A New Jersey mom who lost her son to the opioid crisis is now sending a message that she hopes will save lives.
“I see gaps in education and I want to do something about it,” Shelly Lowe told NBC10.
Nearly a year ago, Lowe’s 27-year-old son Adam died from an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. As the Manchester Township, New Jersey mother of three dealt with her grief, she decided to use her tragedy to help raise awareness about the nationwide epidemic and warn other people about the dangers of heroin. In a video posted by Manchester Police, Lowe shared her son’s story, speaking candidly about what led to his death.
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“They should be afraid,” she says while in tears during the ten-minute video. “They should be deathly afraid to ever try heroin. This isn’t just a disease. This is a plague.”
The video is part of the Manchester Police Department’s #NotEvenOnce campaign, an interactive opiate awareness program for New Jersey high school seniors. Law enforcement agencies across the garden state are now using the program. Lowe has also been a civilian member of the New Jersey State Police for nearly two decades.
“There’s a locker room full of people even here as police officers that are going through the same problems as Miss Lowe in dealing with family members and we’re all in this together,” Manchester Township Police Patrolman Chris Cerullo said.
The video was originally intended to be viewed only in classrooms. When police saw just how powerful it was however, they decided it should be shared with the community and beyond.
“You want every single person that is willing and able to listen to watch this video,” Cerullo said.
Lowe told NBC10 she doesn’t just want her message to be part of another sad story. Instead she wants it to be part of a call to action.
“This turns scholars into rubble,” she said. “This drug affects absolutely everybody.”
The proliferation of opioids continues to claim more lives across the nation than car crashes and homicides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 142 people die from a drug overdose every day. Half of the deaths are linked to opioids.
President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency in August at the urging of the presidential opioid commission. The commission is led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has focused his last months in office around combating the opioid epidemic.