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Episode 215: Jonel

Season 15, Episode 11

Age: 24
Location: Browning, Montana (Blackfeet Indian Reservation)
Addiction: Suboxone

What’s Memorable: The fact that the episode takes place on a reservation.  For one, it’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone profiled who isn’t white. (The racial & cultural diversity on this show is seriously lacking). Second, this episode was a bit of a historical and cultural education about why American Indians have a high rate of addiction and that suboxone is becoming a drug of choice. Third, Jonel’s mother explained that talking about what happens on the reservation to people on the outside is highly discouraged, so for this family to reach out to Intervention and be willing to talk about their family on TV shows how much they love her and need her to get help.  There is a lot of love in this family and it showed. So glad Jonel accepted treatment and stayed there long enough to get solid in her sobriety. That’s just what she needed.

Official Synopsis: Jonel was born into the Blackfeet Indian Tribe in Montana. When she was 9 months pregnant, her boyfriend was tragically killed in a car accident and then she gave birth to her daughter just days after the funeral. Shocked and grief stricken, Jonel began using suboxone and meth – two drugs that are rampant on the reservation. 14 months ago, Jonel gave birth to her second child who was born addicted to suboxone.

Date Aired:  July 2016
Interventionist: D

Categories: Death of Loved One, Donna, Season 15, Suboxone


38 Responses to “Episode 215: Jonel”

  1. I worked at Glacier National Park in Montana during the summer of 1992….the hotel I worked at was about 10 miles from the Blackfoot Reservation. A lot of the housekeepers came from the Res, and I got to know a few of them. The cycle of poverty and serious abuse among the native families was rampant. There was an AmPm market on the ares, so my roommate and I would frequently go in to shop for snacks for our dorm room. Driving around on the ares was sad….there wasn’t a single house that could be considered nice. It was a mix of falling apart mobile homes and shacks with broken windows, peeling paint, etc.

    Am I the only person who really dislikes Donna? I think she is a terrible interventionist, and her personality is grating. I usually don’t watch her episodes, but this one was interesting to me because of the location. Jonel looked so good in the follow up, but I thought she looked like she might be pregnant…..?

    Posted by Kismet | July 26, 2016, 9:38 pm
    • Driving around on the Res, not ares. Autocorrect!

      Posted by Kismet | July 26, 2016, 9:39 pm
    • Donna is the worst. I feel like she is very condescending. I think the old school interventionist and Sylvia really know how to talk to people. Like when to be sympathetic, and when to give that tough love when needed. Donna needs to go.

      Posted by FlamingoLady | July 30, 2016, 12:14 am
    • I love Donna’s approach and it seems to work well for the people that she deals with. She doesn’t play around and she doesn’t sugarcoat the situation either. This may not be the correct way to deal with all addicts, but in some cases, it gets the job done!

      Posted by Willow | August 3, 2016, 6:30 am
      • I agree Willow, Donna catches a lot of hate from the intervention forums but she keeps it real, and many addicts don’t live in reality but in their own bubble of enabling and manipulation. Donna lays out consequences and choices for them in a direct and civil manner. She just wants to get these families some help! I can see that in her approach, it’s too bad others don’t. Keep it real Donna! There are intervention viewers out there that DO appreciate what you bring to the show.

        Posted by Gloria | August 3, 2016, 8:51 pm
      • Donna’s approach wouldn’t work for me as an addict because the only type of love I’ve only ever had is tough love. But in some cases, specifically Sierra (season 15 episode 2) I think she does great! That episode it was because she had been through a drug psychosis like Sierra. I think she has gotten better at showing kindness, I think it’s always there but sometimes she seems rough. I think she did a decent job on Jonel’s episode. I really miss Seth. He did an excellent job handling messed up family dynamics (Katie) and showing families that trauma is never the victims fault. (Gina, Megan H. and more).

        Posted by Nicole | August 4, 2016, 10:12 pm
      • I like Donna as well. She’s willing to do what it takes. She also gets a lot of the addicts that are worse off so I can see where she has to be more extreme.

        Posted by Kristy | September 28, 2016, 7:47 am
    • Privileged much? My mother grew up there. Many of my family still live there there. Yes poverty is extremely high on the reservation (you don’t live there and you’re not Indian, you don’t get to call it the “Rez”), but there are plenty of nice, if humble, homes there. We deal with enough stereotype already without you adding to it with your condescending ignorance. All races and ethnicities deal with poverty and addiction, it’s just not typical for other ‘minorities’ to be pointedly isolated, separated, and remain under a microscope for 250 years.

      Posted by dinebau | September 29, 2016, 10:48 pm
    • I can’t stand Donna. I like Candy, Jeff and Ken. I haven’t seen too much of Sylvia, but she seems like a sweet, caring person. I am in recovery as well and Donna would put me off and I would become defensive and say F this. I hope Jonel can stay in recovery, her little girl was hurting so much.

      Posted by Jennifer | September 5, 2017, 9:27 am
    • Donna is great! I wasn’t sure about her at the very beginning but over the seasons I’ve grown to adore her.

      Posted by Hector | February 10, 2018, 11:17 pm
  2. I cried during the actual intervention when family brought up how she hadn’t dealt with the boyfriend’s death and she lost it. She is still clearly so in love with him. Just heartbreaking 🙁 So glad to see she not only is sober and living off the reservation, but ditched that controlling current boyfriend. Tweeking aside, he was so controlling and bad for her.

    Posted by Tegan | July 29, 2016, 12:42 am
  3. Jonel’s children are so loveable.. When her daughter was excited to see her mom because she missed her a whole bunch.. She’s so precious. Hope Jonel gets to be in their lives more by staying healthy. Best wishes for Jonel and family.

    Posted by Gloria | August 1, 2016, 6:41 am
  4. Did anyone else catch who was part of the team that greeted Jonel when she arrived at A Sober Way Home??! LATISHA! That is the second time I have seen a previous success story from Intervention greeting a new arrival. In another intervention I saw Phillip greet someone but I don’t remember who. I wish they would highlight that.

    Watch this episode again, when Jonel gets to rehab. Very cool!

    Here is Latisha’s episode.

    Posted by Madeline | September 28, 2016, 7:24 am
  5. I love that too! In s14, a sober Samantha met Mindie going into treatment. Their eps are back to back (s14 ep 28-29 per Hulu)

    An interesting show would be one where the intervenee “carries the message” on the next episode. Probably a logistical nightmare though

    Posted by Elvee | September 29, 2016, 1:46 pm
  6. I watched the episode with Jonel and I didn’t like the way she uses somebody’s death as an excuse to do alcohol and drugs!!!I’m also native american and that was pure disrespect we are supposed to honor and respect the loved ones that go home to the spirit world!!! I use suboxone myself and it saved and changed my life for the better!!! Jonel’s story gives suboxone a very bad name, she portrays our people in a bad light because most of us are NOT like that!!! Anybody that is prescribed suboxone needs to realize what kind of miracles it can do for those who would otherwise haved remained an addict. Miracle is the only way I could describe suboxone

    Posted by Native Blood | November 27, 2016, 8:00 am
  7. Anyways any news on her?

    Posted by Prbeauty | December 13, 2016, 2:18 pm
  8. Just watched this episode and its so true how there is so much drug abuse in reserves these days. Im from a canada reservation and we do have a suboxine treatment program here but people still abuse drugs even when on the program. They take other drugs such as gabbepentins (which is the big “other” drug here) and they also abuse Suboxone. I find it so sad and i see it everyday. Im slowly starting to see meth come into my community, I really hope that drug does not flood our community. A few years ago, opiods was highly abused and it was horrible. People were stealing, asking around for money, spending thier child tax on drugs, selling drugs to feed thier own addicions, and i can go on and on. I dont think she portrayed us aboriginals in a bad light, they are speaking up and we need to stop being silent about whats going on in our reserves. Anyways, i loved this episode and it made me think alot. I really hope shes keeping sober, rooting for her!

    Posted by Kris | December 27, 2016, 10:56 pm
  9. I dig Donna – I think she’s great. Different approach, yes. But she’s good. Even in the famous ‘Courtney’ episode that everyone was freaking out about – I don’t think she did anything wrong. She’s not my fave (Team Ken Fo Lyfe!!) but she’s proven time and again that she’s good at what she does. Everyone’s cup of tea, or not.

    Posted by Shelby Lee | February 19, 2017, 2:14 pm
  10. Facebook: Jonel Lee Goings

    Looks like she’s doing well. 🙂

    Posted by Bambi | February 21, 2017, 12:04 pm
  11. I’m really confused. Don’t people take suboxone to
    withdrawal from opiates. You don’t get high on it. Do you?

    Posted by Scot hodson | February 17, 2018, 1:52 am
    • I think suboxone is a lot like methadone. It’s purpose it to help withdrawal from opiates but it can be used to get high even though that’s not its purpose.

      Posted by Andy | March 8, 2018, 4:02 pm
  12. suboxone has nalaxone aka narcan in it along with the buprenorphine. weird that she injects it.

    Posted by Matt | April 20, 2018, 11:51 am
    • Since buprenorphine is itself an opioid drug, when you tamper with it (such as crushing the tablets to snort it or dilute it with water and inject it) and abuse it by “taking” enough of it, you will get high.

      Posted by kitty katt | April 20, 2018, 5:18 pm
  13. As of may 3rd jonel is using again (at least that’s when it was stated on a family member’s facebook). Her and brandon got back together and had a baby girl, looks like they dont have custody of her either unfortunately.

    Posted by Hailey | May 8, 2018, 5:42 pm
  14. Am I the only one who is really curious about her boyfriend, Brandon? I was very surprised when he started crying and asking to go to treatment as well and it was good to see how excited he was for sobriety. I wanted to see more about his recovery journey and how he’s doing now!

    Posted by Meg | May 8, 2018, 11:27 pm
    • I agree. He couldn’t have been that terrible. He was caught up in the cycle, but beneath it he really cared for Jonel, and himself. He saw the chance, and luckily he took it.

      This was a great episode. Best of luck to all involved.

      Posted by Jordy | June 4, 2018, 7:09 pm
  15. https://missoulian.com/messages-from-women-who-used-drugs-during-pregnancy/article_452b51be-e463-5a8a-927d-88e44cb48561.html

    Based on the comments made on FB by her mother, not only is Jonel battling her addiction but so is her brother and his wife.

    So sad.

    Posted by Kitty Katt | June 28, 2018, 7:22 pm
  16. I felt so saddened for her hearing of how she lost what was probably the love of her life, and then bringing their child into this world just days after his passing. I couldn’t imagine being in that circumstance. We are all human and all have different coping mechanisms, I can see why she went to self medicating, though I feel that taking care of the child we shared and preserving her fathers memory the best I could would be a better route. To each their own, and I hope her and her children are doing well and are healthy.

    Posted by Toreigh | September 7, 2018, 11:27 am
  17. i took suboxone for many years and i thought if you shot suboxone, the naloxone would block the opiate effect? i just looked it up again to be sure and what i’m reading is confirming that. i’m confused.

    Posted by Brooke | July 5, 2019, 8:44 pm
  18. Another thread about hating Donna. Feels like judgement based on maybe people who haven’t had to deal with addicts and I don’t see anyone being hard on Jeff or Ken because they take the same approach Donna does. I’m sure the show tries to match the interventionist with subjects they feel they can get through to. Some need a more aggressive “cut the bullshit” approach and Donna gives us that. I don’t see a lot of people here giving Donna credit she deserves in case you guys didn’t notice, she’s called in it seems when the subjects are either completely unmanageable within their families or specializes in her recovery (meth) and the she is the one I’ve seen do the most dual interventions. She is amazing. Also being a child of a heroin addict I know sometimes you have to be Confrontational sometimes to get your point across.

    Also wanted to add that I was interested in Jonel’s story also because she lived on a reservation, I had never heard of names of reservations before this episode (ignorant I know) but once I did I found Pine Ridge reservation that also has a high rate of poverty and addiction. I constantly donate things or buy via amazon to send to the reservation to help. There is an organization called friendsofpineridge and they are in desperate need of things they live 80 miles from the closest big grocery store it’s just terrible conditions I don’t understand how it isn’t a big deal to anyone including DHS. I’m not sure what the laws are but I believe they do need some funding to help the overall issue.

    Posted by Luna | January 27, 2020, 10:47 am
  19. https://www.facebook.com/jonel.goings.77

    I found her Fb page, she has a few but this one is has the most recent posts. Can’t tell if she’s using or sober but she looks happy and hopefully she’s doing well.

    Posted by Stuey | April 10, 2020, 12:03 pm
    • She looks good but like you said, I can’t tell if she’s sober or not. I hope she is. It broke my heart when her little girl was crying so hard begging her mother to stay the night and was barely able to catch her breath.

      I like Jonel and can see how easy it was for her to fall under the spell of addiction. Considering what her situation was and the environment around her, I would be surprised how she didn’t turn to drugs to cope. Hopefully, she is clean and sober and enjoying her family. She deserves it.

      Posted by Kitty Katt | April 20, 2020, 7:27 pm

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