Mother of the former Warren paralegal charged with drug poss - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mother of the former Warren paralegal charged with drug possession speaks out

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - Opiate abuse has become a full blown epidemic in this country, impacting people from all walks of life.

Recently, we brought you the story of a former Warren paralegal who was sent home from work after he arrived high on drugs.

On Tuesday, Healthy Living Reporter Kate Keller spoke exclusively with his mother, Marilyn Burns, who hopes to use her voice as a mother and a counselor to help others understand addiction and its impact on a family.

When a picture was snapped several years ago of Marilyn Burns and her two boys, Christopher and Jason, she really never anticipated it would be the last photo she'd ever take with both of them.

"I thought our rock bottom was when Chris died,' Marilyn said.

Her son, Chris, passed away in April of 2007 after losing his battle to opiate addiction, which Marilyn says began in 2001 when he was introduced to oxycontin after suffering a knee injury and a back injury.

"Never did I think after all of what we went through with Chris, you know, that Jay would even think of picking up a drug," Burns said.

But he did. Marilyn says it was a way to cope with the loss of his brother.

He spent time in rehab and appeared to be on the right path. Then this past year he started receiving treatment for chronic pain. He ended up relapsing in December and was caught at work with drugs.

"The most important part of this is that he is on his feet today and he is working his program and he does talk to his sponsor every day and he is very appreciative of where he is and so am I," Burns said.

Marilyn knows things could have played out very differently, but realizes she isn't on this walk alone. There are thousands of families here in the Valley dealing with similar struggles.

"I mean these folks, the majority of them, if they haven't gotten there yet will have a criminal record. I mean they are going to do whatever they have to do to stop their withdrawal," Burns said.

While Marilyn believes people have all the right in the world to be frightened or upset or angry with a person struggling with drug addiction, she believes people should also show compassion toward them.

"I think families have to really find a strong spiritual foundation to get through this. They have to be educated about the disease and they really have to truly take care of themselves because this isn't easy," Marilyn said.

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