I used to be a mother to four precious boys. That changed on February 5, 2012 at 6:04 a.m. when my oldest son, Frankie Prout, was pronounced dead at the age of 20 while living in a halfway house.
Let’s start from the beginning: Frankie grew up in Port Richmond in Philadelphia. As a child he was loved by everyone. Around the age of 18, Frankie started to change. He wasn’t acting like his normal happy self and I knew something was wrong, but never in a million years would I have suspected that he was developing a drug addiction. It turns out he was using Percocet prescribed by a dentist.
By the time his use had escalated to crushing and snorting 30mg, he was stealing from and lying to his family and friends. He got locked up for robbing a car. When he returned home from jail he went right back to using. At this point he had the option to get help or be homeless. We went to detox, but he was turned away the first time for an expired ID and a second time because he didn’t have enough drugs in his system. Frankie was so sick that he begged me to let him die. My heart was broken, I couldn’t stand to see him like that. In order to get enough drugs in his system to be admitted, I had to purchase Percocets for him to use. Detox accepted him this time and kept him for five days during which he celebrated his 19th birthday. When they ran out of beds he was right back on the street. Frankie stayed clean for three months before relapsing. His addiction got worse and worse. He desperately needed detox but there were no beds. Sick and defeated, he asked, “Mom, how can you love me? I’m a scumbag!”
No one should have to bury a child. When Frankie was little he used to ask me if there were monsters. I told him no, but I lied--addiction is a monster.