Mother of heroin victim talks about the hidden reality of addict - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Mother of heroin victim talks about the hidden reality of addiction


Colleen Perry's son recently died of a heroin overdose but she says, instead of being ashamed over how he died, she wants to spread a message about the hidden reality of heroin addiction.

Perry wants you to know exactly what it's like to be in a family touched by addiction. Her family was impacted by the drug three years ago when her son, Aaron, became an addict.

26-year-old Aaron Perry overdosed and died over the weekend inside a porta-potty in a parking lot near the Bengals stadium.

His mother says Aaron was living in the porta-potty for several days and had even put down cushions inside the porta-potty to form a makeshift bed where he would sleep.

When police found Aaron’s body on Sunday, Colleen said there were needles scattered around the floor of the porta-potty --- a disturbing image but it’s an image that Colleen says can’t be sugarcoated or ignored.

"I'm just one voice speaking out now," said Colleen Perry, Aaron’s mother. She hopes her voice changes the dialogue about heroin in our society by removing the stigma that’s attached to it.

"This should be a constant thing we talk about,” she explained. “It’s on the news every night. So talk about it, don't shield your kids and think they don't need to know that. They need to know that."

Colleen said three years ago, her son Aaron became addicted to heroin. Before that, she says he was a clean-cut kid with a good head on his shoulders and his priorities in line. "Most families don’t know about heroin; I didn't know about it, until it happened to my son.”

His mother says before the overdose, Aaron been clean for months and had recently gotten a job in downtown Cincinnati with the hopes of turning his life around but it only takes one relapse to overdose. Now, she wants to open up the dialogue about what she calls the hidden reality of the drug that has a hold on countless households throughout the nation.

"Honestly, I don't want another family to feel the pain that we feel and there are thousands of families out there already that have felt this pain.”

Colleen says she will carry on her son’s life and legacy by educating people of all ages on the heroin epidemic and what needs to change to put a dent in it.

"The families need to show and talk about these things graphically so that the kids will actually get it. They aren’t going to get it just by reading a pamphlet that says, ‘Just Say No to Drugs.’ Show them the harsh reality of what this is.”

She doesn't want her son's death to be in vain and she doesn't want him to be another statistic. Instead, she wants his story to be a platform on which she can stand to educate others.

"The message is awareness, prevention, learn about it. Be part of the change."

Aaron’s Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on Saturday at the Ross Community United Methodist Church on Hamilton Cleves Road in Ross. Afterward, a casual reception will be held at Eli’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fairfield.

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