Drug Overdose- My 27 Year Old Son
by Loretta Di Lustro
(Oak Park, CA USA)
My son, John, had a very long struggle with a heroin addiction. I found out by coming across needles while cleaning back in 2005- I almost had a heart attack myself. I could not believe it. He?d been smoking pot for a long time- he abused pills, Xanax bars, Somas, Vicodins, all of it. Eventually, he went to the smoking/snorting heroin and then, the dreaded needle. That led to jail time, all on drug related charges; hospitalizations. I thank God my parents didn't live to see this. This is unbearable for a parent, but my parents- well, this would have killed them. He overdosed once that I knew of, in June of 2009 and had to be rushed to the hospital. I was there, immediately. Only after he died, did I find bills from the Fire Dept that he o.d.?d again- months later, once in September and once in October- and had to be transported and was on advance life support. That means, he died- he flatlined- and I didn't even know about those. So he knew the danger, he knew full well that he could not handle the drug, and still he couldn't stop. He went into jail again on possession charges early in 2010 after these overdoses.
We were actually glad he was in jail this last time, so that he could clean up. After 10 months, he came home to me, just before Christmas. December 9, 2010 to be exact. We drove to get him, some 3 hours away. He was so happy to be able to return home. A fresh start, a new beginning. I'm finally in a great relationship with a loving man; my oldest daughter is married with a little baby (John missed the wedding, and the birth) my other daughter is happy and lives in Philadelphia and had just been visiting shortly before John's release. She would have stayed longer (we live in California) has she known. John was released early. He said he was done with all of that. never wanted to use again never wanted to go to jail, hated what he had done all the people there, etc And I was so happy to feed him and watch him devour the food- Everythings delicious Mom! he'd say. No matter what we had for dinner, he'd eat it like it was made for a King. Then, just 25 days later, he died. He reunited with an old friend who used, and we believe he brought this terrible drug into his life again. And again, it's gradual. We have pieced it together, and figured out he smoked the heroin, then injected it into the leg muscle, and a day or so later, mainlined it. He had 2 injection sites- on his arm. Two times, and he was gone. It was so strong, the Medical Examiner told us. 90-95% pure heroin going around in our community. He said kids are dropping like flys. We were in such shock, that I can't remember planning the funeral, but I know I did. I know we had company for 11 days, but I don't remember much else. His 3 sisters are devastated. On January 3, 2011, he was found lifeless in his room. I was at work already, that first Monday after the New Year. The day everyone says they?re going to quit smoking, exercise, lose weight. Me included. But at 11:00 am, I called my fiancé who lives with us- and asked him to wake up my son. I?m on the phone as he's banging on the door. I had a terrible feeling in my throat- I somehow muttered the words Break-down-the-door slowly I said it- it didn't even sound like my voice coming out of me. My fiancé asked if I was sure- that maybe he'd gone out- but again I said to break down that door. And so he did, and that's when my entire world, my whole existence- changed. While I'm on the phone- I hear the heart wrenching scream coming from my fiancé, his crying and yelling- as he had dropped the phone to resuscitate my son. He returned to the phone begging me to come home- screaming he's gone. he's gone I have to call 911! Those words- he's gone will never be forgotten. He had been gone for maybe an hour. My son was not a criminal; he kept violating probation, because of the heroin use. He would get caught with paraphernalia and the drug. Police would search him, and off he'd go. My blonde haired, blue eyed, little boy- with a home, a family, true and good friends who loved him, lovely pretty girls who pined for him, but all had to cut him loose until he straightened out. He was not a bad person; he was not a vicious person. I read the letters I wrote him while in jail, telling him his future is ahead and not to look back. That we wished he loved himself as much as we did- if he could only see himself through our eyes, just once.He was such a handsome boy, so talented and so alive. Everyone loved him- despite his addiction. He'd lie to me and say everything was ok. A few times he'd steal from me. I knew it- I'd punish him, banish him from the house, went to tough love, Al-Anon, the whole nine yards. He was only 27 years old. The girl he was with during those 25 days- had spent the night that Sunday night. She went to work in the morning. We notified her hysterically- asking what he took? How could he get it? He had no car, no money- had not found work yet. She claimed she knew nothing. We have not seen nor heard from her since his funeral. I know she used with him- I'm not about to make trouble for her, I want answers. He had needles, syringes, tar, foil, pipes- and she claims "I don't know." No, WE didn't know. I looked in his room and did the sweeping- it wasn't until those last days he kept his "stash" in the top drawer under his clothes. I believe he just started up again, his tolerance was low, the heroin was nearly pure, and he slipped into unconsciousness, and died. I finally got the toxicology report and amended death certificate. He had heroin and marijuana in his system. No pills, no alcohol- nothing else. He was my second of four children, and my only son. He promised he would always be there for me, and that he would take care of me when I got old. I'd laugh at him, and say that he wouldn't- because I was going to die young...and make a joke about how he'd have his sisters to contend with. They love him so much- it's so hard for siblings. We saw this coming- we feared this day...but we never really are ready for it. When I think of all the things left do to, all the holidays, birthdays, family dinners- without him- it's excruciating. I'm not on any medications, and I sleep well- but I dream of him each night- I think of him all day. I barely can get my work done. My employer is so wonderful- truly a wonderful man. Our hearts are broken, my Anna, Teresa and Gina and I look at each other as we visit the grave- still in disbelief. God help us- God help us all.