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Woman dies from heroin overdose

Local family speaks out to stress proactive prevention

Posted: October 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Carlie Coulter, above, died at 22 from an apparent drug overdose. Her family recently spoke about drug addiction.

In front of strangers, sympathizers and television cameras, Carlie Coulter’s family was not afraid to let the tears fall on Thursday.

Coulter, who died Wednesday at age 22 of an apparent heroin overdose, was remembered as lively, beautiful — and a stark reminder of the dangers of drug use and addiction.

During a news conference held at the Action Family Counseling headquarters in Saugus, members of her family recounted her ongoing struggles with heroin use and said they wanted her death to be a wake-up call to children, parents and the community at large.

“She’s my little sister,” said Chuck Coulter, Carlie’s brother, “and I did everything I could to keep her safe. But parents need to start getting involved in their children’s lives because, once they’re gone, you won’t get another chance.”

Sonja Coulter called the death of her daughter “heartbreaking” and said she felt as if she had lost her best friend. She also spoke against what she described as a widespread subculture of drugs in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Drugs are everywhere,” said Cary Quashen, the founder of Action Family Counseling. “We are not going to ever get away from drugs.”

Kathy Hunter, coordinator of student services at the William S. Hart Unified School District, said she believes the percentage of children using drugs in the Santa Clarita Valley is relatively small, but it’s still too high.

“If Carlie was the only (overdose) we’d ever heard of, we’d still be making a stand to make sure there is not another Carlie,” Hunter said.



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