A Mother's Battle to Save Her Daughter from Addiction

By KBJR News 1

May 23, 2013 Updated May 23, 2013 at 6:13 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A frantic search by a Duluth family for a teenage daughter, missing and believed to be in danger.

That was the headline last week as Duluth Police put out a request for the public's help in finding the young woman.

Now, the Swanson family is trying to deal with the heartbreak of watching their child struggle with heroin addiction.

18-year-old Elizabeth Genevieve Swanson was reported missing on May 6.

Swanson turned herself into Superior Police on May 20th at which time they verified her safety...but her mother says she is anything but safe!

"Izzy's going through a relapse and it's terrifying when it's heroin. This drug is destroying her," said Shannon Swanson, Elizabeth's mother.

Police say there's been a frightening increase in heroin use in the northland over the last year resulting in some deadly overdoses.

"It's taken hold in our community. There's a lot of abuse out there and a lot of heroin activity," said Commander Steve Stracek of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

But she refuses to stand by and let her daughter become another statistic.

"I've had enough of watching this happen in our community. I want to save her life," added Shannon.

Shannon started a Facebook group called "IZZY COME HOME" to reach out to the community, and to offer support to others struggling with addiction.

"We have to talk about it because we are losing our children, our children, and our loved ones," said Shannon.

She hopes the page will help eliminate the stigma against drug users and their families.

"This is affecting everyone in our community," said Shannon.

She also wants to see more done on educating the public and raising awareness about the dangers of this drug.

"There's this war and we haven't even stepped up to the plate," she said.

Watching Izzy's struggle has been heartbreaking for the Swanson family, but they continue to support her.

"I want everyone to know that I am not ashamed of my daughter. I am so proud of who she is," added Shannon.

Izzy was just days away from her high school graduation, but she never made it. Her mom still holds on to the hope of seeing her daughter thrive.

"I know she wants to live. I know she wants to be free to live her dreams," said Shannon.

In the meantime, these signs of IZZY COME HOME and WE LOVE YOU stand proud in the Swanson's yard, hoping and waiting for the day Izzy finally comes home.

"We love you unconditionally. We're so proud of you. We want you home," said Shannon.

The Swanson's are in the process of planning a candle light vigil to honor those who are struggling with addiction.

They have also set up a website to lend support IZZY COME HOME

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com