272,000 Faces: Chapter 1
I met Laura Smith online through a Facebook grief group called Moms Who Lost a Child to Fentanyl Poisoning . She started this group in an effort to bring awareness to the deadly opiate that has ravaged our nation’s families. Her son, Anthony Michael Smith, was affected by the disease of addiction which led to a fatal dose of a heroin/fentanyl mix. To further raise awareness, Laura makes these very heartfelt and cherished videos of people’s loved ones that have died from overdoses. Here is the link to one of them in which you will be able to subscribe to her channel and be able to view all of her work.
It is my mission to tell as many stories as possible in hopes of helping just one soul to break the shackles of the disease of addiction and get their lives back. This was my hope for my sweet Shelby. This is Laura’s story: “My son, Anthony Micheal Smith, died at 29 to fentanyl/Xanax. My son excelled in school. He even went on to culinary school then off to Italy to become a world class chef. When he was in high school he began using pot but always managed to keep his grades up even while holding down a part time job at McDonald's. His friends and their parents looked up to Anthony. Everyone just knew Anthony was going to be successful in life. Unfortunately, where we lived, drugs were all around us. Pills became a sensation. Most everyone was using them. I believe my son was pushing himself so hard when introduced to the prescription pain meds and how they made him feel is what eventually led to his death. While my son was finally reaping all of his hard work this monster was growing within him. He told himself he could handle it. I begged to differ but at this time he now was a grown man and could make his own choices. Anthony became a brilliant chef and was sought after by fine resturants. He was a loyal employee. One day he applied for a cushy state job with the CT DOC and got the job but was soon laid off, leaving Anthony devastated. I believe that is when this monster addiction reared it's ugly head and Anthony went from pills to heroin. He became a totally different person and not in the good way. Anthony’s fateful night he called his friend to get him heroin. The heroin was mixed with fentanyl and Anthony lost his life. A few days after my son's wake the friend that got it for him went back to the dealer and bought some for himself. He also died. The police have done nothing to try to get the person who sold them the stuff and have been extremely combative toward me. They had my son's phone and never looked at it told me they would need a search warrent so when I went through probate to get my son's phone from the police department. I tried to give it to them but they told me too much time had past to be able to do anything. My son also wrote a book that was not yet published and was into art and photography. I use my time and grief to do other things such as videos and graphics for other mom's and awareness” I asked her if she planned on getting the book published and she said if she could afford it, she definitely would. Laura offers this advice to others who are struggling with a loved one suffering from the disease of addiction: “To love them anyway. Just love them be kind to them. Don't give them money but if they are hungry feed them. Tell them and remind them all that they have to offer. That they are worthy. Do what ever you have to to get them into treatment. I believe mental illness plays a huge role people becoming a victim of the disease of addiction. Get them into a long term facility that also deals with mental illness. Unfortunately if they are adults we can not force them to do anything. Love them and make sure they know every minute of the day you are there for them and will help them through it.” Thank you, Laura Smith, for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for your pain. For all of our pain. It is a collective pain that is screaming to the Heavens. It’s OK to get help! #doitforshelby