Mother Shares What Life is Like After a Child Dies from an Overdose
Posted By Schick Shadel || Jul 15, 2015
With the rise in substance abuse and addiction amongst young adults, teenagers are more likely to die from an overdose. Recent statistics show that youth between the ages of 15-24 are at the highest risk for overdosing. Specifically, heroin addiction amongst young adults went up by 109% since the 2000’s. Amidst this problematic epidemic, a mother shares her story about losing her son.
Denise Cullen’s son Jeff died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008 at the age of 27. She explains the difficulty of having a child who was addicted to drugs. Ms. Cullen says that there is nothing quite as difficult as watching your loved one suffer through addiction and unable to help. For years, she and her husband tried to help Jeff. They knew that he was a good man, that he was “athletic and charming, handsome and kind.” Even through his suffering, Ms. Cullen saw the little boy she had raised.
After losing Jeff, the Cullens channeled their grief into something positive. They started a GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) chapter in their Orange County home. Just two months later, they were running the organization. Ms. Cullen was tired of victims of substance abuse being turned into “othered” figures in public narrative. That is why she reaches out to other families who have experienced similar loss. Ms. Cullen has also started “Moms United to End the War on Drugs,” and founded “Broken No More” with her husband. She believes that
It's a journey we never expected to take and when it came, we hadn't packed, we weren't prepared, and yet we were on our way. We were instantly catapulted down that road further away from life as we knew it and closer to a destination we hoped would provide at least some measure of respite when we arrived. As the loved ones left behind, we all walk that road. We walk it, but now we walk it together.
At Schick Shadel, we don’t want anyone to suffer like Ms. Cullen suffered. If you or someone you love is going through alcohol or drug addiction, give us a call today. Our well trained staff can help.