(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) In just a few short months, Sherrie Gavan said, her son went from a straight-A student who loved baseball and scuba diving to a listless teenager with a short fuse.

Then she figured out the cause: heroin addiction, an epidemic that has upended life for countless parents across the St. Louis area in the past five years.

Gavan told a court on Tuesday that she took desperate measures to get her son, Clayton, now 19, clean. She slept next to him as he shook and sweated through withdrawals. She enrolled him in a new school to keep him away from a bad crowd. She sent him off to live with relatives and even took him to work with her.

But a jury decided she went too far when she struck the 22-year-old man who helped supply heroin to her son with a baseball bat.

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