PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A Pensacola mother is speaking out about a lack of resources for people, including teenagers, who struggle with drug addiction.
“He had these big blue eyes and his smile was just very contagious,” Stephanie Shepard said.
Shepard is in pain from the loss of her 18-year-old son, Isaiah. He overdosed at his grandmother’s house almost two weeks ago. Shepard found cocaine and fentanyl in his pocket.
“I just want to lay in bed and hope that he comes to me in my dreams or wake up from a horrible nightmare that maybe I’m in,” she said.
As the nightmare continues, she powers through the best she can.
“I think I just screamed and cried loud enough saying this can’t be the end,” Shepard said.
She said Isaiah’s story doesn’t end here. Now, she’s raising awareness about fentanyl because she didn’t know just how deadly it is.
“Yes, so I’ve heard of it, but I had no idea,” Shepard said. “I had no idea the impact it was having on the nation and right here alone in Escambia County.”
She tried to get him some help. He had a few sessions with counselors but she feels this community needs more resources for those who struggle with drug addiction, especially teenagers.
“It’s just that, okay, counseling and medication are great but if somebody needs more, there has to be more,” she said.
Shepard said she was hesitant to speak out but she wants to be a voice for others parents going through a similar experience.
“That feeling of hopelessness is not a feeling that we should have as parents,” Shepard said. “There should always be hope. Always.”
Family and friends are organizing a special memorial for Isaiah this Saturday starting at 8 a.m. at the Graffiti Bridge.
A fundraiser has garnered nearly $10,000 in donations that will go towards starting a program to help struggling families and teenagers in Escambia County.