Opioid crisis hits Spokane Valley family hard - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Opioid crisis hits Spokane Valley family hard

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SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

Kaele Prichett was 15-years-old when her life changed forever.

It was April 4th, 2007. She had smoked marijuana the night before, got behind the wheel without a drivers license, and crashed into a bulldozer going 80 mph.

Prichett and another teenage passenger survived, but 14-year-old Cameron Ross didn’t make it.

“Kaele was a 15-year-old that made a bad choice,” said her mother, Wendy Billingslea. “Cameron passing was one of the hardest things I had to go through, but for a 15-year-old, I can’t imagine.”

Prichett faced vehicular manslaughter charges but wouldn’t do jail-time. Instead, she was sentenced to juvenile rehabilitation and house arrest.

It seemed things could only go up for Prichett, but instead, they spiraled downwards.

“She did have injuries,” said Billingslea. “So she was put on heavy drugs from the very beginning.”

Prichett was given methadone and other opioids.

“She needed them,” said Billingslea. “They were the things that helped her survive the nights crying in the tub because it was the only way to take the pain away.”   

After recovering from her injuries, Billingslea says her daughter kept taking prescription drugs. But when they became too expensive, she began using heroin and meth.

“I’ve seen her look like death,” said Billingslea. “I’ve been called and told it might be Kaele dead, that they found a body and it might be Kaele, they just don’t know.”

Billingslea says her daughter became an addict by 19-years-old.

Then, her second child was taken from her in the hospital.

“The State took Josiah at the hospital,” said Billingslea. “Her and her husband weren’t allowed to leave with Josiah because he tested positive for the opioids and other drugs.”

Since becoming hooked on drugs, Prichett has spent the years in and out of jail.

Billingslea and her husband are in the process of adopting her son.

“I love her, she’s my daughter,” said Billingslea. “But I’m angry. I think it’s really hard for families to pick up the pieces and carry on. It’s not our baggage. I love him but he’s not my baby.”

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