An East Bay mother who had spent months looking for her drug addicted son on Bay Area streets told NBC Bay Area Thursday her son is sober and back home.
That was the easy part, according to Jacqueline Berlinn of Livermore.
The tough part, Berlinn said, is getting her son, Corey Sylvester, treatment quickly before his heroin addiction leads him back to the streets.
The story first surfaced in September and resonated with viewers and readers. Berlinn said complete strangers were coming up to her son on the street and telling him to call his mother and go back home. It took some time, but Sylvester made it back home.
The next step is finding him the treatment he needs.
"He wants to stay sober," said Berlinn, who added she's just thankful he's alive and at home. "It’s kind of like a honeymoon phase right now, he’s getting loved on a lot by his family."
For the past two years, Sylvester was one of the 28,000 homeless people in the Bay Area. A BART passenger snapped a photo of him, a sign he was alive but in desperate need of help.
Two months ago, Berlinn broke her silence and asked our viewers to help her find her son.
"He told me, 'I don’t know what you did, but so many people are coming up to me and saying call your mom, go home, you are loved, please we want to help you,'" Berlinn said.
Last month, Sylvester was arrested in San Mateo County. People from his past continued to reach out.
"He got more clarity and realized he wanted to stay that way," Berlinn said.
On Halloween, a clean and sober Sylvester ended up at his mother’s doorstep.
"We’re at a critical moment," Berlinn said. "We need to get him the help that he needs."
Sylvester has been placed on a wait list for an open spot at a drug treatment program with the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, Berlinn said. He needs inpatient care as soon as possible, she added.
Dr. Charles Flores, a board certified addiction specialist who has never treated Sylvester, agrees.
"Most likely he’s going to need a level of residential care because spending that much time out on the street, you’re going to come to a lot of challenges," Flores said.
Berlinn said if there’s an open bed at a rehab center, "please let my son in."
In the meantime, Berlinn said she’s been relying on her network of friends and family to help her son get back on his feet. She said Sylvester was scheduled to attend a recovery meeting Thursday night.