Texas woman credits program for her sobriety after fentanyl overdose

In April 2023, a Hays County woman survived a fentanyl overdose. She was in the throes of an addiction that nearly killed her. Today, she credits a program called Neighborhood Defender Service for her sobriety.

Meaghan Callahan said April 26, 2023, is the day that changed her life forever.

"I don’t remember anything except for waking up to the first responders around me and I really had no idea what had happened," Callahan said.

Callahan had overdosed on fentanyl. EMS administered four doses of Narcan and saved her life.

"When I came to, and I really just got my senses about me, in that jail cell, I was grateful to even be in a jail cell, it gave me a new lease on life," Callahan said.

Callahan was in jail and charged with multiple felonies for possession. Police said marijuana was in plain view, and they also found several other types of drugs. Two kids, both under the age of five, were just feet away and were being taken care of by a roommate.

"Children do not deserve to be wrapped up in that world," Callahan said.

Callahan said she had relapsed. She is a recovering alcoholic and blamed herself, at the time, for trying to get sober alone.

"Even though it was self-medicating, I was trying to treat my alcoholism with the studies that have been done by microdosing ketamine and mushrooms and I felt like that would help me as well as the CBD and cannabis that was found, I thought that that would help me with my postpartum depression to be honest," Callahan said.


It almost cost her her life.

"You can’t really fix yourself; you’ve got to go outside yourself to the community and the professionals to get help," Callahan said.

Callahan was given that opportunity. She was represented by an attorney with the Neighborhood Defender Service, specifically for Hays County.

"We try to help the client instead of just trying to help the case," Neighborhood Defender Service Texas Meenu Walters said.

NDS staff have been handling about 25 percent of all Hays County cases since 2023. Walters said they use a holistic, team-based model of defense, which includes not only lawyers, but social workers, client advocates, and investigators.

"Something that we can try to work on is building out and identifying community-based options for people so that if we can get in and get people the help that they need outside the system, maybe the system is not what they rely on for help," Walters said.

"I had a whole team around me to really help me just get better," Callahan said.

A judge gave her a second chance. All of Callahan’s charges were dropped. She’s now in recovery and wants to help others.

"I want to give hope to the people out there that are in active addiction or love people that know there is a solution and there’s a huge team of us waiting to help," Callahan said.

She encourages people to ask for help because she said a wonderful life is on the other side.