The family of a 22-year-old who died from a heroin overdose told WAAY 31 every family in our community needs to be looking out for the warning signs of opioid and heroin addiction in their loved ones. This comes after the dealer who sold their son drugs was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney for north Alabama said law enforcement throughout our area is using a unique way of compiling overdose statistics, which is part of the reason for the increased prosecution of drug dealers.
Leigh and Dewayne Scott describe their son Cole as having a kind heart and being a joker. He was slowly introduced to prescription pain killers in high school. He then switched to heroin and ended up going to rehab for the first time at 19-years-old.
"He did well for a long time and then he slowly went back into it," said Dewayne Scott.
He did another stint in rehab and spent six months in a sober living facility before falling back into using, but his family was unaware, "I didn't know he was in that much of a danger, and I think he didn't tell us because he was probably embarrassed," said Scott.
The U.S. Attorney for north Alabama said Cole's dealer continually sent him texts about special deals he had going on for cheaper drugs. The Scott family found that out after the fact, "He had complained about being contacted, because he was struggling and he was trying not to relapse," said Scott.
Cole Scott overdosed and died just after Christmas in 2016 and was found by his dad, Dewayne. Once the family felt more comfortable sharing their story, they found they weren't alone, "It wasn't like one or two people. It was everyone at work," said Scott.
The U.S. Attorney for north Alabama said we will continue to see an increase in the amount of drug dealers put behind bars as the crackdown on the opioid crisis continues.
"I think it will help, but I think there needs to be money for people who are addicted. I think the best money can be spent on trying to prevent," said Scott.
He wants kids to be talked to about how easy it is to get addicted, "Children in middle school need to know how dangerous this is," said Scott.
The family said they missed warning signs. Their son's friend group suddenly changed, and his interests changed a lot. By sharing their story, they hope other families won't miss those same warning signs.