The heartbreak of losing a sibling to addiction

Posted at 9:47 AM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 14:33:09-04

As the opioid crisis continues to take lives, we have heard the heartbreaking stories from many parents.  But what is it like to watch your sibling struggling down the dark path of addiction?

Stephanie Fitzpatrick, 19, knows how tragic the journey can be.  Her brother, Colton, died at age 23 from medical complications after a 10-year battle with an opioid addiction.  Colton passed on his birthday June 23, 2016.

Colton's mother, Becky Barnell, told 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly that finding information about addiction was very hard when she was dealing with Colton's struggles.

The mother and daughter are now preparing an event for Saturday called "The 2nd Annual Colton's Cause Memorial Benefit."

It is an event to both remember Colton and provide information to other families about addiction treatment, prevention and where to find support.

Kiwanis International is co-sponsoring the event with support from the Erie County Department of Health, Evergreen Health, Best Self Behavioral Health and others.

Information about the memorial event is available here:


Colton's family is working to raise funds for the creation of a community resource center and website where families can find information on local services for addiction recovery, detox, grief counseling, suicide prevention, as well as, holistic therapies to help people with anxiety and depression issues.

Ed Reilly will have more tonight.



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