Dose of Reality: Plano mom recalls the heroin battle that took her son Andrew’s life

PLANO - Many people describe addiction as a monster that lives within.

Destroying families and ruining lives.

Dawn Bolton of Plano has seen that first hand.

Dawn recounts her son Andrew's battle with heroin.

"Andrew was always jumping and running and climbing on things. Just never met a stranger," Botlon said.

As Andrew got older, his parents started to notice his attitude was changing.

"As he got into the teenage years, he did start to rebel. He and his father would clash a lot about some of the friends he would pick. We kind of figured out that there was some pot smoking," she said. He wasn't the least bit interested in college, SAT, or any of that sort of thing. He graduated because we wanted him to; he went to Colin County Community College and took some classes."

While in school, Andrew and his girlfriend broke up. Andrew turned to his mom for help.

Dawn recalled, "He became very distraught about the breakup. He came walking out with the most desperate look, I'll never forget that look in his eyes. And I was like 'Something is terribly, terribly wrong.'"

Andrew confessed to his mom that he was suicidal.

"I had no idea where this was coming from," Bolton said. "It was a complete, total, out of the blue stun. At times, his behavior would be erratic. We just felt like we needed to be on suicide watch and keep watch of him."

"Not understanding anything other than he was having these issues with suicide, is what we thought." Andrew's family sought help for him. But he was falling deeper into despair.

"We knew there was something wrong, knew he was doing something, but we didn't know what," she said. My husband and I went out with neighbors next door to dinner, came home and found him laying in the hallway, eyes rolled back in his head. He'd OD'd."

Andrew survived and his family began to find evidence of his addiction. "I started looking through his room, started finding needles, all kinds of drug paraphernalia and realized this is big time drugs here," she said.

After his overdose, Andrew started to get clean, but the addiction took hold. Andrew's family got a call that Andrew hadn't shown up for work.

His mom remembers. "We went home, got a hammer and knocked open the glass. My husband crawled through the window. He walks around through his bedroom, comes and opens the door and lets me in and goes, 'He's gone."

"We didn't want them to do an autopsy. We knew why he was dead. The police had said there was drug paraphernalia there," she said.

Andrew's death left his family trying to cope with his loss.

"I've done so much going back and saying, 'Why didn't I mortgage the house? Why didn't I do whatever I had to do to get him in the finest rehab that money could buy?' You know, you never thought he could die from this."

"Don't take anything for granted. It could happen to you," Bolton said.