In yet another example of the devastation of the Mid-Western heroin epidemic, a young father filmed himself delivering the heartbreaking news to his 8-year-old son that the boy’s mother had died from a drug overdose. He posted the video to his Facebook page, in hopes that it will bring attention to the scourge of drug addiction that is devastating families in America’s heartland. The video is hard to watch as Brenden Bickerstaff-Clark of Youngstown, Ohio sits his son down and tells him, “Mommy died last night.” The boy is of course shocked and surprised and asks, “What do you mean? My Mom? How?” “From drugs,” Brenden answers before they both dissolve into tears.
The message on Bickerstaff-Clark’s Facebook page reads, “THIS FOR ANY AND EVERY ADDICT WITH CHILDREN. TODAY I HAD TO TELL MY 8 YEAR OLD SON THAT HIS MOMMY DIED FROM A DRUG OVERDOSE LAST NIGHT. THIS IS THE REALIZATION AND REALITY OF OUR DISEASE. DONT LET THIS DISEASE HAVE TO MAKE SOMEONE TELL YOUR CHILD THAT YOUR DEAD BECAUSE OF DRUGS. THIS WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS IVE EVER HAD TO DO. MY SON HAS NO MOTHER BECAUSE OF HEROIN... KINDA HARD TO HEAR BUT U CAN HEAR WHAT WE'RE SAYING.
PLEASE GET HELP SO OUR CHILDREN DONT HAVE TO SUFFER. THIS WASNT STAGED. THIS WAS REAL. I HAD SOMEONE RECORD THIS SO ADDICTS WITH CHILDREN CAN SEE THE SERIOUSNES OF OUR EPIDEMIC. I AM A RECOVERING ADDICT MYSELF WITH 94 DAYS CLEAN TODAY... PLEASE SHARE N MAYBE HELP SAVE A CHILDS PARENTS LIFE.
The video was posted Monday and so far has been viewed 31 million times and generated almost 100,000 comments. While some question Brenden’s motivations and disapprove of him sharing this intimate moment, most offer messages of sympathy and their own testimonials of lives ruined by opiate addiction. This being the age of social media, new videos, photographs and drug horror stories seem to pop up every other day, chronicling the depths of addiction and how it effects addicts and their loved ones. In Ohio alone, authorities estimate 20 people are dying a week due to heroin overdoses.