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Season 14, Episode 4

Zach

Age: 2o’s?
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Addiction:  Heroin and cocaine, smoked together
What’s memorable:  This is a tough one. Zach continuously pawns his grandfather’s possessions for drug money (his laptop, guns, vacuum cleaner) and then immediately feels tremendously guilty about it, even admits that he did it as soon as he gets home and then deals with his grandfather’s frustrated rage.  The amount of guilt and shame he carries around is visible on his face and the way he carries himself, but he just can’t stop doing it. The drugs come first, consequences be damned.  And Whitney is an interesting case.  She first makes it sound like she just started doing it within the last few weeks to “get closer” to him, but it seems clear she’s been addicted for a while and probably submitted Zach to the show in hopes of getting help for herself as well. Can’t say I blame her, and I guess it’s not technically against the rules.  The intervention was pretty powerful, with Zach in tears as soon as he walked in.  I’m so glad he’s taking his sobriety seriously and doing what he has to do to get his family back together.

Legacy Update: As of the June 27, 2018 Legacy Update (Shiann’s episode) Zach is clean and doing well.

Synopsis: While still a child, Zach’s father was incarcerated, and Zach and his sister were adopted by their loving grandparents. When Zach’s father was released from jail he moved in with the grandparents, hoping for a fresh start. It didn’t take long for his father to fall off the wagon, and in fact, it was Zach’s father who first introduced Zach to heroin. Using, but still functional, Zach met his girlfriend Whitney, and two years ago, she had their son. Today Zach’s cocaine and heroin addiction is out of control. Whitney has turned to Intervention for help.

Original Air Date: April 2015
Interventionist: Jeff

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  1. Kat R.

    Drives me crazy how they rushed through this episode! I also didn’t like how Jeff cut the letters off. There was a lot of pain in that family and it seemed pretty obvious from the get go that Zach was going to go, so why not let them air it out? I guess it could be editing but Jeff did say something like “enough with the letters, are you going?” Wishing Zach the best (and also Whitney, of course cheering her on). I have a good feeling that they’ll be able to get it together and move on as a family.

    Random observation, lot of addicts from SLC/Utah have been on the show over the years.

    1. Dizzy

      They breezed through the introductions and entire back stories of both addicts before the first commercial break. I really don’t like that.

      1. Kat R.

        Especially with a backstory as tragic and traumatic as that one.

    2. EPtrail

      I thought the same thing after watching that episode. A show called Intervention should focus more on the Intervention process.

      Zach’s story deserved a full episode with better insight into the how and the why his girlfriend decided to join him on his downward spiral.

      I live on the Western Slope in Colorado and there’s been a huge out-migration of young people from the area to Denver and SLC for employment and social reasons. These kids arrive thinking they can create their own future, but they often fail because they’re not able to find the support system they had back home. Lisa Ling had a wonderful documentary on young woman and her mother in SLC on CNN last year. She explored the seedy underbelly the LDS faith had inadvertently created in Utah over the decades and how the church has struggled to help these lost souls rise above their addictions. I highly recommend for insight into why Intervention has covered a disproportional number of episodes to a population of 250,000.

      1. Dizzy

        Thanks for your comment. I hadn’t realized before that so many of the addicts on this show are based in the SLC area, but you’re right. It’s definitely over-represented. According to my VERY unscientific research, it’s 2nd only to the LA area in terms of number of Intervention addicts from there.

        I found the documentary you mentioned here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dJcJB2RTBY

        Looks really interesting, thanks for posting.

    3. TBM

      I just spent a month in Salt Lake City for work and the homeless problem/obvious drug problem is out of control. It’s on par with San Francisco. Totally shocked when I got there.

    4. Janelle

      A big part of why Utah, and specifically Mormons, may be overrepresented on the show may be because the entertainment industry hates the LDS (Mormon) Church with a passion and is always looking for ways to defame it. It started back in 2008 when the LDS Church authored and sponsored that stupid ballot measure in California which amended the state constitution to outlaw gay marriage (it was overturned by the courts a year or 2 later). Hollywood, which tends to support the LGBT community, then turned on the LDS Church and launched a smear campaign which continues to this day. So A&E may be picking on Utah and the LDS Church for political and/or ideological reasons even though the drug problem in Utah is no more or less severe than most anywhere else in the USA.

      1. michilines

        You are repeating yourself, Janelle (you had already made a similar comment earlier — look below).

        I grew up with Mormons and would posit that the repression of this religion may play a bigger part than any “Hollywood” vendetta. This is true for other religions as well. There seem to be a number of episodes about addicts in connection with conservative upbringings.

      2. Alice Schmid

        I think you mean the repressiveness of the Mormon church (their willingness to repress their members) vs the repression of the Mormon church, which would refer to the church itself being repressed.

    5. Jeff

      I agree. I’m not crazy about two (in this case three) interventions in one episode. At the least, both Zach/Whitney and Theresa should have had the full hour because there was obviously so much they left out on them with time constraints.

  2. Jay

    Did these two have any other means to get their fix besides stealing from the grandfather? That bothered me a lot about these two.

    1. Jess

      I wondered that too! While I did steal from my parents and family to support my addiction, that wasn’t my SOLE means of supporting it! Just while filming, he stole 2 guns off his grandfather, his laptop, and 2 power wheels off the porch (and his reasoning– he can just say they didn’t come– wouldn’t work.. Delivery confirmation will prove that they were delivered on a certain day and time and where they were left). I’m surprised the old man didn’t have everything locked up!

    2. Alice Schmid

      I couldn’t believe Whitney actually saying that becoming an addict herself was a way to bond their little family together. Oh brother.

  3. ATL girl

    Whitney is in my facebook. She is not clean but is trying to get her life back on track. Zach remains clean. I just hope she isn’t stealing from family

  4. cas

    The “fight” more of a wrestling match with his grandpa was something to behold. Never seen anyone put sunglasses on during a fight

  5. Nicole

    I’m actually from a town near SLC and so I know how the dope game works around here. Pawning is HUGE. I was not surprised at all when It showed him pawning all that stuff. Smoking it is big here to. I’ve also lived and used h in Southern California and the Bay Area and I never came across pawning like it is here. That’s how everyone gets dope around here.

  6. Madeline

    According to Zach’s facebook page, he has been clean since 2014, and he and Whitney appear to be together and raising their son.

    https://www.facebook.com/zachari.steele.1

    1. Rachel

      It says on there that he’s a full time single dad.

  7. Janelle

    A big factor for the “disproportionate” number of addicts profiled in Utah is anti-LDS bias by the entertainment industry. Ever since the LDS church wrote and supported that silly Proposition 8 in California (anti-same sex marriage) Hollywood has hated Mormons with a passion. Not to say there isn’t a drug problem in Utah and among the LDS community, but I think that the network is targeting it because of anti-LDS bias.

    1. Sariah

      Oh my gosh, Janelle — I went to high school with you in SLC!!! I haven’t seen you since your senior year as pitcher. I could not agree more — ever since Prop 8, Hollywood has been obsessed with breaking the LDS community and making things harder for people like you and me who can live respectable lives without flaunting our business in front of the whole town. You just have to learn to tone it down.

      As for Zach, good for him. Give my love to Bonnie!

  8. trish

    I found a Go Fund Me page for Zach, his sister made it for him. I hope he stays clean. I can only imagine how tough addiction can be too overcome. I hope he stayed clean, as well as, Whitney. They can fight it!! here is the link to the GoFundMe page

    https://www.gofundme.com/ilsw50

  9. Sad

    No way I am giving my money to a person I don’t know who has a drug addict for a sibling.

    1. Susie

      No offense but that’s kind of messed up. Just because someone has a go fund me set up for their siblings recovery doesnt mean its going to be used on drugs. I doubt she just handed zach cash that was raised.

  10. Julia

    I just looked at Zach’s Facebook and it said he’s clean and has full custody of his son. Apparently Whitney is still using and not doing good at all

    1. Rad

      That’s actually not true what so ever. Whitney was actually night staff at the recovery center I went to. She’s amazing and helped me through my recovery. She is still sober and her and Zach are doing great great

  11. Whitbey

    Whoever you are thank you for showing the truth about me

  12. 2 Kool Nana

    I think there are a lot of addicts from SLC, UT because there are NO Consequences in SLC per our Wonderful Attorney General “Sim Gill.” Users here know they won’t be sent too jail for drugs, paraphernalia, shoplifting, destroying unoccupied homes etc….
    I have an adult daughter who is an addict. She knows there’s no consequences for her destructive actions… She’s who taught me about Utah’s Pathetic Enabeling of Drug Addicts..

  13. Caroline

    I saw a post Zachari made on Facebook last month claiming that he’s been clean since Intervention and someone commented claiming that he got a DUI and is abusing prescription medication. I looked into this and found court records from July 2018 confirming that he got a DUI along with six other charges including possession of drug paraphernalia, retail theft, and driving without a license. Seems like he’s still extremely dishonest and addicted.

  14. Helen Beers

    Zach is NOT doing well at all. He has gotten a few DUI’s, most recently with his son in the car. Child protective services stepped in, and he was placed with a family member because Whitney failed multiple drug tests for court and is living with an addict/abusive boyfriend. Zach is currently in jail and has lost custody of his son. He also started shoplifting again and has continuously abused his Subutex since being prescribed it since he went into rehab. So much of his story and update was full of lies. The true victim is the poor child who has 2 addict parents who can’t get their shit together to care for their child.

  15. Lynn

    Zach is currently in the Salt Lake County jail. Sad.

  16. Jay

    Zach is far from good. He’s been lying about being clean.

    http://iml.slsheriff.org/IML His name is Zachari Steele. Multiple possessions. Thefts. Shoplifting. Driving without license or insurance.

  17. Lexy

    Looks he was arrested again, for possession, in May 2020. Sad.

  18. Sarah Simone

    Just finished watching this episode. Watching all of these Intervention episodes really makes me so incredibly grateful that I have a loving family that has never had any problems. The majority of these episodes and the addictions shown in them was caused by a horrible and sad family dynamic. So unbelievably sad and messed up that Zach started using because his own father was the one that introduced it to him. In his case it was a vicious cycle and it’s extremely sad to see. His father served jail time, stole from people’s garages to pawn items for drug money, and abandoned his son while serving jail time. It is very unfortunate that his son Zach became just like his father but it was obviously his father’s fault. Zach served jail time, he stole from his grandfather to support his drug addiction, and his obvious using in the house caused his girlfriend Whitney to start using with him. They also both abandoned their son, Zayden while they were in the basement using, the grandpa wasn’t home and their toddler son was left alone upstairs. While they used, they put their son in danger. Their son could of gotten a hold of something dangerous or fallen down the stairs. Overall, his whole story and the reason he became addicted in the first place is just very sad. Just did a google search on him, Zachari Steele and he has an Instagram account that is on private. His Instagram bio is all about being an amazing father for his son. I really hope he is totally clean and is able to be an amazing father to his son so that the vicious cycle of drug addiction does not continue in his family.

  19. Yo

    I watched a legacy update about Zach that was in the Shiann episode, and it seemed pretty clear to me from his video chat with Jeff VanVondren that he was under the influence of something. His hands were extremely fidgety, in a very unnatural way, and his eyes were a dead give-away, as well.

    I was incredulous at how Jeff carried on a conversation with him about his supposed “sobriety”, when he so clearly was not clean.

  20. Kelly

    He’s currently in jail in Salt Lake. He was arrested on 6/25/21. His Booking# is 21021513

    1. Susie

      http://iml.slsheriff.org/IML
      Sad but true, here’s the link.

  21. Alexandra D

    I found Whitney. Her page doesn’t reveal much, but does say she left a job at a treatment center in 2017. https://m.facebook.com/whitney.bath?pn_ref=friends_search

    1. Caitlin

      Judging by the recent pic of her and her baby, methinks she and Zach broke up