A recent report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed a 14-percent increase in overdose fatalities between 2014 and 2015. For families whose loved ones get involved in drugs, their worlds are turned upside down, even when that abuser survives.
The call came to Nancy Fulston from deputies the night before Mother’s Day. It was about her son, Brandon saying he was found unconscious on the floor of a 7 Eleven bathroom.
From a convenience store floor, to a hospital floor, doctors prepared Nancy for the worst.
“They had to tell us he was on a ventilator and how bad his situation was," said Fulston Tuesday.
Brandon had been working three jobs and was saving up for a car. He had been to rehab a few years back, and now the neurologist was saying he wouldn’t live.
"Drugs” is the one word answer I get from Brandon when I ask him how he ended up in his current state. He has a serious brain injury, but is slowly improving. He spent weeks in physical rehab but he requires 24-hour care.
"He needs assistance with everything… feeding, toiling. He can’t be left alone for 5 minutes," said Fulston.
Brandon seems to understand what happened. His eyes tear up at times.
"I broke your heart," you can hear Brandon say, a phrase repeated by his mother.
No one knows what Brandon took the night he overdosed, not even Brandon’s stepfather Tim Fulston, a St. Lucie County detective.
“It’s disheartening, because that’s what we do. It’s what I do every day. You’re out there helping other people, but sometimes it’s hard to help yourself," said Detective Fulston.
Nancy Fulston says their message is that this can happen to any family and drugs don’t discriminate.
"Everybody thinks they may end of in jail or dead. I don't think they're afraid of death but they should be afraid of ending up living like this. I'm not making light of anyone that loses someone. But we still feel like we lost someone because he’s not the son we know."
The Fulstons are going to continue to spread their message about the dangers of drugs. This week, they’re going to shoot a public service announcement with the Martin and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s offices.