In a candid interview on the Tamron Hall Show, radio personality and comedian Rickey Smiley talked about the death of his 32-year-old son, Brandon, and his battle with his drug addiction since the 11th grade.
Rickey divulged that he discovered Brandon’s drug problem in his teens and said he had struggled with it since the 11th grade. Since he has taught his kids about the dangers of drugs, he thought Brandon’s contumacious behavior was simply a stage. However, Brandon’s addiction was exacerbated, and Rickey said there were bad days when he’d give up while his mother, Brenda Morris, held on.
“His mother really stuck with him even when I threw my hands up on those bad days and said, ‘I can’t do it anymore, I’m tired,’ because it’s always conflict when you’re dealing with somebody that’s struggling,” Rickey said.
Specifically, he believed his son died from fentanyl-laced drugs, but it hasn’t been proven yet. Brandon wasn’t the only one in the Smiley family to die from drugs.
“If I had to guess personally, [he] probably got a hold [on] something bad that was laced by fentanyl, which is killing a lot of our kids,” Rickey said. “Brandon is the third family member to die at the same age the past two years.”
Following his son’s death, Rickey made it his mission to ensure no other parents endured what he went through by encouraging parents to have a thorough sit-down talk with their children, similar to the sex talk.
“I just hope that kids would not take anything ever,” he said. “I would hope parents have these conversations with these kids earlier. They’re getting them in middle school now. In the form of candy, in the form of everything. We have to have these tough conversations just like when we were coming up about sex and HIV.”
Rickey added, “It’s up to the kids, we need for the kids to please listen to your parents. The Bible said, ‘Honor thy mother and thy father that thy days may be long.'”
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, head to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website to find local treatment facilities.