A year ago, it’s safe to say Ashley Evans never imagined she’d be anywhere near a State of the Union address, yet that’s exactly where she’ll be Tuesday night.
The longtime Kettering, Ohio native will be an honored special guest of President Donald Trump at Tuesday’s State of The Union address. Evans had struggled with opioid and substance addiction from a young age. It began with a legal prescription she was taking for a broken ankle. When her mother suddenly passed away, she developed an addiction to opioids and other substances. For at least six years, she struggled with addiction but was able to get clean before becoming pregnant in 2017. Tragically, she suffered a significant relapse and, subsequently, was in a car accident while still pregnant.
Thankfully her little girl survived both the accident and relapse. She was born without complication and named Olivia. As a result of the drug use during the pregnancy, Olivia suffers from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The severity of this condition is entirely dependent on the type, amount, and length of drug use, but it appears that she is in good health.
Over the past year, Olivia has been cared for by Brigid’s Path, a nonprofit organization that “provides inpatient medical care for drug-exposed newborns and non-judgmental support and advocacy to improve family outcomes.” During this time, Ashley has been receiving treatment for drug abuse with the intention of reuniting with her child when she is well enough to do so.
In March, a White House official made a visit to the organization and met Olivia and heard the story of Ashley Evans’ journey. The public officially learned of Evans’ invitation on Monday, February 4. According to the official White House statement: “On February 9, 2019, Ashley will celebrate 1 year and 1 month in recovery and on February 15, 2019, she will be reunited with her daughter full-time.”
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.