TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — After one of her sons died from a heroin addiction, a mother thought, I have to do something to bring awareness. Little did she know another one of her sons would also lose his battle with addiction.
Linda Scribner started a non-profit called “Be Respectful and Vastly Educated” or (Be Brave) after her son Jordan died from a heroin overdose. Saturday was their seventh annual 5k dedicated to her son, Jordan Scribner, who went by the nickname, Petey. “When he was little, we called him Sweetie Petey, so Petey just kind of stuck,” his mother said with a laugh.
Petey died at age 20 from a heroin overdose on February 17, 2014. His mother said he was incredibly athletic. She said in high school, he ran track and played football, soccer, and baseball. She decided a 5k would be a great way to honor him and bring awareness. Petey stood a tall 6’2,” and she said he was “just goofy.” She added, “he was very friendly and never knew a stranger, often talked to 90-year-old neighbors.”
She speaks with counties about awareness, gives speeches at schools, and offers a scholarship to a senior who writes an essay about how addiction has impacted their lives. The money raised at the 5k goes to the funds for the scholarship and awareness.
A mother thought her worst nightmare had happened, but in May of 2019, Scribner’s other son died from an overdose. This time, fentanyl in the meth her son Jacob took killed him. His daughter found him unresponsive.
Scribner said she knew Jacob struggled mentally but had no idea he was using. Jacob was an entrepreneur and had his own trucking business called Gracey Trucking, named after his daughter. He lived a mile and a half down the road from his mother in a farmhouse.
She said Jacob knew how to drive a tractor by the age of ten because he watched all the tractors in the neighborhood and asked. “He would drop anything and do anything for anybody, just that kind of guy,” his mother said. In the winter, he often cleaned driveways with his tractor. In addition to his dump truck business, he farmed. His mother said he often farmed for anyone in the neighborhood.
She said they went to Costa Rica on the first anniversary of Petey’s death before Jacob died, and it was delightful. Jacob studied abroad in Costa Rica.
The night before he died, his daughter had a softball game. His mother said when she spoke to him after the game, he said, “The night before, his daughter had a softball game, and he was working on his dump truck that night. He told me, I am so happy; I love what I do, and I was on top of the world that night.” She said he kept his truck pristine, and she had no idea he was using it.
Jacob faced mental health struggles and had previous hospital admissions for mental health, but that night? His mom said, “That night, I had no idea.”
As for advice for any parent wondering if their kid might be suffering from the disease addiction, Scribner said there are signs. “If they distance themselves from family, not participating in family things. Behavior changes, but not your normal teenage spats.”
She said of Petey, “With the heroin, it was a physical thing, pinpoint pupils, and he was always sleeping.” She believes Petey’s addiction started in college.
As for Jacob, she said there was nothing in his home when they searched, no paraphernalia, no signs of drug use. His mother said she could not help but wonder, “Where did he get it? What happened?”
The CDC reports that nearly 92,000 people died from addiction in 2020. The CDC reports drug overdose deaths continue to rise in the United States. In 2020 deaths involving primarily fentanyl included 56,516 of the overdose deaths.
In 2021 there were 3,013 fatal overdoses in Illinois. That is eight overdose deaths each day. That means eight parents, siblings, children, grandparents wake up each day to a nightmare similar to Scribner’s. “Addiction does not discriminate, it does not make you a bad family, and it does not mean we are bad parents. It is a disease to which no one is immune–regardless of age, socioeconomic status, education, race, or residency. Nine out of ten people with addictions started using substances before the age of 18. The three most dangerous words a parent can say are ‘not my kid.’ No one’s kids are immune to the ever-present threats of alcohol and drugs.”
For more information about the non-profit, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/A-Pace-for-Petey-292056917671718/.