ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Drug overdoses are a problem nationwide and across the state of Alabama, but a fatal heroin overdose to a high school football player in small town Ragland has spurred his mother into action.
Dylan Thompson was his name, but many knew him as Jhase: the high school football player who had pretty good grades, never got in trouble and had plans to go to Jacksonville State in the fall. But after trying heroin, the 18 year old became hooked and eventually died, shocking those who knew him.
“He was getting drugs two blocks from where we live, he was buying it for less than his school lunch cost for a week,” his mom Aprille Thompson said. “He died in the security of our home, so it’s coming into people’s homes, so there is no safe place.”
It was at 6 a.m. in November when Aprille found her son dead in his bed when she went to check on him before school. That image will never leave her.
“Because as much as I try not to have that vision in my mind, I will have that vision until the day that I die,” she explained.
Aprille did all that she could to get her son help: she put him in rehab–watched his every move–but as she learned, even that was not enough
“Once your child is using, your nightmare has already started,” she reflected. “It’s important to get in front of this drug before the use starts, because it’s just a demon, it’s an evil that is almost impossible to beat.”
Although her son was not able to beat his addiction, Aprille remains committed to helping her small town–or anyone–avoid the consequences of a wrong choice
“I’ve read message after message, and post after post of parents who have seen their family members struggle with this for years,” she said. “I struggled for five months, and it was a living nightmare every day. I can’t imagine a years long struggle.”
Knowing that these choices to simply try the drug can kill you, Aprille has spoken to her local city council, law enforcement and churches to share her story and hopes her efforts will save at least one person from the choice her son made.
“My message to the children would be–know what this choice can do,” she stressed.