Grieving Mother’s Message To Daughter’s Drug Dealer Goes Viral

By Keri Blakinger 08/29/16

“I don't normally post pics like this but let's make this go viral so all the drug dealers see what they are doing to our families.”

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Grieving Mother’s Message To Daughter’s Drug Dealer Goes Viral
Tina Louden holds her daughter's urn in the viral photo. Photo via KSDK

Tina Louden celebrated her daughter’s 28th birthday at home with a flowered urn full of ashes. 

The Missouri mom lost her daughter to a heroin overdose three years ago—and now, every August 15, she sits alone in her home, silently remembering. This year, she didn’t stay silent, though. Instead, she took to Facebook to share a message aimed at the person who sold her daughter Ashley that last dose. 

“To my daughter's drug dealer, this is how I spend my daughter's birthday now,” she wrote. “How do you live with yourself??? That's all I wanna know.

“I don't normally post pics like this but let's make this go viral so all the drug dealers see what they are doing to our families.”

The DeSoto mother doesn’t know whether the message reached its intended target—but it did reach a lot of people. Since it was posted mid-August, the grainy image has garnered more than 250,000 shares and 13,000 comments. 

“It’s awesome how such a simple picture would be so powerful and meaningful,” said Ashley’s sister, Heather. Some social media users have offered support for the lonely mom, and a few have even messaged her to say the post inspired them to get help—but others have placed the blame on her daughter. 

“I know Ashley took the drugs, but I still believe the dealer should be somewhat responsible,” Louden told KSDK. “They are selling this poison knowing that it could kill you.”

In the time since she posted her message, more than one rash of overdoses has hit the news. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, 78 people in Cincinnati overdosed on heroin laced with elephant tranquilizers and at least three deaths were reported, according to the Washington Post. The same day that Louden took to social media, a man from Akron, Ohio, sold a dangerous batch of dope which led to 27 overdoses in a five-hour span in Huntington, West Virginia, according to Cleveland.com.

But Louden hopes her post could make a difference. “Maybe it would change somebody,” she said. “We live through this pain, every birthday, every holiday, it's not the same. Part of our heart is gone.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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