Mom talks about los­ing son to heroin over­dose

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE -

On April 2, 2014, Sherry Mitchell lost her 21-year-old son Dil­lon Ven­able to a heroin over­dose.

His obit­u­ary de­scribed a young man who loved lacrosse and goose hunt­ing and play­ing bass and acous­tic gui­tar. A 2010 grad­u­ate of Queen Anne’s County High School, he worked as an es­ti­ma­tor at Ch­e­sa­peake Build­ing Com­po­nents at the time of his death.

His mother Sherry has shared this story be­cause she wants peo­ple to know this is hap­pen­ing to peo­ple in this com­mu­nity. She also hopes her story will help save lives.

“I was naive, I never would have be­lieved that my son, my per­fectly per­fect child would ever use heroin. He was a very good stu­dent all through school; he never stud­ied for a test and al­ways passed with an A or high B. He was a good kid, his friends were good kids. I don’t know when or why he turned the cor­ner and de­cided to use heroin.

“I learned that my son was us­ing heroin the day I found him dead — the day my world turned up­side down, the day I can only re­mem­ber snip­pets of now and some parts I wish I could for­get. I prayed for am­ne­sia in the months that fol­lowed his death. The pain and hor­ror of this tragedy has changed me in many ways. Noth­ing will be right again in my world.

“As I said, I had no clue this was go­ing on, I don’t know how long this had been go­ing on or when it started or why. He was a smart kid. I was naive to think my kid was too smart to do some­thing so stupid. I know way more now than I knew then.

“I spent many nights fol­low­ing his death on the in­ter­net, re­search­ing ev­ery­thing I could about heroin. It was tor­ture (I was tor­tur­ing my­self, I couldn’t stop). I have never used drugs. I only knew be­fore that heroin was bad stuff, prob­a­bly the worst of the worst. I didn’t know what the signs and symp­toms of us­ing this drug were.

“I know now, and I also know that he ex­hib­ited those signs, I just didn’t know at the time that those were signs of drug use. I didn’t know what heroin looked like; I didn’t know what kind of pack­ag­ing heroin comes in; I didn’t know that the belts I found in his room af­ter­ward were most likely used as tourni­quets.

“I didn’t know that the time he told me he ‘lost’ his pay­check was prob­a­bly re­ally used to buy drugs. I didn’t know that him sit­ting on

my couch telling me he was hurt­ing all over (but couldn’t tell me why) was a symp­tom of with­drawal. I know these things now, but know­ing now is too late for me.

“I don’t know that things would have turned out any dif­fer­ently had I known, but I do know that I would have done any­thing in my power to fight that dragon with him. Any­thing to save his life.

“My son Dil­lon was a 2014 Tal­bot County statis­tic, he was 21 years old. The heroin he used that day was laced with Fen­tanyl. I don’t know where he got it, but he was com­mu­ni­cat­ing with some­one to meet in Caro­line County. It could have come from any­where.

“My mes­sage for moms, dads, and grand­par­ents: Opi­oid ad­dic­tion and abuse can hap­pen, even to your kid. Please ed­u­cate your­selves and your kids about the dan­gers of this highly ad­dic­tive drug fam­ily known as opi­ates. Know the signs of abuse, and don’t be afraid to seek help if you sus­pect use. A life saved is a heart not bro­ken.”

Dil­lon Ven­able, 21, died of a drug over­dose on April 2,

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