Bay News 9 features Everyday Hero Missy Peterson

Drug addiction nearly took a Pinellas County woman’s daughter. Missy Peterson says she’s thankful Jessie is alive and her daughter's story inspired her to help others.

“My mission with Jessie started three years ago when I found out she was addicted to synthetic pot,” Peterson said. “Synthetic drugs have become an epidemic in our community, (as well as) nationally.”

Peterson, who created the Mothers Against Synthetic Pot Facebook page, spoke at Countryside High School in Clearwater as part of a presentation by the Pinellas chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention Education, or NOPE.

Synthetic pot is a so-called designer drug, and it comes packaged in fun designs with names such K2 and Spice.

Peterson said she first found a packet of the drug in her daughter’s backpack when Jessie was 14 years old. Thinking the package, with a pink Scooby-Doo on it, was candy, she put it back. It was synthetic pot.

Peterson’s message to the NOPE chapter is heartfelt.

“Jessie will never go to homecoming, never go to prom,” Peterson said. “Jessie doesn’t have girlfriends to go shopping with because my daughter has no friends. Jessie is very lonely.”

For Peterson and her family, the emotional cost of Jessie’s drug addiction has been enormous.

The addiction took a financial toll too, with the family facing possible foreclosure of their home because of the cost of Jessie’s rehab.

Peterson warns that a parent may not always know when someone is abusing drugs. Now she’s choosing to fight back against it.