100 Painful Stories of Drug Overdose and Substance Abuse to Learn From

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Substance abuse and drug overdose have become too real for millions of people who either see it in their loved one or go through such an ordeal themselves. It’s an issue that is not only affecting work productivity and relationships, but also causing serious health complications and even death. That is why we all need to talk about these things and learn from people who are struggling.

Alarming Statistics on Drug Overdose and Substance Abuse

The profile of drug use 15 years ago is too mild compared to the gravity of the numbers today. This section describes some disturbing facts and figures on drug abuse and overdose.

CDC Report on Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S.

Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse), drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have ballooned from less than 5,000 in 2000 to the following numbers in 2016:

  • Methamphetamine: 7,663
  • Cocaine: 10,619
  • Natural and semi-synthetic opioids: 14,427
  • Heroin: 15,446
  • Synthetic opioids (except methadone): 20,145

Report from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

On its World Drug Report in 2017, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) mentioned the following statistics:

  • Around 12 million people inject drugs.
  • At least 190,000 deaths are related to drug use, most of which are linked to opioid overdose.
  • Close to 500 new psychoactive substances were released on the market in 2015.

NIDA Report on Substance Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsors the annual Monitoring The Future Survey, conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The said survey asks students in Grades 8, 10, and 12 if they have used drugs and illicit substances at least once in their life.

Results for 2017 revealed the following results:

  • 61.5% of 12th graders admitted to have taken alcohol at least once.
  • Prevalence of cocaine use in 12th graders is at 4.2%.
  • Marijuana use is confirmed in 37.1% of Grade 12 students and in 25.5% of Grade 10 students
  • 16.5% of Grade 12 students admitted to have used prescription drugs.
  • Prevalence of amphetamine use is 9.2% in 12th graders and 8.2% in 10th

In addition, substance abuse is already costing the U.S. more than $740 billion (in the form of health care, crime-related expenditure, and low productivity at work).

These figures should be cause for alarm, because some of these numbers aren’t going down. The reality is that many people – including teenagers – are going through substance abuse. If this issue isn’t addressed immediately, it may progress to drug overdose and increase the risk of life-threatening health conditions.

With the growing epidemic on substance abuse, it’s important to talk about these things on the real-world perspective. Aside from the facts and figures presented above, the following stories and addiction recovery quotes from real people should help us learn more about the seriousness of substance abuse.

100 Stories on Drug Overdose and Substance Abuse

Heroin Overdose

1. My Daughter Died From an Overdose. I’m Sharing Her Story to Help Others

This is about the story that a father shared regarding the struggles that his daughter had to go through. Cassey was a heroin addict and died just a few days after she was rushed to the hospital.

Casey’s obituary went viral and has made other people step forward to share the painful ordeal that their respective families had to go through. And through this, it is with hope that people who might be undergoing the same struggles in life may be enlightened to seek help.

2. Video of dad telling son his mother died of heroin overdose goes viral

A father painfully tells his son about his mother’s death due to heroin use. It was difficult enough to accept that a loved one is gone. But to let a little boy know that he has lost his mother is an unbearable feeling.

The video hopes to help addicts with children to seek help before it’s too late. An addict may find relief with whatever burden they may be carrying for some time, but the pain that they would leave their children will remain in their hearts.

3. Mother shares story of son who died from overdose after starting to use drugs in junior high

A mother speaks out about the horrors of drug addiction that took her son’s life. It started with a prescription drug that her son needed when he succumbed to a back injury. But after months of using Oxycontin, addiction to the drug kicked in, and Harris started shifting to a much cheaper drug, heroin.

Harris’ parents discovered his journals that he wrote when he was still in rehab, and they were shocked to know that he started using drugs when he was 12 years old.

4. A mother tells son's story of heroin overdose to save others

Marijuana has become the “starter drug” for most drug addicts. What they think would be fun turned to be catastrophic. In this story, a mother shares how her son died due to heroin addiction. He has confessed to wanting to stop, but never knew how until it ended his life.

5. ”I’m proud of her. She fought”: Mom speaks out after former Kickapoo cheerleader overdoses

Oziah Gideon found her daughter dead inside her room just three days after going out of rehab. It is her hope to share her daughter’s story to other people struggling with heroin addiction as well as other parents who are in the same predicament.

Sometimes, even if we think that we have given all the help that we can give, it may be too late to save a life. The addiction started from taking a prescription drug for a back injury, which later on turned into use of illegal substances. While it provided her daughter the same relief, it eventually caused her death.

6. After Her Daughter Died From A Drug Overdose, This Mom Wrote A Heartbreakingly Honest Obituary

Heroin addiction has been referred to as a disease in the society. The death of Kelsey has pushed her mother to let everyone know how much her daughter has struggled for so many years with her heroin addiction.

Going in and out of the rehab and making sure that she remains sober may have been a very difficult time for Kelsey. And because of her death, her mother would like to address to other parents how important it is to know about the lives of their own children. That way, they may be aware of the things that their kids are going through. The hope is that they can help and give enlightenment in order to avoid having to resort to drug use.

7. Guilford Mom Gets President’s Attention With Story of Son’s Overdose

A mother recalls how she started out as a high school standout hockey player, and later on become addicted to opioids. There was no stopping this mother from letting people know how heroin addiction is now considered as an epidemic.

She shared her story through national television so that she could get the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump. She was lucky indeed that Trump’s tweet was retweeted several thousand more to help spread heroin addiction awareness.

8. My mother overdosed on my birthday 3 weeks ago

You expect to be receiving a lot of calls during your birthday, but this one call that Christina received was not the one that she expected. She was informed that her mother overdosed and has died.

She knew at her young age that there was something odd about her mother’s behavior. Only when she was in freshman high school did her father finally tell her that her mother was a heroin addict and that same night, she was taken to a rehab. Her mother was struggling with the addiction for 30 years.

9. Tell my story’ victim of heroin told mom just before overdosing

Casey, a heroin addict, died after struggling with her addiction. Her parents knew what she was going through and they were all out in helping their daughter. It was Casey’s desire to let her story be shared so that everyone would know what a person with addiction is going through and how they could be helped and how addiction could be prevented.

People should be aware that addiction is not something that just happens. Being able to address the problem could certainly prevent a person from getting hooked on drugs.

10. After their children died of overdoses, these families chose to tell the truth

Families no longer see the reason to hide the truth from others. The truth that they share can help enlighten others to understand how drug addiction happens. Drug addiction is a disease that everyone should be aware of.

More than dealing with the addiction itself, people should realize that there are real stories behind the addiction that should be properly addressed. Otherwise, it will only lead to fatal results.

11. Three Moms Share Stories of Losing A Child To Heroin

Heartbroken moms share their stories about their children’s battles against heroin addiction. The death of their children made them come together and realize each and every one’s struggles during the fight against the addiction and after the death. It will never be easy to accept, but they all needed each other to brave this storm.

12. A father’s story: How a ‘really good kid’ died of a heroin overdose

The cause of addiction is not very well understood. Therefore, parents should always be on the lookout for any changes in the behavior of their children, particularly when certain events happen in their lives that they may not approve of. In the case of Jessica, the divorce of her parents had a negative impact in her life, in which she found her solace with alcohol and drugs.

13. Stories from a record-breaking year of loss.

Heroin addiction has become an epidemic. Case in point: the drug overdose death in Philadelphia has reached 953 in the first nine months of 2017.

This article features horrific stories from family members who are facing the loss of their loved ones due to heroin addiction. The number of deaths related to heroin addiction has kept on increasing each day, and family members may not be able to bear the thought that this can happen to them as well.

14. Ryan’s story: Family hopes their openness about Ryan’s heroin overdose will help others

The family of the late Ryan Quinlan comes forward and shares the story behind his addiction that led to his untimely death. Ryan is a very ambitious person – he had so many hope and dreams. However, he became too anxious to reach his goals that lead him to his addiction.

The family is crying out for a better system in handling people with mental disorders and those who are hooked on drugs.

15. Losing a Child to a Drug Overdose

A mother shares her painful ordeal with drug addiction. Two of his three sons died due to a drug overdose. The loving mother as she had ever been, she never left by his sons’ side whenever they needed her.

A few years after her sons’ deaths, his husband died soon after. It was his husband’s wish not to have a funeral after people have been talking about the cause of death of their two sons. His other son, Louie, luckily becomes one fine, young man, despite everything that has happened to their family.

By coming out with the story of her sons, she hopes to break the silence and erase the stigma of drug addiction.

16. Family shares heroin overdose story as Mississippi troopers get Narcan

After so many incidents of drug overdose, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety has announced that all law enforcement officers will be provided Narcan. Narcan is the drug used to counteract overdose cases. It is their hope that they can be able to save more lives by being more prepared should overdose situations arise.

17. 5 heroin stories for Overdose Awareness Day

Overdose Awareness Day lets people know not only about the drug overdose, but also the negative effects of drug addiction in general. Additionally, it aims to help the public understand the signs that may lead to addiction and some ways to prevent it. Family members whose lives have been affected by drug addiction gather on this special day to spread awareness by sharing their stories to teach people about drug addiction.

18. A Drug Cop. A Daughter On Opioids. One Family’s Story Of Addiction.

A drug cop never realized that someone under his roof would be a victim of such situation. His daughter came to him to confess her addiction and he was ready to help her by sending her to a medical facility for rehabilitation. However, her daughter was denied and the case was considered not serious enough to cover his insurance.

His daughter’s addiction worsened and he felt helpless. Informing the doctors that she was suicidal was his only way for her daughter to get treatment. She was sent behind bars and after she was released, she got back to her old ways and soon after, ended her life due to overdose.

19. TIME-Mic documentary follows couple's overdose nightmare to show the face of opioid epidemic

A husband and wife overdosed themselves with heroin inside a drugstore’s bathroom and rode a bus. The husband was found sprawled backward on the bench of the bus while the wife was on her knees by the sidewalk. Someone took a video of the couple, which prompted TIME-Mic to produce a documentary about how the couple deals with their everyday lives with drug use and to investigate their issues on what led them to the said addiction.

20. The Heroin Diaries: Wife Of Overdose Victim Discovers Videos Chronicling His Struggle

A shocked wife discovered his husband’s video diary documenting his last month’s struggle with his addiction. Daniel was struggling with depression and anxiety. Instead of taking the usual step of going to the doctor, he skipped right to taking heroin.

Up until two weeks before his death, Daniel denied being an addict. And he reasons out that his use of the drug was his means of getting by.

21. Anthony: My Son – Heroin Addiction Memorial Story

It’s such a harrowing experience for a father to see his son’s death, particularly due to heroin addiction. The eulogy he read was more focused on relaying a message to those who might be struggling with addiction as well.

The eulogy was shared on Facebook and reached a girl named Abby, who confessed to Anthony’s father that she too was struggling herself. She told how she wanted to stop but didn’t know how, But, after some time of exchanging messages through Facebook, Abby finally decided to get clean.

22. Fed Up With Losing Their Kids To Drug Overdoses, Parents Share Their Stories

Parents are remorseful for the tragic deaths of their children due to abuse of heroin and other illicit substances. More often, the focus has been on the trade of illegal drugs. However, keeping our eyes on the more important matters should be initiated – to improve government policies regarding drug regulations and to implement a safer alternative to certain medical conditions to eliminate the use of addictive prescription drugs.

23. Deforest mother shares story of son who died of heroin overdose

A mother recalls how his son struggled with his bipolar disorder, which was diagnosed when he was still a child. As he grew up, his way of coping was by using heroin. He eventually got addicted to the drug, overdosed and died.

His son’s death pushed her to step forward and help others have a better understanding of the kind of predicament that his son had. She hopes to help address the problems of some people who are likely to use drugs as their primary means to get by.

24. Man featured in heroin stories gets 3 years in prison for overdose death

A man admits to his crime of persuading other people from taking heroin, which eventually led to a lethal level that resulted in their death. He was remorseful for what he did, but the families of the overdose victims wanted him to suffer more than what the jury has decided on. Keding has gotten treatment for his addiction and shared his story to help others have a better understanding of drug addiction.

25. Mother hopes son's story of heroin overdose will save lives

The so-called “intense, cheap high” has led some people who are used to taking prescription drugs to switch to heroin. Surprisingly, the face of drug addiction does not look the same as it is now. Some drug users were great at what they do, loved by a lot of people. However, there is just something that they feel is lacking in their life that they end up using drugs to cope.

Some users have long been wanting to stop after realizing what it could do to them, but many users couldn’t stop themselves. More often than not, before help even gets them, death ensues.

26. Will's Story: Where opioid abuse and the dark web intersect

No parent could ever accept the fact that their once happy and loving child would end his life due to a drug overdose. Drug users may no longer have other reasons to use drugs other than to enjoy doing it with friends.

Will started out with Adderall introduced to him in school, and then later on switched to other kinds of drugs that would give him the kind of “high” that he wanted. A parent knowing his dilemma on drug addiction reached out to him, to ensure that he gets past the terrible nightmare. However, despite all the efforts, the dark web has become all too convenient for him to get his own stash.

27. Mother shares story of son's heroin overdose

Ohio has been reported to have at least 5 deaths related to drug overdose every day. This is just one of the many stories of mothers who shared their experiences, including one about a son’s early demise due to a drug overdose.

Christopher Powell’s body was consumed by heroin overdose at the age of 24 years old. As early as 16 years old, Christopher felt like an outcast and went on taking drugs to somehow make himself feel like he belongs.

His mother is now all out in promoting the importance of drug addiction awareness. She is working on a book about her son’s death, which she hopes she can share with students and to show support to fellow parents who might be in the same situation that she was.

28. Knoxville family shares son's story after he overdosed on heroin

An 18-year old student from Knoxville met his death two days before graduation. According to his mother, Reagan was smart, driven and had dreams of becoming a therapist someday. The addiction started when he met an accident that broke his wrist and needed surgery.

He has been prescribed with painkillers, and that was how he began using it more than what was recommended. He eventually shifted to heroin. Later, his source of heroin was discovered by law enforcers and was charged with homicide.

29. Ohio man shares heartbreaking story of zipping his own daughter into a bodybag after she overdosed on heroin on Christmas Eve

Christmas will never be the same for Tim Sherman as he recalls how much pain he felt knowing that his daughter died due to heroin overdose. More than a year of being clean after going to rehab, her daughter had a relapse, and this time took in lethal doses that ended her life.

Tim showed his support to his daughter all throughout recovery, but somehow things weren’t enough. Placing her daughter in the body bag was such a horrendous feeling, but it was one promise he made that he kept.

30. Heroin in Arkansas: Local family shares story of losing 20-year-old son

Pills are often the gateway to heroin. A young man in Arkansas found his fateful death after a heroin overdose. Will Doerhoff was described by his parents as an outstanding student from a Catholic school who dreamed of becoming a lawyer to join the FBI.

When he began his freshman year at the University of Arkansas, life has never been the same. The changes in his behavior were very apparent. It reached a point where he needed to be treated due to an overdose and was put in rehab.

After treatment and therapy, they thought that Will has gotten back to his normal life since he found a job and also met a girl who would soon become his fiancée. But one morning, Will didn’t show up to work, and was found dead due to a heroin overdose.

The Doerhoffs have teamed up with the DEA and started a foundation in Will’s honor. This is the family’s way of letting people understand how life has been living with someone with an addiction and to somehow inspire parents to be more vigilant in caring for their children.

31. Grieving Texas family shares story of loss, hoping to save others from addiction

One family in Texas has not even started to accept the death of one of the sons when a few months later, another son died due to a heroin overdose. The insurmountable pain that the family felt can never be imagined by others who may not have been afflicted with the same situation. Despite all these, the family released their story so that others may learn from it.

Drug addiction is such a dangerous epidemic that people should start to look for ways on how to prevent it. Gladly, the third son of the Freemans was able to overcome his heroin addiction, and they hope that this will also be the outcome of all other heroin addiction stories.

32. Bridgewater Parents Share Story Of Daughter's Heroin Overdose

The death of Jack and Laura’s daughter has urged the couple to send out letters to Bridgewater parents informing them about what has happened to their daughter and encouraged others to speak up about their own experiences, particularly with drug addiction. The Luftmans was able to form a group of 400 members.

The letters that they received were forwarded to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District to increase their awareness about the disease that is eating up high school children. Through this, the Luftmans hope that parents would be more aware of the signs of addiction so that they may be able to provide help to their children before it becomes too late.

33. Cheektowaga family shares overdose death story

It all started with taking painkillers when Danny met an accident in 2010. But after some time of taking the pills, he somehow ended up using heroin. The family knew about this and supported him to get to rehab. They continued to show their love and support until he completed drug court.

However, the relapse led him to use lethal doses of heroin that also affected several other people. This prompted the county leaders to issue a public health warning. Danny was found unconscious inside the bathroom due to a heroin overdose.

34. Sons lost to drugs: Parents share tales at forum

A free public forum hosted by Poughkeepsie Journal Media was attended by 400 people. People shared their experiences on the horrors of drug addiction and how it has tainted their lives forever, particularly after losing their loved ones.

The organization that Susan and Steve Salomone of Mahopac started (Drug Crisis in Our Backyard) aims to raise awareness on the addictive nature of heroin. Together, they are all out in spreading awareness of this society’s disease and hopefully be able to reduce the number of people affected by drug addiction.

35. Heroin's heavy toll on Lehigh Valley families: Parents share their stories

Parents struggle to understand how their children have made themselves vulnerable to drug addiction. Despite having a happy family and very supportive parents, drugs somehow found their way to these children who have taken their lives at such a young age. Drug recovery is one of the events that parents rejoice about, but heartbreak ensues once they realized that behind that ardor to combat drug addiction, some of them go back to their habits and eventually meet their deaths.

36. Not who he was:’ Family shares story of son’s struggle with drugs

Three doses of Narcan wasn’t much of a help to save Cord Tucker from death. Family members were in distraught after seeing him sprawled on the bathroom floor, with traces of heroin nearby his body.

He underwent counseling programs just to help him overcome the addiction. But somehow, it was not enough for him to totally turn his back away from his addiction. A drug screen was taken after his death, and results showed that he had taken a lethal dose of heroin laced with fentanyl.  

37. Billings family shares heartbreaking story of addiction in daughter's obituary

It wasn’t all sunshine for Mary. She became addicted to opioids at a young age. Upon the family’s discovery, they were all out in extending the help that she needed.

After recovery, it was thought that Mary would slowly crawl back to her normal life. But needless to say, she found her way back to her addiction instead.

At the funeral, the family not only wanted Mary to be remembered as the good-hearted child, but also shared the realities of drug addiction so that others may fully understand how to manage it and prevent it from causing another death.

38. Hooked on heroin: Fountain Hills family shares son's advice before he died

A mother speaks about how the family dealt with his son’s heroin addiction and how she would have done differently to save him. It was painful to relive the moments of struggle. However, she feels that sharing his story will help others be enlightened and somehow find ways on how to better manage a loved one who may be in the same predicament.

Drug addiction is not something that one would have dreamed of. However, once you started using a drug or two, it rewires your brain into wanting it more.

Taking your loved one in and out of rehab may not be enough. A drug user may slip little by little each day until he reaches his untimely death.

39. Epidemic Proportions: Family shares story of heroin addiction

With the increase in heroin overdose in Indiana, law enforcers are not equipped with naloxone, a drug used to reverse an overdose. They believe that by being always prepared with this drug, they can somehow save more lives.

Families grieve over the loss of their loved ones due to a drug overdose. In some cases, they would have been saved. However, the drug to counteract the situation may not be readily available.

Families shared their stories on how their loved ones have struggled in fighting over their drug addiction until it ended their lives. They warned fellow parents about the signs of addiction so that they can save the lives of their own children.

40. After the loss of her teenage daughter to heroin, Frederick woman shares her story

Shannon Stanley lost her daughter to a heroin overdose. During the course of her daughter’s struggle with addiction, Shannon was afraid to talk about it. She worried more about what other people might think about her and her family.

After her daughter’s death, Shannon needed to come out and seek the help of a support group where she can free herself from the guilt of not being vocal about the problem that her daughter went through. A lot of parents are suffering with the same ordeal, and sharing her story would somehow help them face the problem and find better solutions before it gets too late.

41. Mom shares story of son’s overdose in hopes of helping others

A mother only wishes what’s best for kids, and that was exactly what Mary Randol wanted for her son. But things have changed and his son was never the same again.

His use of heroin lead to sepsis that affected his brain, heart, and liver. His body could no longer fight against the effects of his heroin overdose, which eventually led to his death. His mother promised that his son’s story would be her instrument in reaching out to others, to make more people learn and understand what it is like to be living with someone who struggles with drug addiction.

42. Losing the battle: father shares story of young daughter who died from heroin and fentanyl

Heroin alone can lead to a vast number of medical conditions that could eventually result to the sudden death of an individual. In this article, what made it worse was when his daughter took heroin along with fentanyl, an extremely lethal concoction of drugs. Just two days outside of rehab, her daughter was found dead due to overdose.

Blementhal hopes that extra funding can be achieved so that proper medical attention can be given to people who are suffering from drug addiction.

43. Ohio mom, children pose with dead father to warn about dangers of drug addiction

To accept the death of a loved one is never too easy. A young mother from Ohio posed with his children beside an open casket of her dead husband who died of heroin overdose. It was her way of letting people know that drug addiction chooses no one, that it can happen to the best of us.

She never realized that a single painkiller to alleviate a toothache would bring her husband back to his old ways. Ultimately, this started his addiction again. She recalls him telling her that he could handle it. But just a few days later, he met his untimely demise.

44. Parents Share Stories of their Child’s Drug Overdose in Effort to Save Other Lives

It is now becoming a trend how mothers would post photographs of their children laying in bed with tubes connected to them – a picture of a heroin overdose. The mothers’ grief over what happened to their children could be used as a tool to let others know the realities of drug addiction. The photos hope to encourage current day drug users to ultimately seek help and eventually be saved.

45. From athletes to addicts: Parents share stories of how they lost their children

Sports Illustrated magazine interviewed family members of local athletes to know more about the story behind their loved ones. It was not the usual interviews pertaining to sports, but about how these young athletes have become hooked on drugs.

Some athletes use performance drugs to improve their game stats. However, long-term use of the drugs caught up with some of them, which resulted in their early deaths. Some started with painkillers that were used after a surgery and similarly ended up dying early after using heroin.

46. Ware mother who lost child to heroin overdose shares story to help others

Sherry Bateman recalls how she noticed her daughter change in terms of behavior. When she confronted her, her daughter admitted to using drugs. They sought help and was in rehab for three months.

After going out of rehab, her daughter left their home and she thought that it was a good way to have a fresh start. When her daughter returned home, she thought that everything was getting better because she went out again with friends. Little did she know, it was the last time she was ever going to see her daughter, because the latter overdosed on heroin.

47. Family shares pain of teen's death from heroin overdose to help others

A father shares the story of their family’s grief over the loss of her daughter. After struggling through her addiction, Kevin Simmers did everything that he can just to save his daughter.

When his daughter was sent to jail because of heroin possession, she was given shots to manage her cravings. The shots needed validation from the insurance company before it was given to her. For her third shot, the insurance company did not respond soon enough. By the time that they did, Brooke overdosed.

48. Why This Mom Shared A Poem About Heroin Addiction In Her Daughter's Obituary

A mom discovers a poem written by her daughter who died of heroin overdose. She wanted to share with people what her daughter has written so that they may somehow have a better understanding of how it is to become a heroin addict.

The poem talks about the thoughts of a drug addict and the kind of journey that she went through. The pain of not being able to shout for help only turned her more towards the addiction. She knew what she has gotten herself into but didn’t know how to stop.

49. Jessica Gentile's story: After fatal heroin OD, Auburn woman's family spreads awareness about Good Samaritan Law

It was unlikely for Jessica Gentile to be associated with any type of drug. She vehemently stated that she would never ever go to such action, but it was too late for her mother to save her. She was found dead a day after she went to her friend’s house.

The signs were there, but her mother doubted that Jessica would ever do such thing. Police later on found out that her friend Matthew was responsible for her death – he gave her heroin that night and eventually led to her death.

Opioid Overdose

50. Police hope viral video of mother’s overdose in Family Dollar sheds light on opioid epidemic

The video shows a two-year-old girl who went to a store with her mother who suddenly fell on the floor unconscious. It was later on found out that it was caused by opioid overdose.

People have different views regarding the said video. It is truly a frightful sight how this could instantly happen to anyone who may be into drug addiction.

51. Mothers share stories of losing their children to opioid overdose

Due to a mass opioid overdose that happened in Knox County that resulted in the death of at least 173 people, mothers of the victims shared each of their stories. It is also their intention that others may be able to realize any problems that the children may have, which may require any parent’s help before it becomes too late.

The pain of going through the death of a child is something that would linger in their hearts and minds forever. Their only hope to help stop this is to spread awareness about the dangers of opioid use.

52. Dozens of middle-age women die from opioid addiction: One mother’s story

There had been reports that there is an increase in the number of deaths of middle-aged women related to medical-assisted addiction. Austin Glass’ mother was diagnosed with a stage 3-4 breast cancer and was prescribed with opioids to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, after months of taking the said drugs, it has made her mother dependent, leading her to the addiction and her eventual death.

53. The final overdose: 3 stories of loss and frustration with addiction

This story is about three people who sought help for their loved ones who were suffering from drug addiction, but failed to do so because they feel that the system was not good enough to provide the necessary help needed. They have expressed their frustration and disappointment for taking up so much of their time fighting for a treatment for their loved ones who all passed away without receiving any kind of treatment.

54. Peter's Story: New Jersey Funeral Director Sees More Overdose Deaths Than Ever

A funeral owner laments with the bereaved families of overdose victims. He stated how it was very uncommon in the 1980s for him to receive dead bodies linked to an overdose. But in the past three years, the numbers escalated to about 3-4 bodies a month.

He knew the story behind each of the death that were caused by an overdose and yet their death certificates never showed any indications about the realities of the deaths. He persuades everyone to come out and share their real stories to help them get through the pain and for others to have a better understanding of how it has been for the family and for the overdose victim.

55. Cause of death, overdose: An East Lyme family’s honest obituary

Danny was a typical young man, full of life until he found himself taking Oxycontin. He confessed to his parents about his drug use and he was sent to a 30-day rehab, only to relapse a few days after. It is difficult to read a drug addict’s mind most especially when the drug has rewired the brain in such a way that a drug user would be depending on it all the time.

The story involves a range of drugs – oxycontin, heroin, and carfentanil (a drug used to tranquilize animals, known to be about 100 times more potent than heroin). What happened to Danny pushed the family to shed light on the truth about addiction. They wanted to share how the family dealt with it and how it can be possible to prevent it from happening, only if they knew how back then.

56. Family hopes sharing story of mom who overdosed will help others

A doting mom of two, a very jolly and funny person – nothing otherwise can describe Mary Romaire. She succumbed to a back injury years ago, from which she was prescribed with painkillers. However, the intensity of the pain may not have been completely relieved by the medications she was taking and they suspected that she took more potent drugs to alleviate the pain.

In addition, she was with bad company who may have led her to drug addiction. The signs have become apparent after some time. They noticed the changes in her behavior until she overdosed and passed away.

57. Red Wings broadcaster Ken Daniels shares about tragic death of son from opioid overdose

It’s difficult to recover from the horrible pains of losing a loved one from opioid overdose. Broadcaster Ken Daniels talked in front of a large audience regarding the tragic death of his son. His message was directed to student-athletes and their parents about the ever-growing opioid overdose cases that have affected so many lives.

He stressed on what the family is going through after the loss of a loved one and how to get through it. Emphasizing on the legitimate use of prescription drugs and how it should be avoided to be taken otherwise can save a life.

58. The Mothers Of Addicts Shout Their Stories

It is painful enough to live the rest of your life knowing that drug addiction has taken two of your children. What could be more painful is when people start to question you as a parent. You know that you were always there for your children, giving them the best and ensuring their safety. However, the best that we think we have given may not be enough to stop one from falling into the fiery pit of drug addiction.

Mothers of addicts share their stories using anonymous names to help themselves recover from their tragic loss and to also give support to people who need to get back on their feet after the death of their loved ones.

59. ‘Addiction angel’ Alicia Palermo-Reddy shares harrowing stories of opioid addiction'

Alicia Palermo-Reddy is a nurse and has been voluntarily helping people suffering from opioid addiction. Some people have sought for her help, particularly those parents who are unaware of what to do or where to send their children for treatment. Such stories of recovery and relapse have become a part of her everyday life and she wishes to continue extending help no matter how much it would cost her to save a life.

Drug Overdose

60. A Light in the Dark; The story of my Overdose

He was a simple, regular man , but it wasn’t until he started hanging out with residents in a new neighborhood that his life changed. It was just for fun, he thought the first time he tried using drugs. He never realized that it could lead him to a place where he never imagined he would be.

A few weeks of using cocaine were no longer as fun as it used to. It turned into an addiction. This story describes how this young man struggled his way out of addiction.

61. After their children died of overdoses, these families chose to tell the truth

Addiction and overdose continue to affect a lot of people, and losing family members because of illicit drug use is painful. What starts out with marijuana may lead users to more potent drugs.

The families of overdose victims chose to voice out what they have gone through and what their loved ones had to deal with while trying to overcome their addiction. The horrific stories are intended to highlight the ill effects of drug use and to help educate people about its effects.

62. Kim Farinick: My Daughter's Story

The love of a parent is truly unending. Despite knowing that her daughter was into drugs, she remained at her side and helped her to recover from addiction. Dana was just 22 years old when she died of drug overdose. Just when the whole family thought that Dana was all set to get another chance back at life, one day, she was found sprawled on the floor, lifeless.

63. Families gather together to share stories of loved ones lost to drug overdoses

Families who have been affected by the death of a family member due to drug addiction used Overdose Awareness Day to call attention to the society’s persisting problem. It is their way of letting one another know that there is still life after addiction, only if a chance was given to their loved ones to be heard.

Sadly, not everyone whose family member has struggled in this ordeal has been made aware of the addiction. Through a day of awareness, addressing the problems that may lead to drug addiction should be well understood.

64. Parents of Nanaimo overdose victims share emotional stories of loss

As Nanaimo mourns for the loss of its community members, the parents of the overdose victims share their emotional struggles. They try to change how addiction looks like, reiterating that it is not always how we see it on TV shows. In fact, there are real problems behind every drug addict.

Parents come to a point where they ask themselves if they have given enough or if they have been good enough for their children. Some think that if they could have been more aware of their children’s struggles, they might have done something to prevent such circumstances from happening.

65. March For Help: Mother shares story of her son's fatal drug overdose

The International Overdose Awareness Day is a day where families of overdose victims join hands in strengthening each other and help spread the realities of drug addiction. Each family has a story to tell, and most of them are mothers who expressed all their love to their children who have been victims of drug addiction. This special day is not only celebrated for the family of the victims, but also meant to reach out to other people regarding the painful truth about drug addiction.

66. After multiple overdoses, Gloucester County man finds long-term recovery

Drug overdose rates have been increasing in New York for the past years. One man from Gloucester County has found himself in and out of the hospital due to multiple overdose episodes. After so many visits to the emergency room and trying to make him look back to where he left off with his life, he finally recovers and promises to lead a clean and sober life. It was not an easy path, but the struggles were worth having his life back.

67. Families share 2015 overdose victims' stories

Life will never be the same for the families of the overdose victims. The pain that the parents feel while seeing their child being buried is something that no one can ever imagine.

The face of drug addiction is no longer the same as it was in the 1970s. Some of these users are seen by others as happy and jolly fellows. Unaware of their own pain, drug users use heroin, morphine and other illicit drugs along with alcohol to help them get by their everyday struggles.

68. Mother shares story of son’s recent drug overdose death

Speaking in front of a huge crowd at a forum on drugs and addiction, Mona Pebbles showed a bag of ashes – of what remains of his son. His son died due to a drug overdose.

She shared how his son has submitted to rehab and hoped to be clean thereafter. Unfortunately, the addiction may have been too strong to say no to, that he found himself going back to the addiction after he was prescribed with painkillers to help him with pancreatitis. A few days after going home from the hospital, Trent Shaw was rushed to the emergency room where he was found to have overdosed.

Mrs. Pebbles’ story is her way of helping people (particularly parents) to be more educated about addiction and to enlighten teenagers and young adults about the dangers of illicit drug use.

69. Families impacted by drug overdoses channel grief to help others

Losing a loved one because of drug addiction has pushed families to voice out their grief in a way that people may understand what drug addiction really is. The horrifying times of dealing with their loved ones struggling to come clean is a difficult situation that they have dealt with. For most of them, their only wish is to let it out in the open so that the lives of others may be saved.

70. Hunter Montgomery's Devastated Mom Reveals He Died from an Overdose: We Hope His Story Helps Others

A mother grieves over losing her son and stands by the truth that his son had an accidental overdose. Somehow people are speculating otherwise, since they did not disclose much information regarding the death of his son. Furthermore, she asked help in raising the child that his son left behind by giving contributions through Helping Hands Ministries.

Drug Addiction

71. Lost Angels helps families cope with death of loved ones from drug addiction

The pain of losing a loved one can never be easy. A support group called Lost Angels Bereavement Group helps bereaved individuals and families to recover from the tragedy brought about by drug addiction. Family members each share their stories, while counselors help them understand why such things had to happen.

It is normal for some family members to blame themselves for the addiction. It is the support group’s intention to help them overcome the tragic memories of drug addiction and to be able to start to live their lives again.

72. A mom's shocking overdose photo exposed her addiction — and may have saved her life

An overdosed mother was photographed still with the syringe sticking out of her arm. What’s more alarming about the whole situation was that she was in the car with her 10-month old baby. When she saw her picture in the news, she was mortified being exposed. She soon realized that if it had not been for the photo exposing her addiction, she wouldn’t have stopped her heroin use.

73. Families share stories behind Camden County's opioid lawsuit

More and more people know a friend or a family member that has been affected by drug addiction. The increasing number of drug users and the higher death rates have led a community in Camden County to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies who continue in making prescription drugs that can lead to addiction.

More often than not, drug users start with pills and later on shift to a much cheaper alternative just to remain “high”. This practice has already cost so many lives, and the only way that the community knows befitting is to let pharmaceutical companies know that they need to stop producing these addictive pills.

74. HealthPartners employee shares her family's addiction story to help others

Despite providing all the best for their children, some kids still find ways to get access to drugs and use them. Parents continue to provide the love and support even if it means going in and out of treatment centers, just so their child can be helped. Sometimes, though, help may not be soon enough to save a life.

75. Mom shares story about her daughter's heroin addiction

Her daughter struggled to fit in her school when she was younger. She transferred her to another school where her personality was more well-adjusted. However, her boyfriend introduced heroin to her, from which she started using.

Upon learning of this, she told her daughter to either stop using drugs or leave the house. Her daughter chose to leave their home and lived with her boyfriend and continued using heroin. She is hopeful that someday, her daughter may find a way to realize how bad it is hurting her life. By letting other parents know about her daughter’s story, more people may realize the warning signs and have full information on how to best handle such situation.

76. Family shares Whittney Ferguson’s tragic addiction story

After a three-year battle with drug addiction, Whittney Ferguson passed away. She knew she needed help and wanted so badly to get out of it, but it was not an easy journey to go through.

Struggling through her addiction, she went to the extent of taking explicit photos of herself just to fund her cravings. The stigma of addiction has refrained families from coming out and letting others know what kind of life it is living with a drug addict, or how much pain the family goes through. Better educational programs should start early in school, and should prove to be effective in warning kids about the dangers of drug addiction.

Fentanyl Overdose

77. Carrying on after son's deadly overdose: Mike Zettler's story

A son’s death due to fentanyl and crystal meth overdose has led this father to know more about the said drug and to understand how people become hooked on drugs. He also shared the story behind his son’s death, and that despite his knowledge of his son’s addiction, that he remained a loving father to him. This father joined several drug awareness programs to help others know about the dangers of using illicit substances and how to avoid becoming a drug dependent.

78. Shannon’s story: A reclaimed life ends with fentanyl overdose

Just when she was about to get back to her normal life after being sober, Shannon went back to her addiction. She lost her job, her home, custody of her daughter, and eventually her life. She just stopped pursuing her goal of becoming clean and sober.

Shannon lived in a room she rented from one of the members of the local recovery groups. One of her friends came home one day, hearing blasting music coming from her room – only to find her dead.

79. Family to share son’s fentanyl-overdose story at White Rock forum

Jack Bodie, father of a 17-year-old who died from fentanyl overdose, expressed his deep remorse for the death of his son. His son’s story is one of the many other overdose victims that remained just another story for others.

He recounted the number of times that he has read over the news about these drug-related deaths, and yet the government lacked the initiative to build additional clinics that would somehow help these drug users to reclaim their lives.

Mental health is another issue that should be given notice. With clinics available, it would somehow arrest the number of overdose cases in the county.

80. He felt that he had beat it’: Mother shares story of B.C. son’s overdose

A young boxer from Vancouver Island lost his life due to a drug overdose. He fought for his addiction for the last 10 years of his life. His mother was aware of this and refused to have him in her home if he continues to use drugs.

However, four days later, after leaving their home, his body was found dead in an unfinished garage. Toxicology results show that the cause of death was due to fentanyl overdose.

81. A mother’s warning: He assured me he had drug use under control; now he’s dead

A word of caution: to stop drug addiction, medical and psychological help is needed. It is not easy to stop in a single snap.

A mother who grieves over her loss believed that his son was in control of his drug use, only to find out that his addiction just gotten worse. From pot to Xanax and opioid pills, he also confessed to using heroin. What made it worse was when he took heroin and fentanyl together.

82. David Staples: Family opens up about son's opioid-overdose death in effort to spur more action

Matthew Wallin is a typical child – shy, sensitive, and friendly to a close group of people. It was not until when he was on his 10th grade when the father of one of his friends succumbed to an accident and had to take Oxycontin when he and his friends took the pill to try it for fun. This started his addiction, which led him to a rehab when he was in 12th Grade, which he eventually dropped out.

After going through a 90-day rehab program, he had a relapse. He turned to stealing things from home just to buy the drugs. He was then sent to another wilderness rehab program. Halfway into the program, he overdosed and died.

83. A knock at the door': Calgary family shares story of losing son to fentanyl

Alcohol was the first substance that he abused at the age of 14. Eventually, he started using drugs – cocaine, meth, oxycontin, and heroin. His parents learned about it and offered him to submit himself for treatment, to which he obliged. Only after his death did his parents become aware that he took a more fatal drug in the form of fentanyl.

84. Knoxville mother shares story of losing her son to fentanyl-laced overdose

A mother’s son had fed his addiction by stealing money from her. He was sent to a rehab facility to help him get clean, which he did for the next 6 years. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.

Sharon Hajko got a knock at the door and received the bad news. After his death, Sharon joined several support groups that helped her recover from her loss and shared his son’s story to enlighten people who may be in the same situation as his son had.

85. "My son was executed" — mother shares painful story of son's overdose death

It was difficult for a mother to accept the death of his son. She knew that he smoked pot and that she didn’t allow it at home. They were not worried since their son had a job and was saving money.

One morning, they were surprised that their son didn’t come down for breakfast. When they went to his room, they found him lifeless. Detectives found heroin. The autopsy showed that he took heroin laced with fentanyl – a lethal combination that ended his life.

Drug Addiction Recovery

86. SURVIVING FENTANYL: Overdose survivor shares his story of despair and recovery

After his numerous struggles with drug addiction, Dayton Wilson was able to redeem his life back and to live his normal life. At 17 years old, he had his first overdose at his father’s home, which prompted him to leave and to stay with his friend instead because of shame.

Not realizing that he was headed to a more serious situation, he became more hooked on heroin and meth. Even if he had a heart infection, he still found himself back to using the drugs again. He eventually had aphasia, which led him to slowly look away from his old habit and start his life all over again.

87. For Families of Heroin Addicts, Comfort Comes In Sharing Their Stories

A recovering drug addict shares her story – her struggles on how life was at the worst. Together with her in a support group are 50 other moms whose families have been stricken with the society’s disease.

Many of the attendees lost a child under 30 years old. Years after the death, the families continue to mourn their loss. To see their son or daughter go through overdose episodes is truly heartbreaking. Some of them had to deal with it more than the others. Each time that they escape death is a relief, but somehow knowing that the addiction has never been totally treated may worry them until the day when they meet their loved ones’ death.

88. Medina family shares story of losses to heroin

A family in Medina County blames the government for the lack of medical facilities to take in overdose victims. They lost two of their children from a heroin overdose. It never occurred to them than their once lively teenager was using heroin to self-medicate her depression. She was found dead on the day of her graduation.

After her death, his brother was also found to be using the same drugs. Her sister Ashley struggled to find help as Marc was starting to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. He was in and out of detox and rehab, but Marc somehow could not get away from the temptation of using drugs.

89. NBA player who lost career to drugs will share his story in Chambersburg

Being an NBA player is a profession that many people aspire. However, Chris Herren lost his shot to become a popular professional basketball player due to drug addiction. Luckily, he was able to completely recover, and he goes to different states sharing his experiences so that people may be able to learn more about the truth about drug addiction. The hope is that more people may somehow find ways on how to help anyone who may be suffering from it.

90. Girl whose drug overdose landed her in the hospital explains the story behind the viral photo

Not every recovering addict may have made it this far, like what happened to Emma Sturgeon. She was addicted to both Adderall and alcohol. After using them for some time, she would consume a month’s worth in just a couple of days.

What pushed her to the edge was when she got disappointed after a person he met through Tinder didn’t text her back. To relieve her frustrations, she opted to “party” – a deadly combination of Adderall and alcohol in an unimaginable amount, which landed her in the hospital and left her in a coma.

After the accident, she went to rehab for six months and attended AA meetings. Now, she is completely clean and sober.

91. Mom of Chris Christie's friend in viral video shares his tragic story | Di Ionno

A mother would only want to have the fondest memories of her children. But what happened to her son is something that she relives every single day of her life. His son was successful back then, but eventually hit rock bottom: he turned to prescription drugs and alcohol.

Gov. Christie’s knowledge about what has stricken the man now talks about destigmatizing drug addiction, as well as making rehabilitation programs and recovery a national priority.

92. Overdose Nation: Father shares story of addiction, recovery

Not all drug addicts may have the same willingness as Marc Goff had. He admitted to using marijuana at the age of 15 and taking pain pills to help him with his back pain. He eventually became drug dependent for 6 years. With the encouragement of his mother-in-law to seek help, he readily accepted to submit himself to therapy and is now living a normal life.

93. Former doctor, fentanyl addict shares story to help others

Dr. Darryl Gebien confessed to being a fentanyl addict. He has now fully recovered and is out to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl use. He lost his family and his job because of his addiction. And coming out about his story is his means of helping others stay away from drugs and to somehow know the means to identify people who may be in such predicament.

94. Opioid crisis: Childhood friends die on same day, half a mile apart

Childhood friends Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham were childhood friends. It was during their Middle School years that their addiction started. Joseph had an ankle injury and had been prescribed with a painkiller. What could have triggered his addiction is when he had a depression due to losing two of his closest friends. Dustin and Joseph were not in touch for a long time but the police believed that they had the same source of drugs, since he drugs found in both incidents were identical.

Childhood friends met the same fate. The parents believe that prevention is the key and should start early on in school.

Prescription Drug Abuse

95. Prescription Drug Abuse: One Woman’s Story

While doctors continue to provide the best treatment possible for every patient that comes to their clinics, prescription drug abuse continues to haunt individuals and families. A pharmaceutical company can earn more than a billion dollars with just one opioid drug alone. However, the government is failing to see the negative impact that this has brought to the people.

Such prescription drugs may have been developed for the purpose of helping people in need, but its long-term effect has terrible consequences that may lead to death.

96. A FORMER addict has revealed the real story behind a photo taken after she overdosed.

Emma intentionally posted her before-and-after drug use photo to help inspire people who may be in the same situation she had before that there is hope. After being clean and sober for the past months, she is living proof that anyone can get another shot at life.

After taking Adderall prescribed to her when she was in high school, she became addicted. What made her addiction worse was when she began taking it with alcohol. Being hospitalized after her ordeal made her realize that life is too beautiful to waste away with drugs.

97. Grieving Family Shares Their Story after Brother Dies of Suspected Prescription Drug Abuse

The family is in disbelief upon knowing the cause of their loved one’s death – fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a drug that is about 100 times more potent than heroin. When this is crushed and injected directly into the veins, it can give the full amount of medication that the body cannot tolerate.

By sharing the video about their son’s death, the family aims to help save the lives of others and educate other families who may be going through the same situation.

What We Can Learn From These Stories

These true-to-life stories should make us more aware of the impact of substance abuse and drug overdose. Most of these cases teach valuable lessons that we can summarize in the following:

1. Intervene early.

Delayed intervention is close to having no intervention at all. As soon as you notice your family member or close friend showing signs of drug abuse, intervene as soon as possible.

You don’t have to go all ballistic and attack the person whom you suspect to be abusing drugs. Try to ask them in a calm and careful manner about the signs that you’ve been seeing, say a significant dip in work productivity or a visibly clear decrease in the person’s health condition. In other words, intervene and ask questions not as a police officer but as a friend.

Early intervention is a key to effective treatment, if done properly.

2. Reach out to people who are into drug use.

People who are into drugs may not accept the fact that they’re already addicted, and they will probably never listen to anyone who calls them out for this behavior. They will, however, listen to people who care about them.

When talking about drug abuse treatment, you first need to build a relationship with a person whom you want to help. You shouldn’t turn a blind eye on people who are into drug addiction, but you shouldn’t judge them either. Reaching out to them involves showing that you care and assuring them that you will support them as they decide to undergo treatment.

3. Know the appropriate treatment options.

Sending people to drug abuse treatment centers is one huge step. That’s why it would be beneficial if you can talk to them about potential options for treatment. In line with this, you need to read up on the treatment options available in your locality.

4. Know the emergency hotlines and helplines for drug-related incidents

Take note of the hotline numbers to call in case of emergency related to drug overdose and substance abuse. You may not realize it today but knowing an emergency number or drug hotline can save someone’s life in the future.

5. Make your loved ones aware of the substance abuse epidemic.

Before any case of drug abuse happens, start educating your family – especially your kids – about substance abuse. You may start talking about the realities and dangers of substance abuse to your children as early as 8th grade and onwards.

Takeaway for Officials

Aside from family and friends, people who may not be emotionally or personally involved in these drug abuse cases can still make a positive impact. If you’re working in public service areas such as schools, government, law enforcement, or judiciary system, you can make a difference in addressing substance abuse through these strategies:

1. Review and revise existing drug policies and strategies.

Whether the drug policies in your locality are successful or not, reviewing them could be a good idea if you want to intensify or improve them further. You may check the drug use trends in your location, because these can give you an idea if the policies and techniques are working. Conducting a survey can also help assess the public’s perception on the drug use issue.

2. Know your responsibilities in maintaining a drug-free environment.

Wherever you are working or spending much of your time in, there’s a big chance that you can do something to address the drug problem. Study the scope of your work and evaluate how you can contribute to drug abuse prevention programs in your area.

3. Allocate budget for substance abuse prevention.

Prevention programs for drug abuse are naturally going to cost significantly, but companies and governments that understand the sheer weight of the issue will have no problem spending for it. Based on the facts and figures listed earlier, it’s easy to acknowledge the harsh reality of drug overdose and substance abuse. Setting aside a fixed amount can already make a world of difference.

4. Conduct drug awareness programs, starting in schools.

NIDA’s Monitoring The Future Survey is already a stark reminder of the potential impact of substance abuse on children. That is why kids need to know these realities as early as they can, starting from their schools. In addition, government officials in cities and towns also need to come up with education programs for the general public.

5. Implement drug testing programs within your respective fields.

Drug testing has proven to be a highly effective means of preventing substance abuse, especially in members of the workforce. If you haven’t started implementing drug testing procedures in your company or group, check the legality of conducting a testing program in your case. It might be possible that your company belongs to a field where drug testing is mandatory by federal or state rules.


Final Word

Solving the substance abuse dilemma won’t take a few days or even months. With the scope and gravity of the issue, it may take years for any drug policy or intervention program to gain traction. However, if all members of society can take part in addressing the issue within their respective bounds, removing the substance abuse problem is possible. That way, we won’t be reading painful stories of drug-related deaths in the long run.