Nine years ago, I lost my son, Ryan, to a heroin overdose. He was one month shy of his 18th birthday. He had been working hard to remain clean. He said to me, time and time again, "Mom, this is so hard to do -- I have to fight it every day." On Jan. 9, 2004, he lost that battle. Pure Mexican heroin killed him.
Heroin took a beautiful soul, a kind heart, a loving son and brother, and a loyal friend. Heroin took one of the best pieces of me. Heroin has left me broken. I have a gaping hole in my heart that is covered by a thin veil. You never get over the death of your child. Never.
I am urging our lawmakers to find the money to purchase Narcan overdose prevention kits for each and every first responder in Illinois. Last year alone, 3,000 of our children died from heroin overdoses. That is higher than gun deaths in Illinois. They are $20 per kit. Twenty dollars to save a life. Twenty dollars so another mother, father, brother, sister doesn't have to feel this pain. Twenty dollars to save our children.