Mother pleads for other kids to put down needle after daughters death
ROCKFORD (WREX) -
The heroin epidemic in the Stateline is getting worse. That's according to the Winnebago County Coroner's Office, which says the number of deaths from it are rising. Now, people are fighting back.
"I made a promise to her when I said goodbye to her that I was never going to stop talking about her," said Melanie Crandell.
Crandell lost her 17-year-old daughter Alexis to a heroin overdose — Alexis' first time using heroin.
"She was a pretty outgoing child and I have a 15-year-old daughter who is the same way, and I hope I am doing them proud by not giving up and speaking up," Crandell said.
It was only a few days after Alexis' 17th birthday when her mother received the phone call about her daughter's death. She says she hung up the phone, thinking it wasn't true.
Melanie isn't alone, hundreds of families in Winnebago County have lost a loved one to the deadly drug.
According to the Winnebago County Coroners Office, as of May 1, 2015, there have been 31 drug-related overdose deaths. Twelve were heroin-related and 10 are still pending toxicology results.
"We're pretty much right on as where we were last year," said Winnebago County Coroner Chief Deputy Bill Hintz. "We are averaging about one and a half deaths a week related to heroin."
So the community is fighting back. Rosecrance invited people to Heartland Community Church on Thursday night in an effort to educate them about the deadly drug and how to get help. Anti-drug advocates say one of their best ways to stop heroin deaths is to talk to people.
"She was never not going to be my daughter, and I would scream from mountain tops if I had to to make people aware of what happened to her so nobody else had to go through what I did," Crandell said. "People need to be aware of it, they need to know that it only takes one time."
If you would like to find more information on how to get help, log on to Rosecrance's website or call them at (888) 928-5278.