My Brothers Struggle with Heroin

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First let me explain who my brother was. His name is Nicklas Pantaleo but all his true friends and family knew him as Peanut.

Now all his addict friends would call him Nick. I would say Nick is the drug addict and Peanut is my brother. They were 2 totally different people. Peanut started to use at age 16 he started with ecstasy then he moved to Heroin. He used Heroin for 17 years. He passed away at age 34 so half his life he struggled with the heroin demon.

This addiction made him do so many hurtful things to our family. He stole so much from our mother that she sometimes was so sleep deprived that she didn’t remember things she had done because she was so worried about falling asleep because she was afraid he would sneak in her room and steal from her.

I believe that he wanted to quit doing heroin but he wasn’t strong enough to do it. He was clean in those 17 years for only 18 months. He had gone into Gateway and then from there a halfway house in Farmington called Another Way.  He did great there and I finally had Peanut back.

Then he met some people there and started using again and he came back to Beaver County and that was the end of that. He was in and out of jail in 3 counties many times always Beaver, Allegheny, and Butler. Before he passed away he had just served 6 months and was released on June 20th and died on June 25th.

My mom is the one who found him. She will never get rid of that image. She found her baby boy dead of a Heroin overdose with the needle still clutched in his hand.

I was super hard on my brother because I knew he had potential. He just needed to find the strength. But he couldn’t stay away from those people that always got him into shit. I never understood and now I will never find out why he couldn’t tell these people to just leave him alone.

Now me and my brother were total opposites I am a very strong minded person and I am a leader he is not. He has always wanted to be accepted and would always follow what his friends were doing. I started to enjoy seeing him go to jail because that’s when I would see Peanut again. He was clean and sober and he was my brother. Three days before he died I asked him the most important question in my life. I asked him to walk me down the aisle in December. He was so happy and accepted. But in the next breath I said to him. I need you to stay away from that shit and these people I need my brother on the most important day of my life. He said Sissy I promise. Then 3 days later I got the call from my mom that she found him dead of an overdose. My heart literally broke in two.

Now he was my only sibling so I had to stay strong for my mom. So a little about Peanut before drugs he was always making people laugh. He was all about fashion and what was the look oh he was also gay.  He always wanted to do hair he loved doing me and my mother’s hair all the time. When he would get out of jail he would say I’m going to go and get my GED so I can go to the Beauty Academy. That never happened. I loved my brother so much I was just super hard on him because my mom wasn’t I never understood why she couldn’t do the tough love like I did. But I guess it would be hard for a parent to do it.

The original people who he had started doing heroin with are all clean and sober now a lot of them for years now. I would look at them and ask him why can’t you stop like them? He could never answer the question all he would say is that when he was high he was out of pain. He would try to quit and go on methadone and then he would smoke crack to get high while on the methadone. I will never understand.

The thing that kills me most is when Peanut was young before heroin he would say to me after I got another tattoo how could you mutilate your body like that with all those tattoos.  Years later I said to him remember when you would ask me that and now look at your arms and legs and all the track marks.  When he would be sober for a few days he would say he wanted to get all the scars from the track marks covered with tattoos so he didn’t see them. Needless to say he when he died he didn’t have one tattoo. He never got to cover them. Me and my mom have been praying the rosary for him since he passed so that he can make it into heaven.

I will continue to tell my brothers story as he will live on through me.

Thank You

Tiffany Pantaleo