Local mom comes forward after losing her son to opioids

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After years of pain, a mother is finally coming forward.

Kelli Barthelemy will never forget almost a year ago on July 8. She lost her son. Quintin Casey, 20 years old, told his mom he was ready to return home to his family and sobriety.

“He was so excited to be a good big brother to his sister, Piper,” Barthelemy said. “He told me so many times, which is really looking forward to being a good big brother to her once and for all.”

Casey’s friends planned a farewell party that ended up being his last.

“Somebody who had heard about what happened posted on social media and the picture just said, ‘gone too soon. Rest in peace,’ and they forwarded me that picture,” Barthelemy said. “I can’t tell you all the air left my lungs and the physical pain of it. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t gather myself.”

Barthelemy told WINK News Quintin had Xanax, fentanyl and other opioids in his system. She noticed his addiction growing after he suffered an ACL injury when a doctor prescribed him pain medication.

“It never occurred to me to question it,” Barthelemy said, “because he’s the doctor and he should know what’s best.”

A new bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis hopes to give families more of a chance moving forward. The bill intends to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by allowing attorneys for the state to have access to a prescription drug database as they continue with lawsuits.

Barthelemy’s version of help is Q’s Army, which is a page where people can get information and support surrounding drug addiction.

Barthelemy plans to wear shirts that say Q’s Army on the anniversary of Casey’s death on July 8. She said she is working to make sure another family does not suffer as hers has.

“Even if the worst your biggest fear should happen,” Barthelemy said, “you can find peace and healing and hope after that.”

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