MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Colleen Ronnie lost her son, Luke, to a heroin overdose two years ago. Now, she’s teamed with law enforcement and recovering addicts to change the outcome.
She brought her powerful message to some Minnesota classrooms to combat opioid addiction, with real-life stories students never heard in school.
Dan Nordby’s addiction started simple enough — a cross-check in hockey when he was 15 put him on pain pills.
“I was dependent on using drugs just to feel normal,” Nordby said. “By 17, I was fully, fully, fully addicted to opioids. By 18, I was using heroin. And 19, I was lost.”
Nordby, who has been clean for the past two years, hopes his struggles now serve as a wake-up call for these Bloomington students. He feels lucky to still be here, but he can’t vote, adopt or take out student loans because of his felony convictions. That’s a story he’s sharing with the wish it won’t be repeated.
For Colleen Ronnie’s son, a prescription to opioids after his wisdom teeth were pulled lead to a two-year heroin addiction.
He was home for the holidays two years ago, when his mom checked on him one morning.
“Three hours later they were carrying our son out the front door in a body bag,” she said.
Luke’s death led to a nonprofit and a pledge to Change the Outcome, a panel of young people in recovery, the FBI, and the court system bringing their sobering message to 3,000 Twin Cities students with the hope it goes statewide.
“We’re not preaching to them. We’re not trying to scare them. We’re just giving them information then they can make better choices,” Colleen Ronnie said. “”We hope to change the outcome for other people and I think we can do that if we work together.”
The team is also working on a documentary to show in Minnesota schools. You can learn more about the program on their website.