‘This doesn’t define Kalli’s life’ — Mississippi family wants daughter’s drug addiction battle to help educate others

Published 7:48 am Monday, March 15, 2021

Even in the midst of her daughter’s battle with drug addiction, Kim Case always thought her 19-year-old daughter would win the fight.

Just three days before the Mississippi teen’s death, Case said her daughter Kalli had dreams for her future. Kim Case said Kalli had told her she wanted to sit down with her mom and talk about her long-term plans for her life.

“Even in the middle of (Kalli’s struggles with addiction), we thought we had time to fight this,” Case said. “We never considered (death) as a possibility.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

On a Sunday, Kalli was excited and looking forward to the things she’d planned, Kim Case said.

But on the following Wednesday, Kalli overdosed and died.

At 6 p.m. on March 17 at Clear Branch Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Kim Case and Kalli’s Kaleidoscope will tell Kalli’s story in order to bring more awareness to drug addiction and mental health.

Kalli’s Kaleidoscope, a ministry that began after Kalli Case died in January 2020, has made it its mission to “change the way we view addiction,”  Kim Case said.

“We all talk about it but people don’t want to talk about it,” said Kalli’s grandmother, Terry Watkins. “It’s talked about, but no one wants to admit that it could be in their own family.”

Medicines are utilized to fight physical and emotional pain, and alcohol and drugs can be abused for the same reasons, Case said.

“This doesn’t define Kalli’s life,” Case said. “She was a very beautiful, typical 19-year-old who had plans for her life. She was someone who always took up for the underdog.”

Her death came after only months of addiction, rather than years as many people would think, Case said, and she always looked healthy.

It started with smoking marijuana with a friend, Case said. The friend could handle how much he consumed, but Kalli really couldn’t. She progressed to stronger drugs, usually at the encouragement of a friend, moving to Xanax and eventually to fentanyl, an opioid that caused her death. The young man she was involved with was trapped in drug use and pulled her into the trap, too, Case said. Kalli was responsible for her own actions, Case said, but getting away from addiction is hard.

Watkins said she began to notice something was going on with her granddaughter when she would stay over at her house at times. She just seemed “off.”

“I think Kalli realized she was in over her head, because we talked about Mercy House rehab, and she’d promised that week she would go,” Watkins said.

Now they look back and wonder how they missed the signs, Watkins said.

That’s why the event at Clear Branch Baptist Church in Brookhaven is so important to them. Information will be provided to attendees on how to recognize the signs of addiction and mental health problems, so help can be given as soon as possible and not delayed.

A couple of young people will give their testimonies of freedom from addiction, as well as someone who has been through the Mercy House/Teen Challenge program in Georgetown. Local musician Topher Brown, formerly of The Band Perry, will perform and lead in worship.

“Our focus is on getting material out to educate people and help people, and to have fundraisers to help people who otherwise would not be able to go to rehab,” Case said. “And people need to understand going to rehab can mean multiple times.”

“I don’t think anyone can do with on their own, without God,” Watkins said.

“And that’s one thing I’m sure of, and that other people have come to me and talked to me about, even the young man who gave her the (drugs that led to her death) — Kalli had a strong relationship with God,” Case said. “Even in her addiction, she still believed.”

The Wednesday event begins at 6 p.m. and although teenagers and young adults are the focus group, anyone is welcomed to attend.

If you or someone you know needs help with drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out to:
National Drug Helpline’s alcohol and drug hotline at (844) 289-0879