A MOTHER in the United States has shared heartbreaking pictures of her son, showing how he became emaciated and scab-riddled after spiralling into heavy drug addiction.
Jennifer Salfen-Tracy posted before and after images of Cody Bishop, taken just seven months apart.
In the first image, he is pictured looking athletic and fresh-faced; but in the second image, Bishop's face appears alarmingly gaunt and his body looks much thinner, with track marks from intravenous injecting clearly visible along his lower arms.
The 26-year-old, who previously played high school sports, is almost unrecognisable. His mother described him as the “face of heroin and meth” in her viral post this week.
Salfen-Tracy revealed that she had not seen her son in weeks, and believes he is deep in a spiral of addiction, probably living on the streets somewhere in Las Vegas.
The distraught mother, from Wentzville, Missouri, said she decided to share her story because many people in her community have been asking about her eldest son.
In her social media post that has been shared more than 40,000 times, Salfen-Tracy wrote: “These pictures were taken 7 months apart. The face of heroin and meth... is reality for so many people and families in this world today.”
Bishop was an athlete who graduated from Wentzville Holt High School, Missouri, in 2011, according to KSDK.
His Facebook page states he started a job at All Inclusive Concrete Systems in March.
But Salfen-Tracy revealed that he is now homeless in Las Vegas and she has not heard from him in weeks.
A missing persons page said Bishop had previously been reported missing to Las Vegas police in May, after his family reported concerns for his wellbeing.
She added that Bishop is also a father and finds it difficult to understand how someone who has children “who love and need them live the life they do”.
Salfen-Tracy wrote: “Cody is still homeless in Las Vegas and I have not heard from him in weeks now.
“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.
“I have turned it over to God and pray that he decides he is tired of living like this and wants to come home to get help.
“Through social media I have come across so many great people that have crossed his path over time through his past rehab.”
Salfen-Tracy added that many families suffer in silence with relatives who are addicted and are too afraid to share their experiences.
She 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.
“This is a true issue in our world today that we need to pull together and focus on how to fix (this), instead of the government worrying about and spending all their money on throwing each other under the bus.”
Since her post went viral, Salfen-Tracy said she has received messages from people looking for help and advice about their own additions.
She finished her post with a plea for her son to call her, adding: “Cody, if you see this, please call us... we love you! – DAILY MAIL