NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Young people and teenagers are becoming addicted to painkillers at an alarming rate, but you might not know that unless it has touched your own family.
That’s why a Nashville couple has been public with their own story, speaking to News 2 about what happened with their own daughter.
While walking across a certain field, the memory comes back to Betty Mason as clear and bright in her mind as the day it happened.
It was Steeplechase 2015. Betty and her husband Bruce needed to capture the moment as happiness had been fleeting.
“Her feet didn’t touch the ground,” Betty said. “She was absolutely blissful because this is where she was safe.”
Katy was a typical kid. She loved playing soccer and riding horses.
That changed at the age of 15. She met an older boy who showed her marijuana and meth, and eventually she developed an addiction to pain pills.
“It never ended for five years, from 15 to 19,” her father Bruce said.
He took action, pressing charges against the boyfriend while tending to his daughter in emergency rooms and rehabilitation.
“It was killing us, and if we had to go another six, seven years with it, it may have killed us, honestly. May have killed us,” Bruce told News 2.
When the couple took that picture of Katy running through the field, she had just been through a six-month rehab program and she graduated from high school.
There was hope.
But her journals that August reveal her ongoing struggle.
“I constantly have good and evil trying to balance out in me. I felt good when I came out of rehab. I felt like a rocket ready to take off again and like a ‘snap!’ society’s crap got back in my blood stream,” Katy wrote.
Bruce says he went from praying for her life to praying for her soul.
“The main thing I know she was a Christian girl,” he said.
Then on May 14, 2016, one year after she oversaw last year’s race as a jump marshal, the Masons phone rang.
“We got that last 3 o’ clock in the morning call,” Betty said.
“When I walked in the room, there’s my daughter on a support system. She’s already not able to breath on her own,” she said through tears.
“And her head was kind of tilted toward me, and she had a tear running down her cheek, and I told her, ‘I know what you’re trying to tell me, that you’re sorry and that you love us,’ and you’re dad and I are here just as we have always been,” Betty continued.
She says the ninth jump at Steeplechase is the hardest one because it’s the last hurdle on the way home. She laid flowers there for her Katy.
Betty has since been working with both Tennessee overdose prevention and state lawmakers as they seek solutions to this crisis and try to help other families in the same situation.Click here for more on the opioid crisis in Tennessee.