Jo C – June 22, 2021

My son Joseph, I call him Joey, is my only son, and the youngest of three. He would be almost 29 years old. I am in the 57th month since he left this earth and I still wondering what might have saved him if circumstances had been different. I don’t have the answer but this I know, without people willing to telling their story there would be very little hope for the families that are impacted by their children’s substance addiction(s). It is through advocacy we are able to educate. And make families aware of what today’s marijuana is really about. Joey started drinking alcohol fairly young, probably about age 14, and quickly moved onto pot. Over the next few years we started to notice behavioral changes that ultimately caused him to go into his first of many hospitalizations. My husband and I were of the peace era, we smoked pot. Pot was our drug of choice, as it was our son’s. The thing about us is, we smoked it, we weren’t dabbing, and high potency was, if we were really lucky, was maybe 20 percent, not the 90 + percentiles of today. Joey was admitted several times due to erratic, and eventually psychotic behaviors. The first two admissions he tested negative for everything except pot. Well how could that be ? How could his violent behaviors be driven by pot alone ? It was inconceivable to his dad and I. My husband and I said “but it’s only marijuana” more times then I care to admit. We had no idea, for lack of a better word, how sophisticated marijuana had become. Nor how addicted our son was to it. Eventually Joey went on to use other substances but he openly admitted his drug of choice was pot. His quantitative levels were so off the charts that it took 58 days for him to test less then a trace. 58 days ! We tried everything. Rehabs. Tough love. Unconditional love. We cried. We fought. We begged. We even bribed. But nothing worked. He lost his soul to weed. He was making his own dabs and shatter, and selling it to support his habit. He was arrested for possession of felony status amounts, and the DA went after him hard. Now with a criminal record, student loans were off the table. Getting a job without a background check was getting harder, he couldn’t travel out of the country to attend a family wedding, …. life got very serious very quickly for him, and it just became too much for him. So one early morning after a night of partying he washed down a handful of pills with a bottle of wine. Was it intentional? I won’t ever know. He bought some munchie food only an hour before sending his best friend a picture of his fist full of pills along with a text that read Love You Rachel . He had a pizza in the oven that went uneaten. Regardless if his death was intentional, dead is dead and the living are left behind to navigate gut wrenching, heart shattered child grief. I honestly don’t think he cared if he woke up or not. At least not at that very moment. Maybe if he had woken the next day he might have thought well that was stupid of me. I don’t doubt he probably escaped death more then once. Drugs have a way of making you not care about reality. And today’s pot is definitely drug. Fast forward to the day he died. I had flown in to visit him and his sisters when I got the call that would forever changed my life. “Mama D, Joey is gone.” “ Gone where Jeromy? Gone to Colorado?” “ No Mama D, he was found dead.” My daughter had just pulled off the highway seconds before the phone rang. Why she pulled off was a God thing. Because when she heard the news, I was on speaker phone and she heard this horrible news at the same time I did. Her reaction so violent and agonizing I don’t doubt we would have been in a accident. I couldn’t help but thank God for this lifesaving favor. As much as I wanted to die,….how would I live without my child? But I am very grateful our tragic loss of Joey wasn’t compounded by a car accident. I often wonder did God spare my son from suffering more harm and pain had he lived. I won’t ever know. I just know my child was struggling and I know he didn’t like what he had become. Truthfully there were many times it was hard to like him under the influence of drugs. Countless times I had to remind myself it’s ok to hate the addiction but still love the addict. And he was that. Addicted to weed. Who knew this was possible? We were told it wasn’t. It was Joey that told us he was. Proven to us after every rehab he would eventually circle right back to pot because he was, in his own words, an addict. He never connected the dots that the weed was a precursor to all of his other drug related decisions, and problems. What a catch-22. But it’s only pot, right ? NOT. He was cremated a week later. And I flew home with his remains in a 10 x 5 inch box. It sat on my lap the entire flight. I was a flight attendant and my son flew as my passenger several times. My son who loved to fly was going home with me in a way none of us expected. If I could ask him if he had any regrets I am sure he would have said “but mom it was only pot.” His first love and it killed him. Yes, he was high on other substances the day he died as his peers are quick to remind me. But they fail to see pot as the devil in disguise. They are so conditioned to think it’s benign. But how can anything that alters the brain chemistry be benign ? Even under the disguise of gummies, brownies, candies, and coffee shots laced with thc, it is a powerful designer drug. Gone is yesterday’s marijuana. And gone is my beautiful boy. He spent 10 years in hell fighting against what it did to him. I am angry and sad at the predatory industry that is targeting the youth with their omission as to how insidious today’s marijuana is. I am angry with the politicians for signing legalization into law. But I am grateful for organizations like Johnny’s Ambassador and Parents Opposed To Pot for their courage, and grass root movement to change the legalization direction. We must never give up. Our children and their children deserve better. Their lives matter. 🧡🧡Love Matters🧡🧡

2 Replies to “Jo C – June 22, 2021”

  1. Thank you for sharing your son Joey’s story, to spread the word about the dangers of marijuana. It is agonizing to not know how to help your child, but even more agonizing to loose them to it. May your family find comfort and peace.

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