Bay Area mom struggles to hold onto hope this holiday season as son battles fentanyl addiction

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Monday, December 25, 2023
Bay Area mom shares son's struggle with fentanyl addiction
A Bay Area mom is struggling to hold onto hope this holiday season as her son battles fentanyl addiction on the streets of San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Jacqui Berlinn is doing her best to hold onto hope this holiday season. Her son Corey is on the streets of San Francisco battling an addiction to fentanyl.

"Corey is not in the family pictures," said the Berlinn, who says the last time Corey was home for the holidays was five years ago.

"All my kids were together for Thanksgiving, and we took some beautiful pictures," said the Livermore resident. "You know, he was healthy. He was doing well. He was in a recovery program."

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But, those moments in recovery have been few and far between. Even communication has been inconsistent over the years, with calls from Corey often going quiet.

"I've been so hopeful for so many years, and I've always felt like Corey was going to get well. The last few times I saw him kind of like took away my hope," said Berlinn, who last saw her son -- now in his 30s -- over a month ago.

"It crushed my heart, because I started to see maybe, maybe he's not really going to get out of this alive. And this is really hard for me to, you know, to come to terms with that," Berlinn said, noting the years of opioid abuse is taking a toll. "He's missing some teeth now, and his face is drawn. He's very thin, but his eyes still sparkle."

And, that's the image of her son she holds onto: "When I look at him I see all the stages of who he is, you know, from that sweet, adorable baby, to the toddler, to him playing the saxophone in the marching band and playing football. Even now, when he smiles at me when I see him."

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But Berlinn says the smiles also seem to be fading.

"I think he's really feeling the weight of what he's been living, and I hope that's what's going to motivate him to get well," Berlinn said. "And, he needs to soon, or I am afraid he's not going to make it."

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