Residents of Scioto County often say that addiction impacts everyone’s lives; however, few have experienced the full terrors of addiction like Holly Tackett, 41, of Lucasville. The number of dead in her family continues to grow as the epidemic continues to swallow lives.
Tackett has lost her dad, brother and cousins to drugs and continues to watch her son battle addiction as well.
“When I was only in preschool I remember my teacher coming to the house and I wanted to share the photo albums with her. I didn’t understand why I could not show her everything. Later I learned dad had pictures of weed and had some of his leaves from the marijuana plant,” stated as one of her first memories.
Then, in 1985, when Tackett was just a few years older, she remembers her mom telling her about her dad snorting coke.
“My mom was pregnant with her third child, my second brother,” Tackett remembered. “Then one of then tenant’s apartment caught on fire. My mom delivered my brother early, his left lung collapsed and he was life flighted to Dayton Children’s. Thankfully he lived.”
Tackett grew up the oldest of six and the only girl. Her dad had been one of six and always wanted to have the same number of children.
“Growing up my dad would buy ran down half doubles and apartments building, and he would fix one apartment up and we’d live in it until he fixed more,” Tackett said. “Then he would rent them. I remember at one time he owned four sets of apartments with four apartments in each.”
Then, when she was a teenager, he was a truck driver and owned his own terminal with 13 semis. Tackett often went on trips with her dad, until she found out that the trips had a bit of a different purpose than she understood.
“I remember taking several trips out west. The older I got especially as a pre teen I hated it (miss it now). We’d have all my siblings, sometimes taking family members or friends along the ride,” she explained. “I remember one time, being with this family in the west, there was such a large block of marijuana. It reminded me of a hay stack. I remember them wrapping it in saran wrap and then dumping pepper on it, round and round over and over until it was all concealed. Sometimes we did this three times in one summer.”
At 13, she begged not to go with her parents on a trip across the country. They agreed so long as she watched her youngest brother.
“I don’t believe he was yet a year old,” she explained. “Well my parents left for their trip, and they didn’t have cell phones back then. So a couple days later, the electric was shut off because no one paid it. I was able to walk my brother to the town restaurant to feed him every day. It was crazy.”
Tackett says she does not remember her dad being around often. However, when he was, she can remember her parents fighting.
“If he was home, he’d been dozing in and out, yelling or arguing at mom,” Tackett commented. “One time he didn’t have his glass of milk with his home made tacos and he threw his plate. Then he left.”
Her mom would pack all the kids in the car and take them around to local bars looking for their cheating father. Sometimes she would leave him, but she always came back. Tackett went to 17 different schools as a result. Once Tackett’s mom took the children all the way to Texas, promising a new life. Still, she returned. Another time, Tackett says she remembers her dad beating her mom. Again, they left. This time, they stayed with grandparents.
“The night we did stay there, dad busted the front window, I remember the load noise from the rock busting the window, it actually landed near me,” Tackett said thinking back. “Then, the next morning, my grandpa’s windshield was busted too. But my dad replaced both windows and even bought two new recliners for my grandparents and also had a ‘Sorry, I love you’ note with a single rose on my mom’s vehicle.”
Times were not always bad. There were strange people that would come from out West and stay until their business with Tackett’s dad was handled, but Tackett also got to see the world.
“I have been to Jamaica, Caribbean Islands, a lot of the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico – seen the circus there,” she said. “Dad would bring friends and family and pay for it all, everything. He would help his single mother sisters out, give them money, buy them stuff. He even let his and my mom’s relatives live in our apartments free of charge. He had a heart of gold, he would help anyone. Relatives lived with us over the years.”
The most embarrassing moment of her life was when her parents were arrested and charged with 109 pounds of marijuana. The arrest was all over local news. Charges were dropped against her mom, but her dad went to prison.
Though times were not always good, they were better than no times at all. Tackett pretty much lost her father after that.
“My dad was in prison for eight years for 109 pounds of marijuana and then got off papers and died, with cocaine in his system at 42-years-old,” she commented.
Without her dad around, Tackett and her brothers were allowed to drink and do pretty much whatever they wanted, even though the boys were not even all teenagers. The family was poor because her mother never worked. They relied on the help of others. Tackett, who got pregnant as a teen, was also taking care of her brothers.
“My brother Raymond had a child at 18,” Tackett said. “The mother left cause she had a bad life and could not stay off the drugs. She was on meth and other things.”
Her brother worked and was a single dad until he finally married. Then, his wife got hurt and was prescribed pain pills. Eventually, the couple was both crushing and snorting the pills. Soon, they were going to pill mills in Florida. Raymond’s wife overdosed but lived. Still, they used. He continued to use until his death Dec. 24, 2013.
“He was on drugs and then hung himself in the Pickaway County Jail,” Tackett explained. I was heart broken. He was like my son too. He was so awesome, so amazing. He was so smart. He took a test in 6th grade, skipped 7th and went into the 8th grade. He cooked like a chief. Boy, he could make peach cobbler with the directions in his head. He always live with me. He helped babysit. Though the six of us had a rough life, we turned out great with the ropes we were given. I don’t blame the She assumes her brother was going through withdrawals and could not take it anymore. He always wanted to be buried by their father.
“I missed him so much the year before he actually died,” Tackett stated. “I know he was doing heroin.”
Now, her son Seth is battling addiction. He is currently in treatment and doing well, but she can’t help fear where addiction will take him.
“He said my brother ray got him to snort pills when he was only 16,” Tackett explained. “I just found this out this year. Now, he is having drug issues and mental health issues. It’s tough. But, I know I did the best I could. I’ve worked since I was 15, heck started delivering newspapers at 12, always cleaned, cooked and took care of kids. That’s all I know. That’s why I feel God brought me to this job to do.”
Tackett now works as an investigator for Child Protective Services to try to help others. With all she has experienced with addiction, children are the ones at the greatest risk and the ones she feel she must help.
“When I meet these children, these parents, the AP’s the ACV’s I can relate,” she said. “I can treat them as family, friends… I want to help. I want them to know someone loves and cares for them. I do what ever I can. You know it’s not because of what I have seen or what’s happened to me, but I just want the world to be a better place.”
As the opiate epidemic continues to break her heart either by taking loved ones or in her job, Tackett continues to fight.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.