By the time he was 11 years old, Kenneth Bearden had already overdosed seven times.
Growing up, the Louisville native said he got involved with the wrong group of friends, started experimenting with illegal substances, and addiction took hold quickly.
Throughout his 13 years in the throes of addiction, he says he overdosed more than 30 times. The final straw came when he woke up from a suicide attempt involving a gram of heroin and 10 Xanax pills. When he woke up, his father was holding Bearden’s then-two-year-old son and asked, “how could you do this to him?”
Now, six years in recovery, Bearden is working with Addiction Recovery Care as Louisville Community Liaison, using his story to help others struggling with substance use disorder. He even recently spoke with President Donald Trump about his journey in a roundtable discussion on the issue of addiction and recovery.
In a sit-down interview with The Bottom Line, Bearden discusses where it all began, his experience being institutionalized, what it was like to be in treatment as he worked to get back to his son, the barriers he faced entering the workforce, and the gaps that still must be filled to make progress on this issue and save lives.
Watch the full discussion between Kenneth Bearden and The Bottom Line Managing Editor Jacqueline Pitts below: