By Liz Collin


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis mom wants kids to hear more about the opioid epidemic after her own heartbreak.

Rashon Thomas, 18, died just days before Thanksgiving after taking a pill on his way to a party.

She is now sharing the life-saving lessons she believes teenagers need to learn.

Known for a smile and spirit that filled every room, Jillian Sully says her oldest son was always going and well-behaved.

“Nobody expected that he wouldn’t be here,” Jillian said.

Rashon Thomas (credit: Jillian Sully)

It is why in November she was blindsided by the call that came in the middle of the night.

“I guess you just have those hopes that he’s going to pull through,” Jillian said.

She was told Rashon and a few friends took some pills at a party. Tests would later confirm his was laced with fentanyl.

“It’s like Russian roulette that he took the deadly dose,” Jillian said.

For nearly a week, Rashon remained on life support at Hennepin Healthcare hospital. His friends gathered at one point to say their final goodbyes.

“At one point there were six boys around his bed, and I said, ‘How many of you have experienced this?’ And all six hands went up,” Jillian said. “I then asked, ‘How many of you guys know CPR?’ Not one of them.”

Jillian also said none of his visitors that week knew either the difference Narcan might have made — the medicine reverses that effects of an opioid overdose. They also didn’t know about the law that protects them from legal trouble if they would have called 911 to help Rashon sooner.

Jillian Sully (credit: CBS)

“I’m really convinced my son’s life could have been saved. However, it was the panic, the time lapse, and the panic,” Jillian said.

Looking back, Jillian noticed her son seemed irritable and had mood swings in recent months. Making the choice to move past regrets with the hope Rashon’s story can save others.

“I blame myself a lot, but again, that’s not going to bring him back. I just try to take it day by day,” Jillian said.

It’s still unclear where Rashon bought the pills, but Jillian says he was the only one to get sick after taking them. Police are still investigating.

Jillian is now planning to push inner city schools to start teaching some of these lessons in class in hopes it will help.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Rashon’s family with his funeral expenses.

Liz Collin

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