WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Eyewitness News spoke to a Rhode Island woman whose son died of a drug overdose two years ago.
Deborah Parente told Eyewitness News, a college party her son attended in 2009 forever changed his life.
“Someone offered him a Vicodin and unfortunately he took it, and that led to eventually Oxycontin, and then it led to heroin,” said Parente.
Parente said she did everything in her power to try to help her son beat addiction.
“Everything except handcuff him to me. Everything. Put him in treatment. We went to rehab we went to meetings, education, but that drug takes over your brain and it’s bigger than you,” said Parente.
Parente now attends community forums, sharing her son’s story in the hopes it will prevent similar tragedies.
Experts say Parente’s son’s story is not uncommon, and prescription pills often become the gateway to illicit drugs.
One prescription pill on the street can cost up to $80, while a bag of heroin can cost just $7.
In 2016, police officers in Warwick responded to more than 200 overdose calls. They also used Narcan 10 times.
Right now, the numbers are on pace to reach those totals this year too.
“We’re looking at 44 overdoses, with six uses of Narcan by our officers,” said Warwick Police Captain Rick Rathbun.
Last year, 336 Rhode Islanders died from overdoses.