James Davis remembers his sister as a girl full of laughter growing up.
"I mean we just had fun together wherever we went," he said.
But as Melissa Doremus got older, she developed a habit.
Davis says it started with prescription opioids as a teenager and got worse over time.
"Marijuana and other drugs...and then it got to the point where she was using heroin," said James.
He always worried about what might happen.
"When you live that lifestyle it's not, you know, if I'm going to get a phone call saying that you were robbed, you were beat up, you were raped, you were killed or you died of an overdose. It's just when that phone call's coming in," he said.
Over the holidays, James got an encouraging text message. It read, "sorry I can't get you anything this year for Christmas, but me getting sober is probably all you would want anyways."
But in January he got the call. Melissa died from a heroin overdose.
"I just started crying," said an emotional James.
And like any big brother, now he's looking back with regret, wondering how he could've protected his sister.
"I don't know what I could've done different you know?" said James.
It's too late for Melissa now, but James hopes others might learn from her experience.
"Definitely try to get into rehab and find some help, get somebody to help," he said.
But if she was here, he knows what he'd say.
"I'd just hold her and tell her how much I love her," said James.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can call the national addiction helpline toll free at 1-800-662-4357.
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