By Kevin's mom, Amy
Prospect Park, Pennsylvania
When I found out that I was pregnant with my third child at the age of 22, I was surprised and happy. Kev was born on May 3, 1993, I was so grateful to have three healthy children.
From the get-go Kevin was a mama’s boy. By the time he got to middle school he was a talented athlete and very involved in sports but school just didn’t click for him. Kev started showing signs of ADHD very early on. I tried to get him an Individualized Education Program (IEP) but was denied, so I put him in counseling. He turned to drugs to cope with the stress of his struggles.
Kev was arrested shortly after his 18th birthday for robbery of three houses in our neighborhood. He didn’t commit the crimes alone, but he wouldn’t snitch on his friends. He received an 18 month sentence in county prison and $30,000 in restitution. Both myself and Kevin’s father visited him and put money on his books the entire time he was in prison. At that point Kev was using pills.
Six months after his release he started using Heroin. Kev was very honest with me and said, “It’s OK. I am only snorting it.” I almost fell out of my chair. I told him how dangerous it was and that he needed to get help. He was in and out of countless rehabs until he was sent back to jail in February, 2015. He was caught using heroin in a bathroom stall on 69th St in Upper Darby and was arrested for violating probation. He was sentenced to seven months in county jail.
Again I was putting money on his books and visiting as much as possible, but this time around I was suffering from depression and anxiety attacks, so my visits were limited. Kev and I spoke on the phone at least 3 to 4 times per week. His release date was September 30, so in July I started to reach out to local politicians, the DA and even his public defender to see if there were any programs for him or if he could enroll in the military. I got one response from a local politician who said he would look into it but I never heard back. As September got closer I reached out to his probation officer several times but got no response. Finally, I left a message saying he wasn't doing his job and that I was going go over his head to the next in charge. I got a phone call the next day from him saying it was a courtesy call--he is not supposed to respond to calls from anyone other than his clients. I asked if there was anyway of getting Kev into a halfway house because I knew he wasn't ready to come home. I also asked if Kev could go to Florida to a recovery program but the request was denied because Kev had state insurance and five felony charges. I informed the PO that it was not safe for Kev to return to the same area where he was arrested, so the PO held Kevin in jail for two extra months while he waited for a bed to open in a halfway house.
Kevin was released the Monday before Thanksgiving to a local halfway house. He was put on blackout for seven days and then was allowed to go out for four hours at a time. Kevin worked for the newspaper union as an extra so he would call in daily for work. The Thursday after Thanksgiving Kevin was booked for an 11pm to 5am shift. I picked him up from work, dropped him off at the halfway house and waited to hear if he had work on Friday night.
Kevin told the halfway house that he had work but proceeded to contact a cellie from jail who came to pick him up. When Kevin arrived back at the halfway house he tested hot for suboxone. He was kicked out immediately and the halfway house never contacted me. Kevin responded to my texts but wouldn’t answer my calls, saying the speaker on his phone was broken. Kevin was on the streets for a week before he came clean with me.
All I kept thinking was here we go again. Kev said it was time for him to be a man and he would get himself to rehab. He was approved for 26 days of treatment. Seven days before his release, I requested a family meeting with his counselor. My self, my fiancé and my ex-sister-in-law went for the meeting. The counselor informed me that on Monday the aftercare specialist was going to have a conference call between Kevin myself and the counselor. Well, Monday came and went and no call, so I started leaving messages with the counselor. I called everyday and left messages--no response.
Jan 7, 2016, came around and Kev said, “Ma, come get me, I got my coin.” Off I went to pick him up. He came home so happy and ready to stay clean. He went to probation the next day where he asked the PO to see him twice a week to keep him honest, which the PO did for one week. The following week the PO told Kev he didn't have time to see him so often. The PO ordered Kev to complete IOP, so on January 8th he called and was told the first opening was 22 days away. Kevin went 22 days with no treatment except for NA meetings and a bible study group of men in recovery.
On the 29th of January I took Kev to IOP for his evaluation and when he came out he said, “All good, my first session is on February 1st.” On February 1st I woke up at 7:43am because my grandson was being dropped off at 8:00. At 7:48 I went out front to smoke a cigarette. While I was sitting on the steps my neighbor, who was leaving for work, said, “Hey, do you by chance have a knee brace?” I said, “Wait one second I have one in Kevin's closet.” I went into Kev’s room and found him sitting on the side of the bed with his head in his hands and his hoodie on. I said his name two times and got no response. I ran down the stairs, threw the knee brace out the door and started screaming for help. I ran back into Kev’s room yelling his name and screaming for my fiancé to call 911. I went to touch Kevin’s shoulder and his stiff body fell to the floor. I saw the needle 1/2 full of clear liquid. My fiancé was on the phone with 911 and they told me to check for a pulse. I went to move his hoodie to get to his neck and all I saw was the side of his face---purple and cold. He was Dead. A mother’s worst fear comes true.
Kev passed away on February 2, 2016, from an overdose of poisoned heroin.