Trump's Special Guest at SOTU: Cop Who Adopted Heroin User's Baby

By Victoria Kim 01/30/18

Officer Ryan Holets' act of kindness earned him an invite to the president's first State of the Union, where he's expected to address the opioid crisis.

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What are the next steps to alleviating the national opioid crisis?

The Albuquerque police officer who adopted the newborn baby of a homeless couple is among Trump’s special guests at his first State of the Union on Tuesday night.

Ryan Holets was on patrol on September 23 when he came upon a couple shooting up behind a convenience store in broad daylight. When he approached, he noticed that the woman, 35-year-old Crystal Champ, was pregnant.

Holets learned that Champ and her companion, Tom Key, used crystal meth and heroin. Champ said the drugs controlled her life. At the time CNN reported the story, the couple was living in a tent next to a highway. “I did give up,” said Champ. “I just decided that this was gonna be my life. It just keeps coming back and ruining my life.”

Champ said that she was hoping someone would adopt her baby. The officer, already a father of four, offered to give the baby a home. “I’ve gotten so tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can’t,” said Holets. “And in that moment, I realized I had a chance to help and to heck with the risks.”

Hope Holets was born on October 12. The newborn suffered neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) due to her mother’s drug use.

According to CNN, Ryan Holets was invited to the State of the Union to shed light on the opioid crisis and the administration’s efforts to turn it around. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Holetses “represent the unbreakable American spirit.”

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, Trump is expected to address the opioid crisis in his speech.  

As Hope grows up, the Holetses hope that Crystal and Tom will be a part of her life. They have a better chance of doing that now; since their story surfaced, and a few hiccups, the couple has entered a treatment center in Florida, according to CNN. With the support of the Holets family, they seem to have a pretty good chance at a new life.

The experience allowed Holets to look at life differently. “It’s changed my perspective forever. I can’t drive anywhere without noticing people that are homeless,” said Holets. “I can’t help but notice people that are panhandling. Then I think about everything they’ve gone through.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr