Juice WRLD’s mom speaks openly on her son’s battles with addiction and self-medicating
For the first time since his untimely death, Juice WRLD’s mom speaks out about his mental health and addiction struggles with Chicago’s ABC affiliate.
Juice WRLD, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, rose to the top of the charts with hit songs like ‘Lucid Dreams’ which has been played on music streaming platform Spotify over one billion times. Shortly after arriving at Midway Airport, the Chicago native died from an accidental drug overdose last December. He was traveling home to celebrate his 21st birthday.
His mother, Carmela Wallace, shared that his death was devastating and him overdosing was her biggest fear, but that she made a decision to not keep the truth a secret. Wallace said, “one thing I decided early on was, I was not going to hide the fact that he died from a drug overdose.”
Paramedics were called to the terminal shortly after 2 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner said he died as the result of oxycodone and codeine toxicity after suffering a seizure.
“I didn’t want to keep that secret because a lot of people deal with that every day,” Wallace said. According to Wallace, she and her son had open communication about everything, including his struggles.
“I said, ‘if you have anxiety, then you need to get medicated properly for it instead of medicating yourself,” Wallace said she told her son. “I talked to him about it. I told him my biggest fear was him overdosing on the stuff. That’s why I made the decision I have to talk about it with other people. I can’t keep that as a secret.”
Juice WRLD vs Jarad
Even though the world knew the rapper Juice WRLD, Wallace said she didn’t treat him like a celebrity. “Juice WRLD was an icon but Jarad was my son,” she said. “I didn’t treat him like a celebrity. In fact, the first time I saw him perform, it was in Chicago. I forget where, but I saw the crowd and I saw the girls and ‘take a selfie with me.’ He was pumped up. He was still living with me at the time and when he came home, I said, ‘take out the garbage,’ because I just wanted him to stay humble.”
Wallace said she wanted the tragedy to be able to help others with mental health issues and drug addiction, so she started a foundation called “Live Free 999” in his honor.
She said her inspiration for the name came from a slogan on his favorite jacket. She turned the 666 upside-down. “That’s our objective with our foundation. Normalize the conversation, so it has to start with me,” she said. “I hope it’s what he wanted, was a legacy of healing. To let people know that you don’t have to suffer alone.”