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From the time Shelby could walk and talk, he was full of questions and wonder. Everything amazed him and there was nothing he did not want to do.

By the time he was in 1st grade I realized he was a lot more “boy” than some other boys his age so we had him tested. The psychologists labeled him ADHD and wanted us to medicate him, but we declined.

His father and I divorced when he was three and from then on, he spent half of his time with me and the other half with his dad. Had I known then that staying with one parent full time would be emotionally beneficial for Shelby, I don’t know if I could have made that choice. His father I and loved him and wanted him to be happy. We agreed that going long periods of time not seeing the other parent would make him unhappy,

All throughout Shelby’s academic career until 8th grade, he seemed to keep making the same behavioral mistakes over and over, not responding to consequence for action. He did make some progress while under the care of a child psychologist, but when we slacked off on the visits, he would lose progress. We briefly tried him on stimulant ADHD meds and they were awful. They had horrible side effects such as nervous tics and severe weight loss. Then in 8th grade, his pediatrician put him on Strattera and Intuniv, per our request. It was truly a miracle! He was the best Shelby he had ever been with 0 side effects.

He got off to a great start for high school. 9th grade was awesome! 10th grade started out great, but during the 2nd semester we realized he wasn’t taking his meds regularly because he didn’t think he needed them.  Certain things happened through the year: fights with parents, fights with friends, bad break up with a girl, you know, the usual high school drama. However, the summer before junior year in high school. Shelby started to experiment with drugs. Pot, alcohol, prescription meds, DXM in cough syrup meds, Benadryl…if it caused a buzz, he wanted to try it. In retrospect, I feel he turned to drugs because of emotional insecurities he had and the fact that his judgment center of his brain was malfunctional.

Collectively, we staged an intervention and his dad and stepmother paid for 3 months of rehab. After completing the stint in rehab, we also collectively decided to send him to a boarding school. I wish it would have been closer, but it was 5 hours away. He made fast friends at the new school, but in hindsight, I really think he felt we abandoned him; we just wanted to make sure he was in a safe and secure environment. He stayed clean for about a year and a half.  Yet, when he turned 18 in February of 2015, he was a senior, and he felt that since he was an adult, he could do what he wanted. He started doing some drugs a little bit and when he didn’t pass the drug screen at school he was asked to leave. He came home, moved back in with me, his stepdad and siblings and we gave him another chance. He blew it and I had to kick him out. It was unwise and unfair to put the rest of the family at risk.

After couch surfing, he obtained a job and a place to live, with advice from his father and help from his stepmother. Sadly, however, got on heroin sometime later that year and his life got more and more desperate until he ended up on the street. I begged him to go to rehab; I begged him to go to NA meetings. I helped him so much that I started to be an enabler, so I inevitably had to use tough love. We all had to use tough love.

My son was never mean or hateful. He was such a kind, loving and gentle soul. Shelby loved his brothers and sisters very much and enjoyed playing video games with them. He touched so many lives with his kindness and generosity. At one point in time he was a devout Catholic. He even saved a 4 week old kitten from certain death and nurtured him into a healthy young adult cat named Victor.

Shelby amazed me by teaching himself how to read sheet music and play the piano. He also taught himself how to read German and French. This boy had an IQ of 145. He was crazy intelligent, strikingly handsome, witty, friendly and just a great person.

Unfortunately, heroin doesn’t care about that. Heroin only cares that you don’t feel anything at all. Heroin wants to steal all of the things that make you unique. Heroin stole my sweet Shelby away from me.


  • Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010.

  • Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.

  • According to a recently published study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, acetyl fentanyl is a "quasi-legal" synthetic opiate often mixed with heroin sold on the street. five to 15 times stronger than heroin — but users typically have no idea if it's in the dose they've just bought.

Resurgence of Fentanyl in Heroin

While a greater awareness is being drawn to the heroin epidemic, another type of drug abuse perhaps even more dangerous that an addiction to heroin , is growing in America. A resurgence of fentanyl laced heroin has killed a substantial amount of individuals in many cities across the country.

Fentanyl laced heroin is widely sought by addicts on black markets for the “ultimate high”, though these drugs are perhaps the most lethal when taken together. The dangers of fentanyl laced heroin are amplified when combined and can result in deadly consequences, including the following: 

  • Respiratory depression or arrest

  • Cardiovascular complications

  • Disruption of normal mental functions

  • Increased drowsiness, confusion, disorientation

  • Gastrointestinal distress

  • Sedation, unconsciousness, or coma

  • Death


Fentanyl is often sold as heroin on the black markets, often leading to overdoses. One episode of overdosing can be the fatal incidence that costs a life.


If you or someone you care for is abusing fentanyl or a cominbation of fentanyl with heroin/cocaine, it is critical that you seek help as soon as possible.

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