Kyle and Darryl Jaskulski are strapping, athletic Cudahy boys. Well, not boys anymore. They are Cudahy men, 24 and 30 respectively, whose mother still worries about them the way she did when they were little boys.
You see, both men succumbed to the scourge that is heroin addiction. One got to that awful place nearly on his own, the other got there with the help of fellow rehab clients when he was trying to kick the habit of prescription painkillers.
“I’d be around other parents and they’d be ‘oh my daughter’s driving back to college for the first time by herself this weekend, you know how exciting.’ And I’m thinking it’s a weekend and it’s a payday and I haven’t heard from my boys for three days, they might be dead.” Michelle Jaskulski offered her chilling thoughts when she stopped by TODAY'S TMJ4’s studios Tuesday night to recount the battle her family has endured with heroin and opiates.
Jaskulski’s visit to our studios comes after yet another trip to Washington to advocate for more resources in the battle against addiction. She’s made multiple visits to our nation’s capital to campaign for the Comprehensive Addiction and Reform Act, known by the acronym CARA. That measure passed, now she is campaigning for congress to fund that and other anti-addiction measures in the pipeline.
Tuesday night, she recalled how her family got one of her sons into an aggressive outpatient program after he became hooked on pills. She said it tested her faith when the rehab environment succeeded only in introducing him to heroin.
“He wasn’t getting any better and I started to get really discouraged and kind of lose hope,” she said about the dark time when despite being a Christian, she nearly lost faith. “I got to the point where I started to feel guilty. I felt like it was my fault. I felt like no one else was dealing with it. No one would know. There were days when I didn’t even want to get out of bed and deal with anything. I stopped talking to all of my friends at church. I stopped going to church.”
Jaskulski has been engaged by the White House to advocate for further funding in the war against opiate and heroin addiction, but she says she’s found supportive legislators on both sides of the political aisle.
Her sons have been clean for roughly six months.That sobriety, though, isn’t something this mother takes for granted. She remains ever vigilant.