Lexington mother, others want to raise awareness for heroin

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tonya Meeks didn't even know her son was taking heroin until it was too late.

Seth Wasilkowski, 19, died Dec. 3, 2014. He was one of the 108 overdose death last year in Fayette County.
This year's numbers aren't trending any better. As of mid-July, there have been 82 overdose deaths in Fayette County.

"It was 8:30 in the morning," Meeks said to explain in a conference room surrounded by posters with pictures of her child. "The doctor comes in and introduces himself and tells me that Seth has passed away from a heroin overdose."

Meeks is now on a fight to alert others about heroin. She's hoping she can save someone else's child. The heroin epidemic is one that has plagued Kentucky, especially Lexington. It is a difficult battle to fight, but one that Meeks is eager to engage in.

"I feel like I need revenge," she said. "Heroin took my child so the only way I can get revenge is to arm my community with knowledge."

Meeks is one of hundreds expected to gather at Jacobson Park in Lexington at 10 a.m. Saturday to raise awareness about the drug.
Saturday's event at Jacobson Park will have a live painter, people in recovery speaking about their journeys and a silent memorial walk to a newly planted tree at the park.

Shelley Elswick is one of the organizers of Saturday's event -- a part of International Overdose Day.

"This is not something that if it was personal to me, I would wake up in the morning and think about it all day," she said.

Elswick's son, Alex, is now almost two years in recovery from a heroin addiction.

"It's about allowing families who have had to keep their loved ones death under wraps a chance to know that this community grieves with them," Elswick said.

Medical professionals will also be at the event to hand out prescriptions for Narcan, a drug that will reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

Tonya Meeks, much like the Elswicks, just wants to raise awareness.

"It sucks for me but he's in a better place than I'll ever be and that's the only thing that give me any kind of peace," Meeks said.

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