NJ parents use son's obituary to warn of drug dangers

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. -- When people die from drug overdoses their obituaries do not often reveal the cause.

But a Mercer County couple, dealing with the death of their son, say they don't want to hide the fact he overdosed.

In fact, they put it right there in the first line of his obituary.

"I want more parents to be honest when a child passes from a drug overdose," said Andrew Oswald.

He and his wife, Stephanie, are grieving the death of their son, Andrew Oswald III.

The obituary doesn't mince words:

The first line reads: On January 27, 2017, our beautiful son Andrew died from an overdose of heroin. He was 23 years old."

"My message is that people have to stop hiding this. People have to stop hiding this disease. They need to stop pretending it doesn't exist," Stephanie Oswald said.

Andrew was living and working in Luzerne County, Pa., where he stayed after going through a drug treatment program there. His parents did everything they could to help him, but his addiction won out.

"And this is heroin, it's the devil. It's the devil itself and it gets into your child and you can't get it out," Stephanie said.

"It has to sink into these kids. When they do this, once they start, they are playing Russian roulette," said Andrew.

The obituary reveals the Oswalds' heartbreak and their promise to bring the shame of drug addiction out of the shadows.

It continues:

"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 Andrews should not be ignored. The only way we will conquer the heroin epidemic is to share our stories and raise awareness."

"I'm not going to let his death be in vain," Stephanie said. "I am going to shout from the highest mountains and I am going to fight as long as it takes."
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