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Season 23, Episode 4

Ashley
Age: 20
Location: Sunland-Tujunga, California
Addiction:  Meth, Heroin

Official Synopsis:  Ashley was a straight-A student with dreams of attending university; her hopes were dashed when her stepfather introduced her to meth and heroin as a teenager.

What’s Memorable:  [GUEST POST BY STEFAN} As an avid horror fan, watching Ashley being shot up in the neck by her boyfriend is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen on screen in a long time. As we saw last week with Jesse, the poor girl was pretty much destined to be a drug addict, between having parents actively using during her childhood, to being sexually abused by her stepdad who literally handed her meth and told her to snort it. The intervention itself was chaotic, but since there were no bottom lines, it was going to be difficult to get her to go to treatment. Also, if one line from this episode will stay with me, it’s “I’ve died four times from that vein”.

Interventionist: Donna

Date Aired: November 8, 2021

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  1. Dizzy

    Has there ever been a bigger piece of shit on this show than Ashley’s stepfather? Oh my god.

    1. Dahlia

      I dont know about the biggest, especially considering we have Ginas mother, Megan Hs parents and he who shall not be named to compare him to. But yes, he did do a lot of real unforgiveable shit to her. All of its just so disgusting.

      1. Stefan

        I would add Sean’s entire family to the list and also Brooke’s sister.

    2. ingris

      Jeanna’s ex-husband has to be biggest piece of shit (got drunk and torture-murdered her son), but Ashley’s stepfather’s got a strong case for 2nd place.

      1. Dizzy

        Ok yeah, forgot about him.

        Also Abbie’s ex boyfriend who beat her up a lot and then got busted for child porn is a strong contender.

        Yeah so maybe let’s just have a Top 5 Pieces of Shit so we don’t have to decide what horrific thing is technically worse than another horrific thing. Perhaps I should do a poll.

  2. Ann

    Unfortunately, I didn’t have much hope that Ashley would get and remain clean during her episode. It just doesn’t seem like she’s at her bottom yet, and that’s terrifying given how much trauma she has and how many times she’s overdosed already. She was still able to find enjoyment in getting high. I hope her disgusting monster of a stepfather didn’t damage her beyond repair and that she can find enough self worth to turn her life around. You don’t have to live like this, Ashley! Your life can be beautiful! And living a happy and healthy life is the ultimate “fuck you” to the man who hurt you so badly.

  3. Janelle

    Who here finds it odd that Ashley was taken to the airport when the treatment centre was only about 40-50 miles from where she lives? Corona Del Mar is only about an hour’s drive from Sunland, barring traffic, and last time I checked there were no flights between LAX (the airport shown in the episode) and John Wayne Orange County (the closest airport to Corona Del Mar). The drama of her refusing to board the plane could have been eliminated if Inger-Lisa had just driven her straight to treatment.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I think the airport scene was staged for dramatic effect.

  4. April

    This was sad. Her dad looked so bad. In comparison to the mom. Drugs really took a toll on him. When she used the 20 gauge to inject I was shocked. I really hope she finds her worth someday and can be clean.

    1. Ann

      Her dad did mention that he has 3 brain tumors. I was unclear if that was what was affecting him or if it was the years of drug abuse. Or both?

      1. April S.

        Her Dad’s past drug use certainly could have affected his current appearance but honestly I think it’s the brain tumors (possible brain surgery) that took the most toll. His speech impediment seems to be from the tumors/nerve stem. Side note, I really felt bad for her biological Dad; you could just see the pain and regret in his eyes.

      2. April

        Thanks for pointing out the brain tumor issue. I didn’t catch it.

    2. Cathy

      I think the dad said he also developed 3 brain tumors

  5. Sam

    This lifestyle is all that this girl has known since she was a teenager. This is a little harsh, but I don’t see this ending well for her. If not an overdose, the extensive damage to her veins and related illnesses could pose serious harm.

    1. koj

      Totally agree with you. She was exposed at such a young age and really got deep during some important developmental years. It’s such a shame and her stepfather deserves only the worst for ruining her already fragile life. Poor thing.

  6. Nina

    Just by hearing how spastic her speech was and how she was constantly nervously talking, anxious and changing emotions, there is no way Ashley doesn’t have some sort of mental disorder, Generalized anxiety at least.

    1. A.

      Wouldn’t be a surprise since she was abused and had so much trauma, I can’t imagine anyone living with all that being mentally healthy. I mean her addiction is already a disorder and it impacts her mind even more. And let’s not forget she is still very young.

    2. Sudie

      Chronic PTSD and anxiety? Yikes…

  7. Gigi

    Ashley’s friend who organized the intervention is a truly remarkable person. She hadn’t seen Ashley in 3-4 years and I got the sense they weren’t THAT close but she was REALLY paying attention and coordinating the intervention had to take A LOT of initiative and determination. I see a very bright future for her helping people in some capacity 🙏

  8. Gigi

    Also I couldn’t figure out why Ashley was even at the airport when the rehab is about 60 miles from where she lives?

    1. Elizabeth

      I know they want to send the addict to the best possible rehab center to meet their needs, but I’m always nervous when they put them on a plane. That just seems like it’s asking for trouble, particularly with some of the more unpredictable and volatile addicts. I remember at least one who was kicked off of at least one flight, if not more than one flight. I would not ever want to do Inger’s job.

      1. Pang

        It seems to me they try to get the person on a plane to get them in a rehab far enough from their home to make it harder to be “rescued” by enabling family or addict friends.

  9. Mr B

    I wish Tamika.would have been at the intervention, if nothing else, to keep her from being the getaway car

    1. Neil

      Tamika was a real piece of work. Ashley said she had a family back in Illinois. She has a fancy meth smoking bong with a decorative chain accessory lovingly wrapped around the glass tubed contraption. She drove a bright yellow Ferrari (her and Ashley drove to Ashley’s mom’s birthday dinner in it). She called herself “the best enabler ever.” She’s one of those hard core users somehow keeping things together, yet definitely still looks like a hard core user.

  10. Mr B

    Also, Ashley’s mom is super cute. Recovery can be great!

  11. sam

    my tv recording cut off, what happened after she detoxed? did she relapse?

    1. Elizabeth

      I believe she did and she is currently using?

      1. Stefan

        She went back to her boyfriend but claims to be clean.

  12. Matthew

    My heart certainly goes out to Ashley and the other addicts/families on this season… but am I the only one who’s disappointed by the repetitiveness of the seasons that are structured around one drug and one location? The subjects who are featured are also all more or less the same age, and as different as they are as human beings, there’s already something that’s starting to kind of blend together to me in a not-so-compelling way about this. I guess I’m also a little innately suspicious when the focus of the show is on the supposedly newly terrifying phenomenon of the new “monster drug” du jour… I mean, I know fentanyl is a dangerous substance and continues to be on the rise in certain parts of the country because of its potency, cheapness, and Mexico-border proximity. But at the same time, the heart of the show (at least in IMO) is really the universality and commonality of the *human* experience of addiction, no matter to what substance or behavior– rather than on the drug-war-hysteria style (hysterical?) message that the country is “under siege” from a new menace we’ve supposedly never seen the likes of before. (Lions and tigers and synthetic opioids, oh my!) For the most part I really do love this show, but I guess I’m just a bit disappointed as a fan of the much greater diversity of the old school seasons, where it felt like people themselves, and their huge variety of forms of addictive suffering were more the emphasis than the substances themselves.

    1. April S.

      I kind of have to agree with you. I liked The Heroin Triangle/Hub seasons because of the way they were structured and filmed, with a team of experts working together, but this Fentanyl season just seems like a normal season focused on one drug. I’m also not liking the whole “They are mainly addicted to other drugs that are LACED with Fentanyl and are afraid of it.” If you want to showcase the dangers of this “monster drug,” then let’s see some addicts who are using full-blown Fentanyl and aren’t tip-toeing around being careful. Sounds morbid but so far each addict is using a different primary drug and doesn’t want to be using Fentanyl and it’s frustrating to see the same story each episode. And I’m tired of seeing California. Lol

      1. Ruth

        I agree. In Ashley’s case it felt like they were shoehorning her in since fentanyl wasn’t even her drug of choice.

    2. Jeanbak

      Yeah,although I’ve enjoyed all the episodes I find myself wishing they were spread out over a season or two. And I certainly can’t say they have been boring episodes but I still somehow find myself getting a little bored. Luckily I watch some episodes on Vice on Tuesdays when they do the marathons so it’s a little broken up for me.I also just started to go back to the beginning and watch episodes I have never caught(of which there are many,many more of than I thought) but I think it’s the sameness of this season that made me decide to do that. I am hoping that this focus saves a lot of lives though,I’m sure that’s why the demographic has been a little similar too,those are the people doing it or in danger of doing it and it’s just killing so many so quickly. My mind was blown when I 1st heard that people use Fentanyl for recreation on purpose and then to see on this season not only do they,they are somehow doing it in massive amounts(the pattern I’ve noticed for the multiple grams a day habits is-all former heroin addicts,they all smoke it not shoot it and they all also use a comparable amount of meth to counteract some of the effects as well.This must be some kind of magic combo that makes you have a GIANT tolerance,I had no clue and still don’t understand how it’s even possible really to not be dead from it? I noticed that they all seem to be really great people so far too.
      I can tell you even though I know better and I’ve watched so many episodes of Intervention if my daughter was using Fentanyl like this and was like Jessie and wanting someone to be there just in case of an OD I’d probably be sitting there in that hotel every damn night, wouldn’t give money but I don’t think I’d have the strength to not do that,I’d probably end up like that mother who chose to be homeless with her son to watch out for him and that seemed just crazy while watching it.

    3. LC

      Right! I wondered why the show has focused so heavily on opiate addiction in the last few years. What happened to stories about addiction to self injury, video games, shopping, plastic surgery, gambling? Or eating disorders? Some of the most memorable episodes were about problems most people didn’t know about, like John C. (non-adherence to diabetes treatment), or Nicole (dysphagia and relying on a feeding tube). They may not have the same “life or death” shock as opiates, but c’mon, is that really all that gets ratings nowadays? The variety is why the first few seasons of Intervention were the best, IMO.

    4. Tori

      I thought I was the only one who felt this way! I think this was a good episode, but I do miss the rawness of the early seasons. Intervention was best when they had the addicts spell their name at the beginning of the episode lol

  13. Renee Sadie

    Geez. Even as someone who has used IV before I almost squirmed out of my seat watching her shoot up with that 20g. I kept thinking about how many categories this episode applies to. Definitely one of the most disturbing and most tragic. Because there were no bottom lines to draw this was a really hard intervention and unfortunately I knew it wasn’t going to stick. I also thought about Donna’s experience with Courtney years and years ago. She gets a lot of the younger ones and sometimes they’re still just too young to listen :/

  14. Restless soul

    Totally off topic but Ashley’s father sounds exactly like Robert from the episode with Daniel and Robert. They have the exact same voice!

    1. Stefan

      I thought so too! They even look alike a bit.

  15. Tisha

    I dont understand how Ashley’s mom seems so calm through all of this! And so calmly shares with the interventionist that her daughter overdosed 9x the year before!? Breaks me

  16. LK

    Her mom talks about how Ashley “cut her off” when Ashley was a teenager to go live with the stepdad after they divorced, but if Ashley was a minor at the time, couldn’t her mom have gotten the police involved? I would think a minor teenage girl living with somebody who was for all intents and purposes a random grown man would’ve raised suspicions and legal issues. Especially if her mom had legal custody of her at the time. Why didn’t she contact the authorities about this as soon as Ashley left? Did she just give up on her own daughter? I found this very confusing and extremely upsetting.

    1. Lily

      I thought the same thing. Her mom seemed genuinely like a good person, so I want to believe that maybe it was just so volatile between the two of them, that at the time, her mom may have thought her living with the stepdad was better than her living on the streets. And she said Ashley wouldn’t have anything to do with her for two years after she went to live with her stepdad AND THEN told her about the sexual abuse only after they got back in touch. Like yes, the introduction to drugs from that POS was horrible, but I wonder if her mom just saw Ashley living in his house as a better option of horrible options? Like she could be put in foster care, sure, but many kids who are put in foster care run away anyway. Although why wouldn’t she have gone to live with the great aunt and uncle that took her in before? Idk lots of unanswered questions.

      That being said, I find myself 100% of the time skeptical of a relationship between a child, particularly a girl, and a grown man who is not the father or grandfather or something like that (which yes, biological fathers/grandfathers can and do abuse their kids too), so if I were her mom, I would have immediately assumed that was going on. In fact, I sat there literally waiting for it to be stated that he was sexually abusing her also, because I just thought there was no way the drugs and partying going on while she’s living alone with him in his house was the ONLY thing going on between them. You’d think her mom would have assumed that as well, but people are naive or like to remain naive even where there are signs because it’s just too hard to deal with, especially since she was also an addict? But it’s totally messed up if she had even an inkling of the sexual abuse and still didn’t get her out of there. Who knows. Sometimes Intervention cuts out what I would consider to be crucial background information/explanations.