She started smoking marijuana when she was 13 or 14 years old, then she started to use pain pills in various forms. By the time she was 17, Kristian Bellamy was shooting heroin.
“Anything you could get your hands on,” she said. “Before you know, you can’t stop. It’s an illness.”
Now 20 and an inmate at the Barren County Detention Center, Bellamy was sharing her story Friday with approximately 70 students from fifth grade up at the College Street Campus, a Barren County Schools facility with a trio of programs to support students who have made mistakes that got them in hot water or have other circumstances that put them at significant risk of not succeeding at their regular school.
Bellamy spoke openly about her experiences and answered numerous questions from the group.
She urged her audience not to even try drugs if they haven’t already, because then that temptation can be stronger in the back of your mind, she said.
Bellamy started getting in trouble doing things to support her habit, and when she would get out on bond, she continued the same behaviors.
“Addiction really took over my life,” she said. “It’s pretty much took years of my life.”
She’s about six months into an 18-month sentence for a conviction on credit card fraud. Once that’s finished, she’ll be going to a six-month treatment program as part of a deal that got a drug charge dropped to a misdemeanor.
She’d be almost finished now if she’d stuck with her education after trying a year of community college, she said.
Bellamy wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.
“I can’t do that now. … There’s a lot of careers now that I can’t have because they won’t want to hire a felon,” she said.
Bellamy’s originally from Maysville, about four hours away, so her family can’t visit often. Now it’s been six months since she’s been able to hug her mother.
“When I was your all’s age, I thought I had it figured out. I didn’t think I was going to be in trouble,” she said. “I thought I knew it all. I didn’t know nothing.”
That attitude is one of the primary things she would change if she could, she said.
“I didn’t want to listen to anything,” she said, and she thought her parents and grandparents would take care of everything.
“I never really had to pay a lot of consequences,” she said. “I just wish I would have cared more about myself, and how I looked to people and the influence I was having on other people and myself. I wish I would have took school more seriously, because school is important; it’s very, very important.”
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