After police began sharing sobering photos of overdosing parents in an effort to illustrate the heartbreak associated with drugs like heroin, one man took to social media to share the tragic aftermath of what can happen when an addiction turns deadly.
In an emotional video posted to Facebook Monday, Brenden Bickerstaff-Clark, of Ohio, is seen telling his 8-year-old son that his mother died of a drug overdose the night before.
“Mommy died last night," he told the child.
The distraught child asks why and Bickerstaff-Clark says "from drugs."
The boy then breaks down in tears as the dad climbs over the picnic table to comfort his son.
“Don’t let this disease have to make someone tell your child that your [sic] dead because of drugs,” he wrote. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My son has no mother because of heroin.”
Bickerstaff-Clark, who is a recovering addict himself. said he had someone record the video “so addicts with children can see the seriousness of our epidemic.”
The footage has since been watched more than 25 million times and shared more than 619,000 times.
Bickerstaff-Clark notes the footage wasn’t staged, and asks the person filming the footage to stop after he begins consoling his heartbroken son.
While some have criticized the video for exposing such a private moment, calling the footage “disrespectful” and asking that it be removed, others praised it for raising awareness.
Last month, Ohio police shared a photo of an Ohio grandmother overdosing in a car with her 4-year-old grandson still in the backseat in an effort to graphically illustrate the dangers of "the poison known as heroin."
Police said they hoped the images, which were shared more than 17,000 times, would send a message to drug users to think twice.
"We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug," they wrote. "We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody."
Police said the child has since gone on to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina, adding they are “well aware that some may be offended by these images.”
“For that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis," they added. "The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours."