"It really hit me like a brick wall how the disease had progressed in my son," she said. "At that moment he was on the brink of death .. I had no idea he'd been shooting up in our house."
So Debbie Knauss, a registered nurse, decided to make it her mission to save Brandon, learning more about addiction and getting certified in intervention services.
"We were a middle-class family with resources and insurance and we couldn't find a solution for our son," she said. "I knew there was a better way."
The first step was to leave Brandon in jail, even when he expected his parents would bail him out.
"My son was intelligent, creative and gifted at every level," she said. "That he would be in jail with criminals. It was the worst six months of my life."
Brandon detoxed "cold turkey" and didn't sleep for two weeks. "I didn't have meds to help me through," he said. "It was horrible, horrible. I would rather die than go through that again."
He entered a six-month rehab program in jail, the turning point for his recovery.
Six months later, Brandon moved back home with his parents. So committed to his recovery, the entire family moved from Houston, where Brandon had been exposed to friends who did drugs, to Dallas.
After school and certification, Debbie Knauss worked for one of the largest intervention companies in the world and eventually started her own company, V.I.P.
Brandon took a job waiting tables and working at a gun range. But about five years ago, Debbie called her son for help with a difficult case.
"The kid was about the same age as me, struggling with drugs," said Brandon. "He sounded just like me."
In their first intervention, the young addict "poured out his heart and soul to Brandon," a turning pointing in getting him the help he needed, said Debbie Knauss.
Since then, the young man has graduated from college, married and had a child.
Soon, mother and son discovered they were a good team.
"We found we had great chemistry working together," said Brandon. More families called for their help and he was eventually able to work with his mother full-time.
"Brandon had special gift and ability relate to young people in the way an adult cannot," said Debbie Knauss.
Debbie is able to relate to the families and their ordeal.
The pair continues to support families.
"We don't give up -- we are fighting for a life," said Debbie, remembering the battle for her own son. "We were willing to do whatever it took never to surrender to the disease and give up on Brandon."
As for Brandon, he takes each day at a time, still seeing a psychiatrist once a month to "blow off steam," and keeping busy with hobbies in his spare time.
But doing interventions has been the biggest part of his own recovery. "I realize how far I've come."
"My family was relentless," he said. "They wouldn't give up on me."