By Daniel Denvir
One of the times Gwendolyn Prebish tried to kill herself, she laid down on the tracks running behind her parents’ house in the Philadelphia suburbs. She survived three cars of a commuter train running over her body. She tried to take her life three times in 2016 alone.
Prebish, now 28, has struggled with mental health disorders since she was a small child. Currently held in jail and facing years in prison, she has finally regrown eyelashes after years of systematically pulling them out. Prebish has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, and PTSD—struggles that, in recent years, have been compounded and soothed by her addiction to opioids.
Today, she is facing a drug-induced homicide charge and could be sentenced to as long as 40 years in prison for providing Michael Pastorino, a fellow user in a Philadelphia suburb, with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that ultimately killed him. Her parents, David and Lisa Prebish, recently greeted me at their home in suburban Montgomery County. Surrounded by family photos, they offered me an iced tea and recounted their daughter’s story.
Thumbnail: CC Flickr Governor Tom Wolf