(WKBN) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 500,000 people have died of an opioid overdose since 1999.
Each year, the drug claims an additional 50,000 lives, but hope and recovery is possible. One Mineral Ridge native found his voice and a light at the end of the tunnel.
Stephen Seifert is a musician and goes by the stage name Flamingo Pink. He’s struggled with opioid addiction for close to nine years and has been clean for a decade come October.
His journey of healing has taken him across the United States to follow his life’s dream.
“That kind of ravaged our schools, got addicted to OxyContin around that age,” Seifert said.
Seifert started abusing opioids around the age of 15.
“It was the prescription drug epidemic, and we saw OxyContin was all over the streets and it’s horrible. And now I see 15, 16-year-olds, and I can’t believe they were giving kids like us drugs like that,” Seifert said.
He left his hometown of Mineral Ridge for a career with the Navy in San Diego.
“Did everything to try to fix myself or find a path that got me away from that, but it followed me wherever I went. Once I got out to California I got involved with heroin,” Seifert said.
During his struggle with addiction, he eventually moved back home to Ohio.
“I was kind of feeling around in the dark, trying to find my way… That sense of purpose was missing and caused me to gravitate toward that lifestyle,” Seifert said.
That’s when he found music and is now an independent artist living in sunny California.
“Once I got sober and started developing that sense of esteem, I started developing some faith that maybe this could be a possibility and went after it,” Seifert said.
He has released two EPs and he’s working on a full-length album.
“I am putting my heart and soul into this next project. I really feel like if things are going to take off, this will be it,” Seifert said.
His music is available under the name “Flamingo Pink” on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.