To some, there's only one way to deal with a drug addict repeatedly getting in trouble: prison.
But for Claudia Marini, it's that kind of approach that took the the life of her once straight-A 22-year-old daughter, Madison.
“I said, ‘If you don’t do this today, we won’t be back on [Jan. 3], because she’ll be dead," Claudia recalls saying to a North Carolina judge as she begged him to send her daughter not to jail, but rehab.
Claudia was right. Days later, Madison was found dead of an apparent overdose.
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“She was alone,” Claudia said, reports WGHP. “She had died alone, in the bathroom in a Taco Bell.”
Only a few hours earlier, Madison had told her mother she loved her -- and expressed remorse.
Now all Claudia has left are memories.
“It’s devastating that, as a mom, that what I hang on to every day of my 22-year-old daughter is a piece of her hair,” added a sobbing Claudia, holding a bag containing her child's hair.
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Claudia describes Madison as a young, vibrant lady full of life with a promising future.
“Even though she was 22, every time she opened a gift it was like she was 5,” Claudia said, recalling the last Christmas she spent with her daughter.
Claudia now hopes that her personal tragedy can serve to educate the public and prevent similar deaths.
What may be most needed to save lives in the future is one gift Madison reportedly had in spades.
“She had so much compassion deep in her," recalls Claudia. "She loved to read and sing, and she was brilliant."
Claudia believes that the justice system does not appropriately deal with drug addicts, arguing that they need improved correctional facilities and rehabilitation -- not jail time.
“She wasn’t a criminal," Claudia said. "They’re not criminals, they’re sick, it’s an illness, they’re sick."
However, while many agree reform is needed, some think jail is the compassionate way to help addicts.
"The threat of jail keeps people in recovery," argues addiction psychiatrist Ed Gogek in Newsweek.
Other experts disagree.
"[Addicts] waste time and come out of prison without the necessary skills to be sober," writes Promises Austin, one of the nation's leading addiction treatment centers. "The inability of judges to exercise leniency, or to sentence minor offenders to treatment instead of time in prison, has led to unprecedented numbers of addicts in prison, most of whom committed nonviolent crimes."