Rockford family torn apart by opioid addiction opens up - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford family torn apart by opioid addiction opens up

Bob Salamone Bob Salamone
Joe Salamone Joe Salamone
Bob Salamone holds up pictures of his family Bob Salamone holds up pictures of his family
The Salamone family The Salamone family

As Bob Salamone sits in his Rockford home, he reflects on his children. 

"Bobby was the oldest. Joey's in the middle and then Allie," said the father of three, pointing to pictures on his family. "I had very fun kids." 

Going through the pictures, he describes his oldest son, Bobby, as an actor involved in local theater. Then Allie, his youngest child, who was an athlete who participated in softball and basketball. 

"Great kids," said Bob. "They don't look like heroin addicts to me. They don't look like they were raised by heroin addicts." 

Bob now has just one son remaining, Joey Salamone. For the two, memories are all that remain of Bobby and Allie. 

"I cherish their memory," said Joey. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about either one of them. I would give anything, including myself, to have them back." 

Back to before the pain caused by opioid addiction. 

"How many bad things can happen to one family?" said Joey. 

The addiction started with Bobby. Like many addicts, his addiction started with pain medications. 

"As Bobby experimented he ended up (with) the readily available pharmaceutical norcos, vicodin, which are just flooding our streets, (that) started his addiction. He didn't just decide to do heroin one day." 

Bobby became physically addicted to pain pills. Once the supply ran short, he quickly moved to heroin. 

Bob recalls his sons struggle. "Started out, on his own omission, snorting it. Then graduated to the needle. He tried treatment a few times and to no success and moved out of town." 

Bobby moved to Florida where he started to turn his life around. He got a job, an apartment and a fresh start. 

The new beginning, short lived. 

"His grandfather called me from Florida," said Bob. "The minute I saw that name on my phone I said he's either in jail or he's dead. My ex-father-in-law was in tears and so was I. I started crying. He was gone." 

Bobby was found dead in his apartment. He was just 21. 

When Bobby passed his brother, Joe, was just a teenager. 

"At 17, I was angry. I thought that was stupid of him," said Joe. 

Twelve years have gone by since Bobby passed. 

"Knowing what I do now," said Joe. "I didn't realize what kind of illness that is. You realize that it becomes more than that." 

Soon he and his father would see the effects of opioids, once again. 

"Allie was pedal to the metal," said Bob. 

For Allie Salamone, the youngest child, her addiction started with partying and reckless behavior.

"I knew that we were in for a ride," said Bob. "I always thought in the back of my mind, 'oh, she'll never touch that stuff because her brother's dead from it.'" 

The Salamone's worst nightmare came true, again. First pills, then heroin. 

"Allie went down the road and when we found out it was opioid addiction, I knew she was gonna die," said Bob. "I knew from that day on it was only a matter of time."

"I was very scared," said Joey. "She was my baby sister and I needed to protect her, but I couldn't, because she was entangled with a demon." 

Allie died from her addiction just six months ago. 

While the pain of losing both Bobby and Allie is still present for the Salamone's, the hope of a brighter future lives on for the family. 

"We have a grandson she left with us," said Bob. "I think that he's our strength and our hope." 

The hope for their family lives on through the life of their young grandson Legion. But it's their prayer that by the time he is grown, the reality of this epidemic is one of the past. 

"Are we just going to continue to brush this under the rug and it's just a dirty little thing?" said Bob. "It is as common as all the other diseases of mankind. It's the only disease you can get in trouble for having."  

A dark disease that has changed the Salamone's life forever. Their glimmer of hope remains though, through the touch of a child to his mothers grave that tomorrow may be a brighter day. 

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