NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla — Jill Brewer spent years worrying about her son Andrew. His father died by suicide when Andrew was just 13.
He turned drugs soon after and fought addiction for nearly two decades.
“It was tearing our family apart because we couldn’t understand. These were the nights where I was out in Pasco County driving around from midnight to five in the morning looking for his car to make sure he was still alive," Brewer said.
There were good times, Andrew had a son who he loved, And even made it almost 5 years clean at one point.
But after another relapse and time in jail, his mom says Andrew overdosed after taking fentanyl on August 7, 2020.
“I don’t know, we are almost a year into it and it still feels the same as if it happened yesterday," she said.
Jill is now finding a new purpose in sharing her story with others like those at GRACE House, a nonprofit in New Port Richey that helps women with addiction issues.
“Afterward they were so thankful. And told me that they didn’t realize what they put their parents through. That they needed to hear that. They needed to hear how I felt and what I went through. And they don’t ever want to put their parents through what I went through.”
The CDC reports Florida is second in the nation for overdose deaths.
The CDC says that’s up 37% from the year before.
In 2020, 268 people died from an overdose in Pasco County, up 71%.
There is help for those who want it. Jill says never give up hope.
She will be speaking on August 31st at A Night of Hope. Organizers say "it's a night to celebrate recovery, encourage those struggling, and remember those we've lost."
The event begins at 6 pm.. at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave, New Port Richey.