Juice WRLD‘s life ended way too soon due to his addiction and need to self-medicate. Although his artistry left—and continues to leave—a lasting impact on the world, the rapper’s mother wants to be open about her son’s struggle.
Juice WRLD’s mother, Carmela Wallace, sat down with Chicago’s ABC affiliate to talk about her son for the first time since his death. During the conversation, Wallace explains that her son’s passing can serve as an example for others as long as she is open about its cause.
“It was devastating,” Wallace said. “But, one thing I decided early on was that I was not going to hide the fact that he died from a drug overdose. I did not want to keep that a secret because there are a lot of people who deal with that every day.”
Wallace went on to say that she and Juice WRLD talked about everything—including his addiction. This led to a conversation about self-medication and putting his mental health in perspective.
“I said, ‘if you have anxiety, then you need to get medicated properly for it instead of medicating yourself,'” she recalled. “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.”
To address this issue, Wallace is furthering Juice WRLD’s brand by starting the Live Free 999 Foundation. This organization will help young people dealing with mental health issues and drug addiction. Wallace explains that a lot of Juice WRLD’s fans and friends have reached out to her following his death to disclose their own mental health issue, moving her to start the foundation.
“That’s our objective with our foundation. Normalize the conversation, so it has to start with me,” she continued. “I hope it’s what he wanted, was a legacy of healing. To let people know that you don’t have to suffer alone.”
Although the focus is mental health relief, the Live Free 999 Foundation will also do its part to uplift the community in various ways. It has recently donated new musical instruments to Juice WRLD’s former high school in Chicago Heights.