America is in the midst of an opioid crisis that is claiming the lives of far too many young Americans. Drugs like heroin and oxycodone claimed the lives of 33,091 individuals in 2015 alone, according to CNN.
That’s an average of about 91 opioid overdose deaths a day.
Unfortunately, these incredibly addictive drugs recently claimed the life of 21-year-old Brandon Wood. Brandon’s death left a gaping hole in the hearts of his family members including his brother Stephen Wood.
Stephen posted a heartful and compassionate plea on Facebook to those under the spell of addiction and to those who sell these deadly drugs. Stephen’s post aims to paint a picture of the true impact drug abuse has on lives and families.
He explains to them that another way of life is possible and that they can help end this horrible scourge.
Stephen’s post ended up going viral and has brought strength to addicts, rehabs, and prisons around the world who said they are all looking to his message for hope.
“I’ve had messages from several rehabs and prisons telling me they have printed it and have it hanging somewhere and have read it to hundreds of people who are all battling addiction,” he wrote on Facebook in a follow up post. “I got a message from a man who has OD’d 5 times in 3 months and a girl who is pregnant and said she read it at the perfect time and Brandon has motivated her to change for her baby. I wish you could read all of the messages. It’s unreal. Even though Brandon is gone, he is still changing lives, and it isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.”
Here is Stephen’s original post:
“This isn’t easy but I want to speak directly to Brandon’s friends and enablers, and anybody else struggling with addiction.
Tuesday night I was at my grandma’s house for a normal visit. My new wife and I had just gotten back from our honeymoon the day before. The phone rang and my grandma answered with a sarcastic “what.” But the mood quickly changed and I knew what the call was.
I rushed to Brandon’s girlfriend’s apartment where her and my mom were standing in the parking lot losing it. I kept it together pretty good until I climbed in the ambulance and looked at my little brother laying there knowing he was gone.
Yesterday I went and planned his funeral and picked out his casket.
Today I had to go look at him again and I bought a suit to wear to his funeral.
These things shouldn’t have to be done for a 21-year-old.”
“So to his friends who are doing the same things he was. What I wanted to say to you is how badly I want you to use his life to turn yours around. It’s too late for him but there is still time for you. You think the drugs are only affecting yourself. But what you don’t know is how much it impacts everyone around you.
You don’t know how many sleepless nights I’ve had worrying about him.
You don’t know how many times he has told me he is going to beat his addiction, he won’t be a statistic.
You don’t know what it’s like to feel your stomach drop every time the phone rings because I’m scared it might be about him.
You don’t know how it feels to know time is running out for him, and not being able to do anything to help.
You don’t know the guilt I feel for not doing more than I did.”
“You don’t know how I’ve heard every one of my relatives the last couple of days say “If I would have done this, or I would have done that, I know he would still be here.”
You don’t know what it’s like watching grown men who you thought were invincible, standing over a casket crying.
And you don’t know what it’s like to know that you’ll never be able to kick a soccer ball, play Xbox, argue over football, or any other little thing we take for granted with my brother ever again.
So, don’t let him die for nothing. Get the help you need and get clean, if not for you, then for your family. You’re not invincible, you’re time is short and as much as you don’t want to believe it, you’re next.
And to his dealers.
I want you to know how many hours brandon spent at my house crying, telling me he hates what he has become, but there was no escape. Talking about how no matter how many numbers he blocks, you people still find a way to try to sell to him and how he gave in every time.”
“I want you to know how hard he tried to help himself and to find help, and every time he did and got clean, you were lurking in the shadows calling his name.
I want you to know that you are murdering people for 20 bucks a pop and I hope you feel terrible about it. I can’t imagine how it feels knowing $20 is worth more to you than another person’s life.
I want you to know how badly I want to take justice for my little brother into my own hands. How I know who some of you are and how much rage I feel when i look at your Facebook pages, living like nothing happened.
And I want you to know that eventually what you are doing will catch up to you.
But on the other hand, I want you to know that this isn’t what you are on earth for. That if you turn your life around, there is so much you can do. Think of the people you can help. Get a real job, make your own money, do something you can be proud of.”
“I have so much more I want to say but that’s all I have time for right now. Thank you if you have read this far. I want to thank all of Brandon’s friends who did all you could to help him. If you’re a true friend of Brandon’s, then you’re a friend of mine.
Now reach out to anybody you know who is struggling, and do whatever you can to help, so we don’t have to lose someone else with their whole future ahead of them. It may be to late for Brandon, but don’t let him die in vain. Feel free to share, never know who it may help.”
You can learn more about the opioid crisis here see Stephen’s original Facebook post below:
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