Overdose Steals Your Dreams – Remembering Austin

Austin Boyles dreamed of becoming a professional barber. He was on course to graduate from Barber school in September 2016. As I write this, I’m crying because it is so sad. Addiction stole my boy’s dream. Addiction stole everything from him. Austin fought hard to beat his heroin addiction. He went to detox and to rehab. He also graduated from drug and alcohol classes. He was doing really well in barber school. We thought all the bad stuff was behind us. We were wrong.

On a Monday night, his mother and I heard a loud thud from his room. We rushed in to find Austin not breathing. I called 911 while his mom performed CPR.Cass County Sherriff deputy was first on the scene. They administered Narcan, saving Austin’s life. He was released from the hospital and we went home. Not one person told us to take him to rehab, we thought that this near-death experience had scared him into never doing heroin again. We were so wrong.

The following week was spent with us at all times. He wanted it that way, too. That week we loved on Austin so much. We went on walks, went to movies, shopping and his favorite, fishing. We talked and Austin was so sorry to have put us through almost losing him.

​That week, we also got things in motion for him to move to Nashville with his sister and enroll in Barber college there. We thought this was a new chance to get away from here. On Sunday June 12, Austin came to church with us and then we all spent the afternoon at our Pastor’s house for a get together. We swam and played games together and had a blast together. We headed home that evening. When we had our guard down, Austin left and went to a trusted friends house. He said he would be gone an hour then he would be home for the night. But when the hour was up, he was nowhere to be found. We couldn’t reach him on his phone, and the trusted friend had not seen him. We all frantically searched until another friend called and said they saw his vehicle at a house. When we arrived, the man (dealer?) was in the driveway. We asked him where Austin was. He said “he’s dead.” I asked him if he called 911 and he said “No.”

I dialed 911 and started CPR. I performed CPR until emergency personnel arrived, but it was too late. He might still be alive, had the dealer dialed 911. But the death dealer was too busy hiding all the evidence. Austin was found dead and alone, but no needle, no drugs were found. Fentanyl-laced heroin was found by toxicology report. Narcan usage saved Austin life and gave us 6 precious days with him. I should have made him go to treatment straight from the E.R.

I do not wish for anyone to go through losing someone to overdose. I am hoping by sharing our story, lives will be saved. I am working on getting presenter training and Narcan administering training. I will use this training to speak at schools and events, telling Austin’s story & raising awareness to the drug epidemic. This training is available through Overdose Lifeline.

by Mike Boyles

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