The Fentanyl Crisis in the Bay Area Dampens Family Celebrations

Jacqui Berlinn, a local mother, is currently facing a heart-wrenching holiday as she persists in her battle to rescue her son from the grips of a deadly fentanyl addiction. In an effort to not only assist her son, Corey, but also bring attention to the larger crisis impacting California’s unsheltered population, Berlinn has chosen to share her family’s struggle with the public.

Corey, who was once a symbol of youthful energy as he played in his high school marching band, is now facing the harsh reality of drug addiction. According to KGO, Corey’s absence during family celebrations and the five-year-long void since he last joined them for the holidays is deeply felt. Corey’s mother expressed her years of hope and the toll that intermittent contact and his declining health have taken on her. She worries that she may not witness him overcoming this battle.

The Berlinn family’s struggle is a reflection of the widespread crisis that is affecting the entire state. Fentanyl, a deadly drug, has taken numerous lives, including individuals like Corey who find themselves living on the streets. Jacqui Berlinn transformed her personal anguish into a public cause by establishing Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Death (MADAAD), where she openly shares her own story. “I used to keep my story hidden due to shame,” she admitted. However, remaining silent did not shield Corey and others who are grappling with substance abuse within California’s population of over 100,000 homeless individuals, many of whom are battling addiction.

Over a month has passed since the last meeting between mother and son, but Berlinn still holds onto the memory of her son’s sparkling eyes. Despite the visible effects of opioid abuse on Corey’s physical appearance, Berlinn refuses to let go of the happier times they shared. Even now, when he smiles at her, she clings to hope. However, the fleeting nature of these moments becomes more apparent as Berlinn opens up about Corey’s struggles, stating, “I think he’s really feeling the weight of what he’s been living.”

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