In a heartwarming highlight of night two of the Republican National Convention, an Albuquerque police officer discussed the opioid crisis and the moving circumstances that led him to ultimately adopt a homeless heroin addict’s baby while helping her get sober.
Ryan Holets described responding to a call in 2017 about drug use, when he saw a couple preparing to use heroin. Upon noticing that the woman, named Crystal, was visibly pregnant, he asked her if she was aware of the harm she was doing to her baby through her drug use, causing her to begin weeping.
He told the RNC, “Two worlds collided as I knelt down beside her: a police officer and a homeless drug addict, brought together by forces outside our control. As we talked, our humanity, distinct from our stations in life, was made abundantly clear.”
Holets described his reaction to Crystal expressing the love she felt for her unborn baby, stating “In that moment, I saw her the way all of you who know and love an addict see them. As fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, cousins, and friends. As human beings, full of value and dignity, but robbed of their potential from this disease.”
When Crystal confided in Holets her desire to find a family to adopt her unborn child, he suddenly knew he was meant to welcome the baby into his family. He and his wife adopted Crystal’s baby, who they aptly named Hope. He also helped Crystal and her partner, Tom, get clean and sober. Holets shared that his daughter is healthy and happy, and Crystal is approaching three years of sobriety.
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The heartwarming story reached national attention in 2017, when body cam footage caught the pair’s life-changing conversation. President Trump invited Holets, his wife Rebecca, and baby Hope as special guests to the 2018 State of the Union, where he told the couple, “You embody the goodness of our nation.”
Holets used his message at the RNC to bring attention to President Trump’s work to combat the opioid crisis. He said, “President Trump declared the opioid crisis to be a public health emergency and then secured $6 billion in new federal funding to help Americans fight opioid abuse. He invested an additional $100 million to stop the opioid crisis in rural America.”
He detailed Trump’s push to reduce opioid prescribing, a key contributing cause of opioid addiction, through a plan that would lower the prescription rate by one-third over the next three years. He shared that “drug overdose deaths decreased in 2018 for the first time in 30 years,” highlighting the importance of these policies, pointing out that some of the steepest drops came from the most-affected parts of the country.