I am a mom to four amazing children, but sadly one is suffering with the disease of addiction. Justin is 28 years old—he came into this world as a beautiful brown-eyed boy. His teachers adored him: soft spoken, sensitive, a very capable student. But things started to go wrong in middle school, and by the time he was 18, we found out he was doing heroin.
As parents, we blamed ourselves, but we slowly came to the realization that we did not cause this illness in Justin. Something in his brain is different.
Research needs to be a top priority in this country. Doctors need to be trained, and families need to feel supported, not stigmatized. We need come together—our government, our employers, our friends and families—and fight for our kids’ lives.
This picture was taken of Justin a few years ago during a 6-month period of sobriety, and it’s one of my favorite pictures.