More than 120 Americans die every day from heroin overdoses. From rural farm communities to our urban cities to the suburbs, this disease of addiction impacts families from all backgrounds in every county across our state. My family knows that all too well because our son Tyler died from a heroin overdose in 2011.
My family lives in a suburb of Columbus called Pickerington, where Tyler went to high school. He was the type of kid that every parent dreams of having. Tyler was offered a scholarship to play football at the University of Akron – where he achieved his dreams of playing Division I college football. After suffering a shoulder injury in 2009, Tyler became addicted to prescription pain pills, stopped playing football, lost his scholarship, and eventually returned home to go to rehab. Less than 24 hours after returning home from rehab, we discovered that Tyler had accidentally overdosed.
Tyler’s story is sadly all too common, and I don’t want to meet any more parents in a grief support group. That’s why we founded a group called Tyler’s Light. Our mission is to equip communities and our nation with information and resources to help people choose a drug-free life, while providing resources for family members and friends who are involved in the battle against addiction.
We are fortunate to have a partner in U.S. Senator Rob Portman. For over 20 years, Rob has been leading the charge on drug prevention and treatment efforts. In the Senate, Rob’s bill – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – recently passed by an overwhelming 94-1 margin. His bill expands education and prevention efforts, helps law enforcement reverse overdoses to save lives, and expands treatment and recovery programs.