.

Former drug addicts explain to KSN, the disease eats at every aspect of your body. It creates darkness, and pain, and sadly, for many they can never kick their addiction. But for one Wichitan, he was able to overcome the odds after three decades of use.

It started out as a normal childhood for Brian Holmes until he met some neighborhood kids.

“I started hanging around with the wrong kids and we started experimenting with alcohol. It just went from there,” said Holmes.

By the age of 10, Holmes found himself gravitating towards the streets, looking for acceptance from friends. Soon after, he was introduced to marijuana.

“It just escalated from there,” he explained.

Heroin, opioids, cocaine and meth, Holmes experimented with all of it. And, that led to serious addiction.

“When I turned 21, I was a full blown addict,” stated Holmes.

Then he hit rock bottom. After committing multiple financial crimes, Holmes landed in federal prison.

“I spent 5 and a half years in prison,” Holmes said.

It was at the Norton Correctional Facility, that Holmes started searching for help.

“The last time I was in prison, I sold my soul. I found Christ at that time,” Holmes recalled.

Holmes said through his eight years of recovery he has met many people going through the same struggles, and learned the ugly truth about lethal drugs like heroin.

“It is a problem and we’ve got young kids doing it. We’ve got old people doing it,” he said.

Holmes is relieved that awareness is increasing, as people from all walks of life can struggle with heroin addiction.

“I’m glad that they’re recognizing it. And not stigmatizing it. It’s not a stigma, it’s an epidemic,” explained Holmes.

Eight years sober, and more successful than ever, Holmes tells KSN if it weren’t for his faith, and others

“It’s simple. There’s hope. There’s hope for you, all you got to do is reach out.”

Holmes is currently leading several addiction recovery groups at his local church, Grace Revolution and is involved with a Wichita Oxford House.