GRASS LAKE, Mich. — It’s been four years since Michael Smith lost his Daniel to a drug overdose. Michael has made it his mission to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid addiction.
“Daniel was not a bad person. He, unfortunately, suffered a near-fatal car accident back when he was 16,” Smith said.
Daniel became addicted to drugs after doctors prescribed him pain medication.
“He had a closed head injury and they put him on Percocet and then they switched him to Vicodin and then oxycodone. Those are the most addictive drugs you can be on,” Smith said.
Daniel would never be able to stay sober. His father describes it as a long dark journey. A local judge sentenced Daniel to stay at a psychiatric hospital to avoid jail time and get help for six months.
“He stayed clean for about nine months then he relapsed, unfortunately,” Smith said. “People said, ‘well, did you try this and did you try that?’ I appreciate what they're saying but I did. I did everything humanly possible to try to help him.”
Prior to a wedding in Chicago, Michael noticed Daniel was high and had to leave him at his grandmother's.
“He called me in Chicago and said, ‘Dad you got to come home. You got to come home,’ and I said OK, and he said, ‘yeah, but I just I need you right now,” Smith said.
Michael picked up Daniel and told him tomorrow will be a new day. A line he always said to get him through tough times.
“He says, ‘sounds good dad,’ and I say, ‘well here, give me a hug.’ I’d always have him hug me every night,” Smith said.
“He said, ‘dad I don’t feel like it.’ He says, ‘I’ll hug in the morning.’ Ok, I said, ‘are you sure?’ he said yeah,” Smith said. “That’s the last time I saw him.”
Michael says he likes to remember the good times. They would go on a speedboat in Clarklake just to getaway.
“He was being refreshed out here,” Smith said. “It was like he was escaping into a different world and it, unfortunately, didn’t last forever. But, it lasted for as much time as we are out here. Just come out here and just ride on the boat. I could just see his face it was like he was being revitalized.”
Teams gathered at Calderone Golf Course in Grass Lake to honor Daniel’s life. This year it was on the anniversary of his passing.
The goal to not only raise awareness but to raise money for Andy’s Angels. A foundation created to combat opioid addiction.
“I try to remember all the good times,” Smith said. “I told people if your son or daughter is still alive don’t ever give up hope. They want to throw their hands in the air and say, ‘I’ve told him all I can. What else can I do?’ Just stick by him, stick by her. As long as they’re alive there’s always hope.”
Michael says something needs to be done.
“I wish there was a magic button you could push to fix it but there's not,” Smith said. “I just want to share this fact. Daniel died in 2017 and there was that year 70,000 people died of heroin fentanyl overdoses and people say that doesn’t sink in. When you tell him that that's more people totally in the 10-year war of Vietnam, I mean more people died last year alone of heroin fentanyl overdose and in 2017 than the whole Vietnam War.”
This year’s golf outing raised $20,000. 100 percent of that money will go to Andy’s Angels and will be used to provide assistance to those struggling with addiction. Want to see more local news?
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