Nearly 20 Milwaukee heroin deaths in one week
Darlene Collins story is unique. Her son Brian died not from heroin overdose, rather, he died trying to quit the dangerously addictive drug.
\"It's sad because this is what I have left. I have drawings, and I have stories and I have pictures. But I don't have him,\" said Collins.
A track star and football player Collins never thought her son Brian would die at 19 from heroin use.
\"He only did heroin the last three months of his life, we didn't know he was doing heroin and we didn't know that he was suicidal,\" said Collins.
She says Brian started smoking weed in middle school and eventually started popping pain pills.
\"He did do intensive outpatient rehab and things got better for a while but once you do heroin or the pain pills, it only takes two weeks to become addicted,\" she said.
Collins believes Brian only started doing heroin when he moved to the dorms at UW Milwaukee and she wishes now she had recognized the signs.
\"He kept his distance from us those last three months, even from his older sisters who he used to hang out with a lot,\" she said.
Collins is now using her experience to help others struggling from addiction. She says heroin use can start with another drug, legal or not.
\"They can call this in and just go pick it up. So keep unused medications locked up,\" said Collins.
She says heroin is so cheap and easy to get everyone should be cautious, especially parents.
\"Let them learn that there are consequences for their actions; it's better for them to suffer these more minor consequences as a child in your home than to suffer more severe and deadlier consequences as adults,\" she said.
Collins now travels across the state giving talks to schools and other groups. You can find out more tips on how to spot and prevent heroin usage at Collins' website here: http://beawareandbeware.org/