Stephanie and Andrew Oswald Jr began their letter boldly stating: ‘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.’
The rest of the obituary continues like a warning:
‘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.’
And explains how hard it had been to try and help their son through his addiction:
‘We did everything we could to get him to stop but heroin won the battle. The day Andrew died, we died along with him.’
Speaking to Fox News, mum Stephanie said she had reservations about being so candid in the wake of her boy’s passing.
‘I felt like I would outing my son,’ she said. But ultimately she agree with her husband that it was more important to share the truth.
‘The only way we will conquer the heroin epidemic is to share our stories and raise awareness.’
Andrew's obituary in full:
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 (609)587-9050.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to City of Angels Inc, P.O. Box 10237, Trenton NJ, 08650. http://www.cityofangelsnj.org/