Dustin Michael Hallam
June 11, 1993 — Feb 12, 2014
After 4 pregnancies lost in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, my miracle baby was born. He was the light of my life. Dustin was the ultimate comedian. Always cracking jokes. He was a very social person, no matter where he went he knew someone. However he had very few close friends. He never felt that he fit in and was bullied a lot in grade school because he was heavy. This led to very low self-esteem that he was always trying to cover up. At 13, Dustin had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed as Bi-Polar, It took at least a year to get him stabilized on medicine that would work. He started doing really good again- joined the FFA, always doing side jobs for money, did well in school and had a good group of friends. His senior year, he lost his father and grandmother. He started using pills. Eventually he started going to AA meetings and kicking the pills. But then he lost a little girl whom he was very close to in an arson fire. He would never recover from that loss. He started using Heroin 3 weeks later. Within a month of using, he told me about it, he called himself a monster. He immediately went into rehab. Over the next 15 months, he was in rehab 5 times. He had 90 days clean at one time. I knew my son would die from this disease. We discussed what he wanted done if it should happen. His biggest fear was hurting his son, as his addicted father had hurt him, and his son becoming an addict as he and his father had been. Dustin was living in a halfway house in Springfield this last winter. On February 12 at 3am a doctor called me and said Dustin had overdosed. He had been without any vitals for over 45 minutes. They had given him Narcan and gotten a small heartbeat back and had him on life support. My mom, sister and I drove to Springfield that morning and were able to spend 3 1/2 hrs with him until his heart gave out. Dustin’s greatest love was his son Julian, who was 20 months old when his daddy died. His son actually jumped from my arms into the coffin and he laid there on his daddy’s chest, hugging him Dustin had a huge love for family, he wanted lots of children. He left behind a lot of nieces and nephews who are hurting terrible because they don’t understand what happened to their Dusty. Dustin loved Christmas, he actually hung a wooden sign on my front door that says “Hearts come home at Christmas”. I will never take that sign down, so I know he will be there on Christmas in spirit.
Nov 8, 1997 — April 14, 2018
Johnny was a gifted student who suffered from depression. At 17 John got beat up with a bat and from there he had PTSD; After many tries with psychotherapy , he decided to try street Xanax. . We got him on a prescribed dose but that was not enough for him; 1.5 years later he tried heroin laced with fentynl. He fell in love with the euphoric feeling. John never wanted to be clean . From January 2017 to April 14, 2018 was the time he actually used fentnyl. In that time he went thru rehab 3 times. He was home for 6 days from rehab #3 when he OD’ed in his room while I was sleeping. I miss him every minute of every day. He was a good, kind, caring person. The drugs changed his personality. Do not try heroin even once.
Anthony Lee Brown
Jan 13, 1996 — Dec 31, 2017
Anthony was a funny, caring, and handsome young man. I remember the day he was born when he looked at me with those big blue eyes. I was shocked at first because typically African Americans were not born with blue eyes, but at that moment I knew he was going to be so special. As the years went by and Anthony got into his adolescent years, I noticed he had bouts of depression. He also suffered from extreme anxiety. I took Anthony to many mental health specialist who of course prescribed many other drugs, none of them worked! They made it worse in my opinion. Fast forward to the day Anthony told me he was on Heroin. We were outside sitting and he said “mom I need help” Anthony was 20 years old and my first thought was omg he has gotten someone pregnant. Oh how I wish that was true today. Anthony then told me he was on heroin. My response at first was “what’s that” I mean I had heard of it, Anthony and I have even talked about it as we read about other people losing their lives to it. So I was just shocked to hear that from him. I mean we talked about this, hell Anthony was even in the D.A.R.E to stay away from drugs program when he was younger. We were in a good neighborhood with little to no crime. He was in a good school district. He has never been around drugs in his family. How did this happen? With tears in my eyes, I told Anthony we will get help. He was soon admitted to a rehab here in St. Louis and did great. He finished the 30 day program and when I picked him up, I felt he was a new person. After we got home he did great. For about 3 months he was on the right track until he started hanging with old acquaintances. First rule to change bad habits you have to change your people, places and things. Anthony broke that rule. The day he died we had an argument the night before. So the next morning as I was getting ready for work, Anthony apologized to me. I apologized to him. I told him I love him and I just wanted the best for him. As I walked out the door, Anthony turned to me and said “see ya later mom”. I said “see ya later Anthony”. Well I never saw him alive again. While I was at work, Anthony went 2 blocks over to a “friends” house and overdosed. They left him there for hours until a relative who also lived there came home from work. That person then called the police. There are so many things I wish I knew then that I know now. I wish I knew the strong hold heroin has on people. I know now. I wish I realized that good people sometimes make bad decisions. I know now. I wish I realized that 30 days isn’t hardly enough time to rehabilitate someone off of heroin. I know now. For a long time, I felt such shame in the way he died. But I don’t feel that way anymore. Instead of judging Anthony on the way he died, I started to remember how he lived. His drug use was such a brief period of only 9 months total. How could I take away 19 years of his kindness, his smile, his loving nature. That’s who I am proud of. I am proud that Anthony was the type of boy who would never hurt anyone. And I’m proud to know that he wanted help and that he tried. He came to me wanting to live! Unfortunately Anthony lost his battle, but it is my hope that his death not be in vain. It is my hope that his story will deter or save another persons life. Save another family from the hurt and turmoil my family has to live with everyday. Until I “see you later” Anthony. I love you 3000…
Steven was born an easy going person.
Growing up he was very smart and was selected for the gifted program at school. He was good at science and math.
From the moment he woke he was on the go. Very adventurous and curious. Sometimes I wonder if the curiousness is what drove him to try drugs.
He had many friends and was kind to everyone. He was an Eagle Scout, lifeguard and had a girlfriend in High school.
Then he went to college at a very difficult engineering school. There he became addicted to Xanax. The Xanax addiction soon spiraled into a heroin addiction and from there it was a downhill slide.
He had to drop out of his college (which he loved)during his Jr year and go into treatment. Of course, the treatment only worked so long since heroin has a powerful pull.
At the time of his death, he had gotten a job as an IT help desk person but he relapsed after several months. It was during that relapse he was poisoned by Fentanyl in the heroin he had bought on the streets.
He was set for a great future but the opioids destroyed his life and in turn ours. He will forever be missed.
Matthew Jacob Whitlock
July 9, 1993 — Nov 22, 2018
Matthew loved being outdoors in nature, animals — especially his cat, Cookie, trains, writing poetry and music. One could always find him smiling, and everybody who met him loved him. He was gentle, kind and sweet.
This poem he wrote for Renae
Can you show me something dark
Can you dream up your past life
Will you bring me to your grave and show me that i cried
Can we both meet in another life
If we died at the same time could we still be friends
If you could still be here I’d make sure you stay clean
If I could be there I’d switch your place with me
Could we still be friends if I never met you and I died instead
Could I save your life if I tried to pretend that my problems don’t exist
If I could let you live I’d wash the mud from your hands as you climb out of your grave
If we could still be friends I’d promise to move away if you’d promise to stay
Can we both meet in another life if we died at separate times
Could we still be friends if I could go back in time
I’d stay to watch you leave if I could change the past you’d have never met me
Could we still be friends if you never met me and I died by myself
Would you still live your life not knowing my name and if I even exist
If I could let you live I’d take the pain away, erase all the scars as you sit in my place, and I lay in your grave as long as we’re still friends
I don’t care where I’m at I hope we meet in a new life when we are both cats
Anthony Michael Williams
Anthony came into this world as a surprise to me. I didn’t find out I was pregnant with him until I was 8 months along, but I loved him the moment I found out I was pregnant. He was a beautiful and special boy. Artistic, kind hearted, would help anyone, lover of animals, insanely talented in music and art and a loveable guy.
This disease turned him from a sweet, family loving, kind, amazing young man to a person we did not know. I choose to remember my beautiful boy as to how we raised him, loved him, and remember him. He is not this disease, this disease consumed him, he is my son. I know one day I will be with him, hold him, and love him again but until now, I wait patiently to see him. Dob 1/13/96-12/31/2017 not a day goes by without missing you.
Harris Wittels was 30 when he passed away from a heroin overdose on 2/19/15. In his all too short life he accomplished a lot. He did stand up comedy in a club in Houston at just 18 and was awarded Houston, Texas’ third funniest comedian. At 22 he began writing for Sarah Silverman’s show on Comedy Central. After that gig, he went on to write for and then produce “Parks and Recreation”, do standup with Aziz Ansari and Louis C. K., invent the word Humblebrag and write a book about it and have it land in the Webster Dictionary, saw over 300 concerts of the band “Phish”, play drums for a band in Los Angeles, host several podcasts, and write jokes for President Obama. He gave sobriety a valiant try, entering three rehabs in 2014. He had only been taking heroin for 6 months but had started a year before using oxicontyn, prescribed by a doctor for back pain. He lived life large and for him this was the perfect storm. What he did best was be a great son, brother, uncle, and friend. He left so many broken hearts behind and the world lost a ton of future laughs.