By Tommy's mom, Stephanie
Jane Lew, West Virginia
My son Thomas (Tommy) Sowell was born June 11, 1991 and passed away on February 13, 2016, from an accidental overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. Tommy’s addiction likely began when he was prescribed oxycodone after undergoing surgery for a hernia during ninth grade.
Tommy was our youngest child - he was a good son, person, and brought joy to all of our lives. Tommy loved his family and tried hard to overcome his struggles with addiction. He was sweet and sensitive, respectful and loving. He was physically strong yet tender-hearted and could be fiercely funny, witty and ornery -- all at the same time. Tommy always made us laugh with his spot-on impressions and general goofiness. His smile could light up a room and his grin would melt our hearts. He was always able to conquer anything he set out to do, except his battle with addiction. We know that given the time he would have been able to beat it.
As parents, we will never recover from the pain of losing our son or from the pain of his absence. Every family who has lost a child to this epidemic must fight to help prevent other parents from experiencing the same tragedy.