A Delaware mother is sharing the photo of her identifying her dead son’s body after he died of a fatal opioid overdose.
Nora Sheehan, 56, recently had to identify her son’s body after he died following a dose of xylazine and fentanyl. He had been battling addiction for eight years.
After he died in October, Sheehan made the decision to share this photo to raise awareness of the opioid crisis in the U.S.
“Holding my dead son in my arms, this is the picture of addiction. This is what happens,” she said.
She described the experience.
“I couldn’t grieve until I saw him. Until then I had been holding out hope,” she said.
“They told me to prepare for the smell in the room, because his body had been outside for a while in the hot weather.
“That was the farthest thing from my mind. I wanted to hold him and hug him one last time.
Her son Andrew Jugler, a 29-year-old mechanic, began taking pain killers in 2010 and eventually progressed to fentanyl and heroin. He struggled with his addiction for eight years, very often homeless while he struggled.
His mothers and sisters persuaded him to enter rehab in September but it was unsuccessful and his condition worsened.
When Sheehan was driving him to the detox center, he actually opened the car door while she was going down the road, as if he was actually going to jump out of the car. She pulled over and just started screaming.
Instead of a funeral, Sheehan had a memorial service and invited many of Andrew’s homeless friends. She and her coworkers handed out care packages to them.
She had this tattoo put on her arm in memory of Andrew.
“I hope that sharing this image will impact addicts but mainly I hope the rest of us stop walking around blindly.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that opioid overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the U.S. in 2017.