The loss of a grandson to drug use is driving a Shelbyville woman to help others avoid the same fate.
Bonnie Cady has started Drug Rescue, a non-profit agency, in memory of Bill Hallum, who succumbed to a fentanyl overdose earlier this year.
“Our mission is to educate people about the enemy – drugs; empower them to stand up and speak out, talk to their children about drugs; heal, and help find the best rehab for those seeking to escape addiction,” Cady said.
“We want to shine the light on drugs. If you go in a dark room and turn on the light the darkness goes away,” Cady said.
Hallum, 21 at his death, was a straight-A student at Shelbyville Central High School and finished ninth in his class, Cady said. He was a student at the University of Alabama-Huntsville with a 3.5 GPA.
“Bill tried marijuana with one of his friends in junior high school. He said that was his gateway to trying other types of drugs,” Cady said.
Hallum admitted to his family on New Year’s Day that he had a substance abuse problem – M30 pills laced with fentanyl - and checked into rehab two days later, according to Cady.
“Bill did not realize that the pills had fentanyl in them when his friend first got him to try them. He had been using these pills for six months and couldn’t quit on his own. He said he wished he had never tried them. He needed help,” Cady said.
Three weeks of intensive inpatient therapy were followed by several weeks as an outpatient as Hallum moved in with his brother in Huntsville, Alabama. But the plans went awry when Hallum came home to Shelbyville for a weekend and went to a bar n Murfreesboro with a drug-using friend, Cady said.
Hallum was found dead in his bed the next day. An autopsy revealed Hallum died of a fentanyl overdose, according to Cady.
Fentanyl overdoses have become commonplace. Fentanyl overdose victims who have stopped breathing have to be revived with NARCAN by Shelbyville and Bedford County law enforcement officers and first responders frequently, sometimes several times a week.
She’s now working to spread the word about fentanyl’s dangers.
“We want to shine the light on drugs. If you go in a dark room and turn on the light the darkness goes out,” Cady said.