A Huntsville mother lost her son in a drug overdose almost eight years ago. She started a hotline to get kids talking about drugs, alcohol and other things creating pressure on teens a few months after the funeral. Candy Stephenson has seen the hotline grow since its creation.
Stephenson is reaching out to the community in another way. She is introducing the community to another parent who lost his child, not to drugs, but because of other pressures of high school. The parent is going to speak out about his tragedy on Tuesday, March 6 to help others prevent the same fate.
Stephenson’s son, Hunter, died three days before starting his junior year at Huntsville High School.
The teenager’s mom says her son’s friends gave him prescription pills at a party.
“He took them, he came home that night, I was up waiting for him as I always was and we had a nice conversation. I did not detect anything at all wrong with him,” said Stephenson.
There was a problem. Hunter did not wake up.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world. I would not wish it on my worst enemy,” added Stephenson.
Stephenson, who’s seen Hunter’s Hotline grow over the years, shares that feeling with Kirk Smalley. Smalley lost his son to suicide.
She says Smalley’s 11-year-old son was bullied.
“That is certainly something someone may call to tell us is happening to them, or that they’ve observed it, or what have you,” added Stephenson.
Stephenson will introduce Smalley to the students of three high schools on March 6. The public will be invited to one of the schools.
“So, it all ties in together. We are honored that he is coming to speak tomorrow,” added Stephenson.
Stephenson says her son Hunter was a great kid, great brother and son, so if he can make a bad decision, anyone can. She urges anyone with kids to be at the event. It’s called Speaking Up for the Silent” and will take place inside the Huntsville High School on Tuesday, March 6. It begins at 6:00 p.m. and is free. It is open to the public.
Hunter’s Hotline accepts calls and text messages. It is activated at Huntsville High, Huntsville Middle, Hampton Cove Elementary, Grissom High and Holy Spirit Schools. The numbers vary for each school. The main number is set up at Huntsville High Schools. It is (256) 536-4915.