Lori and Dean join the show to discuss their son's life and legacy. They are the founders of djswish.org
This is a topic that is quite common in today's society. We welcome these parents to discuss this topic so others are aware of what is happening and offer some solutions. Thank you for listening.
From their website:
On July 16, 2021, our lives took a drastic turn. That was the day we lost our only child to illicit fentanyl poisoning.
Life wasn’t perfect before that day, but we were happy and hoped that DJ would find a way to beat the demons that dragged him back into active SUD time after time. God had a plan for DJ and Dean and me. It wasn’t the plan we prayed for and dreamt of. We had a choice to make, live in our sorrow or find a way to keep DJ’s memory alive and help others.
Like many families we watched our son change before our eyes. The real DJ was there at times, but SUD is a wicked disease without an easy remedy. Dean and I felt so very isolated. Few in our circle of family and friends were familiar with SUD. The stigma that surrounds it leads you to believe that you must hide the truth. It tells you that your loved one is weak and if they were just more determined they could beat it. The stigma tells you that you have failed. The stigma is WRONG. We quickly found there are hundreds of thousands of families like ours that don’t know what to do or where to turn.
We helped DJ get into recovery programs and while there we had hope for a bright future. Our son was back, he was healthy and working hard to free himself of the disease. He completed the programs and came home to re-build his life but found so many roadblocks that none of us were prepared to get around. The disease was active again and we helplessly watched the changes in our son once again.
We did all the things traditional “therapy” suggests… set hard boundaries, cut him off, brought him home and so much more. We took him to detox centers and were turned away. For us the traditional efforts were not working. Finally in the summer of 2021 we tried once more to bring DJ home and set strong boundaries in place and thought we were helping him make good decisions. He found a job he enjoyed, stayed away from the people and places that triggered his addiction and we thought we were on the right path. It wasn’t perfect, but we had time – or so we thought. That day in July seemed so normal. We had no idea what the morning would bring.
Losing our son forced us to decide how life would look without him. The first few days and weeks nearly destroyed us both. The grief was suffocating. The anger was fierce. A giant hole made breathing a task. Something had to be done. We had to make a stand and we had to give our son a voice again. He told a friend that if he didn’t survive, he hoped others would be saved because of his death.
In October, DJ’s Wish-Freedom From Fentanyl was launched as a Facebook page to help us spread information and news on the illicit fentanyl crisis our country is facing. While we are still a small group our reach grows daily. We are giving a voice to many, and God has provided many opportunities that we didn’t dream were possible.
DJ’s Wish strives to be a resource for those who feel isolated.
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