An Abbotsford school trustee is speaking out about the death of her son as International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized on Wednesday (Aug. 31).
A series of tweets from Shirley Wilson were shared on BC Mental Health and Substance Use Service’s Twitter feed with “hopes that her story will help end stigma, grow compassion and increase access to support,” the agency stated.
Wilson’s son Jacob died unexpectedly on Nov. 11, 2021 at the age of 24, and Wilson reveals in her tweets that his death was due to a fentanyl overdose.
Her posts also coincide with the date four years ago that Jacob was hit by a pickup truck while he was walking on Marshall Road in Abbotsford.
Wilson states that the near-fatal collision was the period “when it all fell apart.”
“He spent three months in hospital, went through extensive surgeries and was left with facial disfigurement,” she said.
Wilson said her son worked as a heavy equipment operator and “began experimenting with synthetic hallucinogens.”
When he lost his job, psychosis set in, Wilson said. Jacob didn’t want to live at home, so he couch-surfed and then ended up in a shelter, where he tried meth, she said.
Wilson said after Jacob was released from the hospital, he went through rehab, but “his psychosis worsened from brain injury and drugs.”
She last spoke to him on Nov. 10, and was notified the next day that he had died from a fentanyl overdose, alone in a hotel room.
“It broke our world apart. Jacob was so loved, had a big family, cousins, friends, his sister, Mom and Dad,” Wilson wrote.
“That’s what people need to understand, it’s not just unloved, neglected kids who take drugs. This overdose crisis affects us all.”
Wilson described Jacob as a gifted musician, playing in a band called the Great Wall of China, and as “a smart, curious, funny, generous young man.”
He loved animals and got Wilson a puppy for her birthday.
Wilson wrote that she is now speaking out about Jacob because he is “more than a statistic” and she wants “to try and stop this happening to other families.”
“Today I want people to think about the 10,000 people that have died from overdose since this crisis began. Think of them as people, their friends and families,” she stated.
“Think about Jacob and others. Then think about how we can all do more to stop this tragedy from getting worse.”
“Jacob is more than a statistic, his death can’t be simplified. He was a smart, curious, funny, generous young man. He loved animals, he got me a puppy for my birthday, I call her Lola J. We can't bring Jacob back but I want to try and stop this happening to other families." 8/9 pic.twitter.com/f9VUrq4mRr
— BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (@BCMHSUS) August 31, 2022