October 17, 2016 2:06 PM EDT

An Ohio father recorded and made public the heartbreaking moment he told his 8-year-old son that the boy’s mother died from a suspected heroin overdose, to serve as a wake-up call to those who are addicted to drugs.

Brenden Bickerstaff-Clark shared the footage on Facebook of the little boy weeping at a picnic table after hearing the devastating news last week. The video has been viewed more than 34 million times.

“I’ve got something to tell you, OK?” Bickerstaff-Clark says to his son. “Mommy died last night. OK?”

The boy replies: “What do you mean? My mom? How?”

The father then tells his son “from drugs,” and the boy wails.

The mother’s official cause of death will be determined pending the results of a toxicology report, the Washington Post reported.

Bickerstaff-Clark, who said he’s a recently recovering addict, has been both praised and criticized on social media over his decision to make the private moment public. He defended his choice by writing on Facebook that “this is the realization and reality of our disease.”

“This wasn’t staged. This was real. I had someone record this so addicts with children can see the seriousness of our epidemic,” he wrote. “Don’t let this disease have to make someone tell your child that your [sic] dead because of drugs.”

“This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” he added. “Please get help so our children don’t have to suffer.”

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