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On January 27, 2017 our beautiful son, Andrew, died from an overdose of heroin. He was 23 years old. We want to share his story in the hope that lives may be saved and his death will not be in vain. Addiction is a mental illness. No one plans to be an addict. As a child, Andrew was a treasure and was loved deeply, with so much promise and yet he still died from an overdose. Addiction does not discriminate. Using heroin once is all that it takes to get hooked; from then on you are playing Russian roulette. This is what happened to Andrew. Heroin is a demon that affects the way your brain processes pleasure, taking over not just your brain but your life, destroying families and friendships. Andrew was an old soul. He had a big heart and a bright future. As a young child, Andrew was filled with curiosity and a great sense of humor. He was bright, sensitive, smart, kind, and charming. His passion was music and he introduced us to a new, wonderful world of sound. Throughout his life, he had an amazing talent for writing. During his middle school years he started experimenting with drugs, but he said, "this is not for me." We are not sure when he started snorting heroin but as soon as we realized we sent him to a rehab in PA. He spent 90 days there and 3 months in a sober living house. He got a job and moved into an apartment with two of his sober friends. He seemed to be thriving until we got a call from a friend telling us he was injecting heroin. We did everything we could to get him to stop but heroin won the battle. The day Andrew died, we died along with him. We will miss him every day for the rest of our lives. The pain of his death is heartbreaking and intolerable, which is why stories like Andrew's should not be ignored. The only way we will conquer the heroin epidemic is to share our stories and raise awareness. Andrew, we can only pray that you have found the peace you desperately searched for here on earth. We hope you are watching and see how many people loved you and have been truly affected by your death. Drew is survived by his loving parents, Stephanie and Andrew Oswald, Jr, maternal grandmother Jean Sabo, paternal grandmother Dorothy E Oswald, his aunts and uncles Cindy and Paul Passolino, Alison and Stephen J. Sabo Jr. Elizabeth DeGori, Susan and Skeeter Urion, and Susan Lertch. There will be a Celebration of Drew's Life Saturday February 4, 2017 from 3-6 p.m. at D'Errico Whitehorse Mercerviille Chapel located in the Brenna Cellini Building, 2365 Whitehorse Mercerville Rd. Hamilton, NJ 08619.
Heroin killed our son, parents say in starkly honest obit.
By Kevin Shea firstname.lastname@example.org,For NJ.com
HAMILTON -- Obituaries for overdose victims often describe their accomplishments, where they went to school or worked and other generally positive milestones, with little information on how they died.Andrew Oswald III's does not."On January 27, 2017 our beautiful son, Andrew, died from an overdose of heroin," He was 23 years old. We want to share his story in the hope that lives may be saved and his death will not be in vain. Addiction is a mental illness. No one plans to be an addict," his parents Andrew Jr. and Stephanie wrote.They go on, describing how their son, a Hamilton native, fought heroin addiction and completed rehabilitation, and how it roared back and killed him last Friday night in the Scranton, Pa. area. "As a child, Andrew was a treasure and was loved deeply, with so much promise and yet he still died from an overdose. Addiction does not discriminate. Using heroin once is all that it takes to get hooked; from then on you are playing Russian roulette," they write.And, "The day Andrew died, we died along with him...The pain of his death is heartbreaking and intolerable, which is why stories like Andrew's should not be ignored. The only way we will conquer the heroin epidemic is to share our stories and raise awareness."
From her Hamilton home Thursday, Stephanie Oswald said she always believed her son had a bigger purpose, "And if this is what it has to be, we're going to forge ahead and we will take this to the highest level."She plans to be a voice, join with others who have lost loved ones to addiction, and to carry on her son's fight against heroin from the other side. It's clearly not what they hoped for their son, to die at 23."This is not the purpose I thought I would have, but I am certainly going to make this my purpose," Stephanie said.It started with his obituary, she said.
For the record, Andrew Oswald III was gainfully employed recently, Stephanie said.He worked as a counselor at EIHAB Human Services, an organization that serves the adults and children with developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges. "He loved his job, he loved what he was doing," Stephanie said. "He became like a mentor, which makes it even harder to understand his demise like this."He was living and working in Pennsylvania, she said, because it's where they sent him last year for rehab. They noticed his suspected drug use around Christmas of 2015. His eyes looked different, different people started coming around.
One night, she packed his suitcase while he was out and when he came home, she and her husband said to him: "You're either going to live under a bridge, or go to rehab, now."Stephanie had already made the arrangements, and her son chose rehab. He went to a 35-acre facility in Shickshinny, Pa. and thrived in a 90-day program.Then he completed three months of sober living and got an apartment there with a friend, and got the counselor job. His parents got him furniture, and he was doing well until he recently ran into a "revolving door junkie."A friend called, and said Andrew was injecting heroin. "I don't blame anybody, Andrew had freewill," Stephanie said."We did everything we could to get him to stop but heroin won the battle," the parents wrote in the obituary."Andrew, we can only pray that you have found the peace you desperately searched for here on Earth. We hope you are watching and see how many people loved you and have been truly affected by your death," it concludes.Andrew's family will celebrate his life Saturday, from 3 to 6 p.m. at D'Errico Whitehorse Mercerville Chapel, 2365 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road in Hamilton.
Mark always said "No one chooses to be an addict"
He suffered from the Disease of Addiction
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Some people are taking extremely large doses of the anti-diarrhea medication Imodium in an attempt to get high, or to self-treat an addiction to painkillers, in what experts call a dangerous but growing trend.
Although the drug is safe in doses used to treat diarrhea, in large doses it can cause serious side effects, including breathing and heart problems, and even death. A new report describes two cases of people who died after overdosing on Imodium, also called loperamide, which is sold over-the-counter.
"People looking for either self-treatment of withdrawal symptoms [for opioid addiction] or euphoria are overdosing on loperamide with sometimes deadly consequences," study co-author William Eggleston, a clinical toxicologist at the Upstate New York Poison Center, in Syracuse, said in a statement. "This is another reminder that all drugs, including those sold without a prescription, can be dangerous when not used as directed." [Top 10 Leading Causes of Death]
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Loperamide is an opioid drug, meaning it belongs to the same class of drugs as some prescription painkillers. Regular doses of the drug won't cause a "high" because only a tiny amount gets into the blood stream. But at very large doses, the drug can get into the blood stream and brain, and cause effects similar to those of opioid painkillers, the researchers said.
From 2010 to 2011, there was a 10-fold increase in postings on drug discussion web forums about loperamide abuse, according to a 2013 study. About 70 percent of postings in that study involved people discussing using loperamide to treat their opioid addictions, while 25 percent said they took it to get a high. Some people reported taking up to 200 mg of loperamide, which requires 100 pills, and is much higher than the recommended maximum daily dose of 16 mg per day.
The new report describes two cases — a 24-year-old man and a 39-year-old man — who took very large doses of loperamide in an attempt to treat their opioid addictions. When the 24-year-old man was found, his heart had stopped beating. The 39-year-old man reportedly gasped for air before collapsing, which suggest that he experienced a sudden irregular heartbeat, the researchers said.
Although both men received emergency medical services at their homes, they died before they got to the hospital, the report said.
"Our nation's growing population of opioid-addicted patients is seeking alternative drug sources, with prescription opioid medication abuse being limited by new legislation and regulations," Eggleston said. "Health care providers must be aware of increasing loperamide abuse and its under-recognized cardiac toxicity."
The new report was published online Friday (April 29) in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.
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The picture to the left is an example of how powerful Carfentanil is, the amount in that vial will Kill You. And the amounts in the Fentanyl and Heroin vials will Kill you too!
August, at least 96 heroin users overdosed in one devastating, brutal week in just one county in Ohio. It's believed that they were victims not only of their addictions to heroin, but of a synthetic opioid that some dealers are adding to the narcotic to give it an even more powerful – and completely deadly – kick: Carfentanil.
Carfentanil is the most potent commercial opioid in the world, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. It is 10,000 times stronger than morphine, and at least 100 times more powerful than its analog, the opioid fentanyl, which was linked to Prince's untimely death. Carfentanil's only officially recognized use is to sedate large zoo animals like moose, buffalo and elephants. It takes just two milligrams of Carfentanil to knock out a 2,000-pound African elephant, and the veterinarians who administer the drug use gloves and face masks to prevent exposure to it, because a dose the size of a grain of salt could kill a person – and may be lethal even when absorbed through the skin. To be clear, Carfentanil is not for human consumption in any way. This does not stop drug dealers from adding a microscopic amount to heroin to give the drug an even more potent high – even though it's often fatal.
The explosion of drugs like OxyContin has given way to a heroin epidemic ravaging the least likely corners of America - like bucolic Vermont, which has just woken up to a full-blown crisis
"The side effect of Carfentanil is death," says Newtown, Ohio Police Chief Tom Synan, president of the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police and member of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition taskforce, created in 2015 after a spike in heroin use in the area. "This drug knocks out elephants, that should tell us how dangerous it is," says Synan. "If death is the first side effect, the second is an overdose that you may never come out of." According to his intelligence, Synan believes that Carfentanil could signal a new wave of synthetic opioid use. "What we saw in Cincinnati with the spike [in overdoses] was the literal transition from organic opiates, like heroin, to synthetic opioids like fentanyl and Carfentanil," says Synan.
The mother of a New Jersey man who died of a drug overdose hopes a brutally honest obituary will help “conquer the heroin epidemic” that killed her only child. Stephanie Oswald, of Hamilton, said raising addiction awareness will now be the center of her universe in the aftermath of the death of her 23-year-old son, Andrew Oswald III, who died from a heroin overdose on Jan. 27. “He was my miracle baby, I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant,” Oswald told The Post. “I always told him he had a purpose on this Earth, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. But I’m sure not going to let this go — ever.” Oswald said she hopes her son’s untimely death and a brutally honest obituary she penned along with her husband and sister will help others fight their addictions and eventually seek rehabilitation. “And I will be the head of that action,” Oswald said. “This is now my life’s work. I have some really good ideas and I’ve always been a person who will push, scream and crawl to get what I want. There’s going to be an Andrew’s Law when I’m done with this.” Oswald said she intends to target the use of and regulations on Narcan — a drug used to revive people who have overdosed — as well as an awareness campaign about the dangers of opioids. “I want to stop the revolving door of junkies who are able to just overdose and go to a hospital and get Narcan and go back out on the street,” Oswald said. “I believe everyone should have access to Narcan, but regardless of their age, their family should be called so they have a chance at life again.” Oswald said she believed her son only used heroin for a total of five to six months, beginning by snorting the drug. Once they realized he was using, Oswald and her husband sent their son to a rehab facility in Pennsylvania. “He spent 90 days there and three months in a sober living house,” Oswald’s obituary reads. “He got a job and moved into an apartment with two of his sober friends. He seemed to be thriving until we got a call from a friend telling us he was injecting heroin. We did everything we could to get him to stop but heroin won the battle.” When Andrew passed away, a part of his “ridiculously close” family died along with him, Stephanie Oswald said. “We will miss him every day for the rest of our lives,” his obituary continued. “The pain of his death is heartbreaking and intolerable, which is why stories like Andrew’s should not be ignored. The only way we will conquer the heroin epidemic is to share our stories and raise awareness.” Oswald said her son was recently working as a direct care counselor at EIHAB Human Services, which helps children and adults with developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues. He had discussed the possibility of turning the job into a career, she said. A celebration of Oswald’s life will be held at D’Errico Whitehorse Mercerville Chapel in Hamilton at 3 p.m. Saturday. The ceremony will focus on every life he touched, his mother said. “It’s going to be amazing, his celebration of life will be incredible,” she said. “I don’t know how we’re going to fit everyone. And it will be a celebration.” Asked what she would say to other parents who see their children struggling with addiction, Oswald replied: “There’s nothing wrong with taking an extra look at your child when you see them. You need to be on your toes when it comes to your children. Just watch them and be aware — and hug them extra tightly.” The CDC announced in December that more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2015, 61 percent of which involved prescription drugs or illicit opioids. Heroin death rates also increased 20.6 percent from 2014 to 2015, and since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses, statistics show. “Too many Americans are feeling the devastation of the opioid crisis either from misuse of prescription opioids or use of illicit opioids,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.
Here is one of the many news stories about Andrew.
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