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After Daughter's Death, A Father Shares His Story To Save Others

Michael Roberts
Amber and Michael Roberts in 2014 before the Lake Washington High School prom

Hiding in plain sight can be a matter of course for people dealing with addictions; they tend to be really good at masking the need.


That was the case for Michael Roberts. He had beer for the first time when he was 15, and worked for years to keep attention away from his alcoholism. He was eventually able to get sober. His last drink was eight years ago.


And all those years Michael spent hiding made him an expert when it came to spotting his daughter Amber’s addiction.


“She was one of those people who liked to take care of everyone and sometimes forget about herself," he said. "Loyal — would drop anything for a friend. Her smile was just radiant.”


But then the red flags started. He noticed mood changes and watched as she isolated herself from friends. Unfortunately, Amber wasn’t able to stop using. She died of a heroin overdose in 2015 at the age of 19.


Now, Michael has turned his attention to others through an organization he’s called “Amber’s HOPE.” The HOPE stands for “heroin, opiate, prevention and education.”


He sat down with 88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave to talk about what he wants to teach others from the loss of his daughter and his own personal experience with addiction.


Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.