A Missouri mother went on Facebook to share distressing before and after photos of her son in an effort to bring attention to the dangers of drug addiction.
On Wednesday, Jennifer Salfen-Tracy, of Wentzville, Mo., wrote an emotional post in a desperate attempt to reach out to her son Cody Bishop.
"For my family and friends who know me know that my oldest son Cody Bishop is suffering from his addiction," Salfen-Tracy wrote. "I am hesitant on sharing but many people ask how things are going so I feel I should share. I have learned along this path that so many people and families deal with the same heartache but just do not talk about it."
A graduate of Wentzville Holt High School and student at the University of Missouri, Bishop reportedly moved to Las Vegas and has battled an addiction to heroin and methamphetamines.
"Cody is still homeless in Las Vegas and I have not heard from him in weeks now," Salfen-Tracy continued in her post. "Hearing how bad he is doing is hard but not hearing at all is worse. The unknown is what makes [a] person not sleep at night. It is hard to understand how someone who has families and children who love and need them live the life they do."
In the weeks her son has been off grid, Salfen-Tracy said she has prayed for his safe return.
"Through social media I have came along so many great people that have crossed his path over time through his past rehab," she wrote. "They have [a] great support team with each other that is amazing and I appreciate those who have reached out trying to help. I just want to say thank you to those who have talked to him and thank you for all the prayers."
The mother included photos of Bishop taken seven months apart. One photo shows him with a stocky build, while another one shows him significantly skinnier.
"That is how fast someone is effected.... let’s get a hold of this issue America and help each other," Salfen-Tracy wrote. "Thanks again for everyone’s love and support. And Cody [if] you see this please call us... we love you!"
As of Friday afternoon, Salfen-Tracy's post has been shared over 45,000 times and received over 17,000 comments.
"May God keep you in peace and continue to give you strength," one person wrote. "It's tough being a parent meanwhile its heartfelt when our kids go astray. Lord we ask and pray that you coverage this family and son."
Others shared similar stories.
"Prayers to you and your family," another wrote. "I hope you find Cody and he gets the help he needs. Unfortunately my brother lost his battle to addiction so I completely feel your pain at this very moment."
Facebook users also commented on Bishop's Facebook page in a plea to get him to reach out to his mother.
"Please go home," one woman wrote. "Your family needs you around. I lost so many people from drugs. I promise your worth more than what your doing to yourself. I know you know you need help. Please go get help."