LORAIN,Ohio - Kerri Johnson was in the board room of the Lorain County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services, Inc. on Tuesday.
Her 24-year-old son, Ryan, fought drug addiction, often in denial of just how much it had overtaken his life. Johnson said Ryan's addiction quickly progressed after his introduction to marijuana at age 13.
"I remember when he was a teenager I had to have a surgery and I had been prescribed Percosets. I'm the type of person who would never take something like that, or them, so they sat up in my medicine cabinet and I didn't think anything of it," Johnson said.
"I had a daughter who never did anything like that, and then I had my son... And one day I went to clean out my medicine cabinet and my bottles were still there, but there were no pills in there. That's when we started noticing some signs of him acting differently," Johnson said.
Johnson detailed years of watching her only son go from a typical young man thrilled with competitive sports to someone seeking only the thrill of his next high.
"Ryan was a straight-A student, honor roll all through school. He played soccer, baseball, football, you name it. Typical family, we sat down and had dinners together at night and he grew up in a typical middle-class family, mom, dad and sister. As he got older her just totally went downhill," Johnson said.
Several family confrontations and discussions did little to curb Ryan's thirst for drugs during his teen years.
"He would always rationalize what he would do, 'I might do pills but I would never do heroin.' And then eventually, we found out he was not only using heroin, he was shooting up heroin," Johnson said.
On July 2, Ryan's heroin abuse took a tragic turn, ending a family's decade-long torture of lies, deceit, and constant attempts and rehabilitation.
"He passed away in his bed from a drug overdose," Johnson said. "He had heroin mixed with Xanax from which he had just found a doctor to prescribe it to him. He had been doctor and pharmacy-shopping for drugs for years."
Families have been calling Lorain County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services, Inc. more frequently in the last few years.
For help from LCADA call 440-989-4957 or go to lcada.com