"I saw my son laying on the floor in the cat litter, foam coming out of his mouth"
Karamo Brown is publicly opening up about his son's drug overdose.
The 41-year-old "Queer Eye" star got real with his audience during Thursday's episode of his show "Karamo" when he talked about finding his son in the middle of a drug overdose two years ago.
"Today, I'm going to be very vulnerable with you all. It's something that I've never talked about publicly," Brown began.
"Almost two years ago, I found my oldest son Jason, lying on the floor, dying from a drug overdose," he shared. "And I was terrified. I was about to lose my son. I didn't know what to do. I was in shock."
Karamo revealed that he noticed his son Jason was slipping after he stopped answering his calls and paying his bills. Things came to a head when the then 23-year-old missed his flight to see his mother in Texas and the TV personality went over to his apartment to confront Jason about his behavior.
"When I got to the apartment I went up the stairs and the door was ajar," he recalled, adding that he at first believed his son had gotten robbed.
"I opened the door and it was a complete mess ... the house was dirty and I saw my son laying on the floor in the cat litter, foam coming out of his mouth," he said with tears in his eyes.
"I don't know if you've ever experienced addiction in your own lives or with family members, but when you find out what's been going on and you realize what's been happening and you didn't realize it -- when you realize you might lose someone it just kills you inside," he added.
The now 25-year-old also appeared on the daytime television show to share his story of addiction and detailed the moment he had tried hard drugs for the first time.
"It all started… in college…" Jason began. "Dad, you gave me your car that night to go out to a party, you told me that car needs to be back here or that is my a--, but I got way too wasted and I could not drive. I was not about to drive… your car at the time and so someone came up to me and was like 'Try this, it's cocaine. It'll sober you up, I promise you it'll do the trick.' It did the trick. I remember driving home and like physically feeling like 'Oh I need more.'"
Getting emotional, Brown asked his son why he didn't feel he could come to him as the two seemed to have an honest relationship. The "Real World" alum explained that he had adopted a parenting style that facilitated open dialogue instead of inflicting punishment for lying.
"So why in that moment did you [not] feel you could talk to me? Why in that moment [didn’t] you think you could call me and say ‘hey dad, I got messed up’ you know?" Karamo questioned.
Jason confessed he "wasn't thinking straight" as he was under the influence and didn't want to call to say he had taken his father's car to a party with a bunch of college kids who were also under the influence.
"I was actually so relieved whenever you caught me… when you found me," he continued. "I don't know, I was truly tired of the way I was living and at some point, I was feeling that I was tired of living. It was kind of like a cry for help."
Jason revealed that he had been battling depression at the time. "I was not talking to you, mom, family at all. I just lost all types of connection with anybody and anyone I once loved except for drugs. That was the only thing I was obsessed with," he stated.
He was also able to give his father some solace after Karamo admitted that he had been beating himself up for not noticing the signs of his addiction.
"Honestly it was up to me, because I came to you everyday and every time I would see you, every time I would call you… I would present myself in the best light, 'Hey! Dad ain’t nothing wrong going over here' like truly was making sure that you had no idea what was going on. I was on my ps and qs with that."
It wasn't until Jason was 10 years old that Karamo had learned that he had fathered a son. In an interview with Parents, the reality star revealed he only learned he was a father when he was subpoenaed for child support.
"My last girlfriend in high school—when I was 15—became pregnant with my child but did not tell me," Karamo recalled. "I was confused, sad, angry, and weirdly excited to be a dad, but felt lost nonetheless."
He later adopted Jason, as well as Jason's half-brother Chris.
Since his high school girlfriend, Karamo has been living as a proud openly gay man and was even engaged to his longtime partner Ian Jordan from 2010 until they went their separate ways in 2020. Brown has been romantically linked to Carlos Medel since 2021.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.