The mother of a Michigan 22-year-old dead after a heroin overdose shared a photo of her daughter’s heartbreaking final moments in a bid to help others battling addiction.
Cheryl Towery said she hoped the image of her clinging to her daughter, Elaina, while she lay in a coma at Mount Sinai-Grace Hospital would serve as a wake-up call for those struggling with their drug use.
“She was my only daughter, my best friend,” Cheryl Towery told Fox 2 Detroit. “She was supposed to start her new job today.”
Elaina Towery was taken off life support and died Monday, days after Burger King employees found her unconscious in the restroom, according to the news station. Officials believe her heroin was laced with fentanyl, prompting her liver and kidneys to fail and her muscles to deteriorate.
A scan Monday revealed Elaina had no brain activity.
Her 49-year-old mother explained Elaina Towery had struggled with addiction for nearly seven years and that she’d overdosed five times before. The 22-year-old, who gave up her 5-year-old son due to her struggles with drug use, has also been to several treatment centers in recent years, Fox reported.
“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room,” Cheryl said. “Because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her.”
She believes her daughter’s addiction was sparked in 2010, when she used prescription drugs to cope with her abusive boyfriend, who was eventually convicted of domestic violence and several other crimes. She said she would often find her daughter “beat up, being pimped out,” and “being kept in a hotel room on heroin.”
Cheryl told the new station saying good bye to her daughter inspired a new life’s mission, and she issued a warning to those illegally trading dangerous substances.
“I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people,” she told the news station, “they need to be locked up.”