LEESBURG, Va. — The Centers for Disease Control reports that accidental overdose is one of the 10 leading causes of death.
August is Overdose Awareness Month. It’s why one Leesburg mother has decided to share her son's story about self-medicating and the dangers to buying illegal drugs.
“He hid it in a way that wasn't obvious at all. I think he found his own coping mechanisms and you know, kind of deal with it in a way that was kind of invisible to me,” Julie Hines said about her son.
Tyler Young was a bright young man in college. He was 19-years-old when his mother Julie found him unresponsive in their Leesburg home.
“Tyler was a victim of, unfortunately, the Fentanyl crisis that is happening in an enormous way in our country,” she said.
Like millions of others, Tyler suffered from high anxiety and his mother said he self-medicated.
“Unfortunately, he purchased what he thought was a Percocet to calm the anxiety; but instead it was fentanyl,” Hines said.
Sunday marks National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day. Julie is hoping sharing Tyler’s story will prevent another parent from experiencing the heartbreak caused by the loss of her son.
“The best thing you can do is to talk to each other about it. Tyler wasn't addicted to any one thing. It wasn't like he had an addiction of blank. He would just do whatever he could, whatever he could find, to help calm his brain down,” Hines said.
Julie and Verizon shared Tyler’s story and about the dangers of using drugs. Coping with the reality that he’s gone has been challenging. Since then, his sister Alexis has written a book, a memoir of her brothers life. Julie hopes their transparency helps someone else.
“My message would be you're not alone. You're not alone. Unfortunately, this is a very big club that nobody wants to be part of. And don't be afraid to reach out to talk to people to share your stories,” Hines said.
If you are struggling with addiction, or know someone who is, click here for help.