1 of 2
State Sen. Chris Brown, R-2, was in attendance at ACUA headquarters in Atlantic City on Wednesday as Governor Phil Murphy signer an executive order to return the state to national leadership in offshore wind energy. Wednesday, January 31
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey held an Atlantic County-focused Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall at Stockton University. The event welcomed residents to talk about prescription drug and heroin addiction in their communities and possible ways to address the public health crisis. There were 85 drug-related deaths in Atlantic County in 2015, according to state officials. More than half included heroin use. Tonia Ahern of Parent to Parent was on the panel. April 10, 2017 (Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer)
1 of 53
Chad L. Harper, 38, of Galloway Township and Orlando, Florida. Pictured with his daughter, Gabrielle.
"Chad was a charismatic person, he lived and loved life. Chad grew up in New Jersey and was working at the House of Blues in Disney Springs Florida at the time of his death. Chad loved his family, especially his daughter Gabrielle.
"We will forever miss him, our hearts are broken." -Laurie Johns-Devito, his mother
"My child may have died; but my love - and my motherhood - never will." -C.S. Lewis
David E. Hinkley Jr., 52, of Somers Point, formerly of Delaware
Feb. 12, 1965 - Oct. 19, 2017
Hinkley was born in Atlantic City and also lived in Brigantine and Absecon. He lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for 10 years.
Frankie Vitagliano Jr., 38, of Brigantine
Born on January 10, 1989 and died from a heroin overdose on December 11, 2017.
"He left behind a son, a fiancée and a family who will miss him forever. Forever in our hearts!" -Michelle, his mother
Gregory DiAntonio, 32, of Wildwood
"Miss you every day ❤️" -Kreni DiAntonio, his mother
Matt Guzman, 23, of Buena
April 21, 1993 - August 27, 2016
"Matt was more than drugs. He gave so much and asked for so little. Get then help before it's too late. I love my son forever and enough is enough." -Linda Rivera, his mother
Jeffrey Giannini, 30, of Ventnor, died of a heroin overdose June 1.
Joshua Zeuner, 30, of Galloway Township
February 12, 1988 - July 7, 2018
"One Life Who Made an Impact on Every Life He Touched. Loved and Never Forgotten." -Candace Mazza, his fiance
Kevin J. McCarthy, 27, of Vineland
July 3, 1990 - Sept. 28, 2017
"Loving father, son, brother, uncle, fiancé, and friend. His wings were ready, but our hearts were not. Forever in our hearts."
Tommy McLaughlin, 39, of Egg Harbor Township
Died June 2, 2018, from a drug overdose after a long battle with addiction.
"Tommy will not be defined by his addiction, but by his caring and quiet demeanor."
Sean Hartley, 33, of Somers Point
Born Dec. 26, 1981. Hartley passed away of a heroin overdose on March 15, 2015.
“Hopefully everyone with an addiction sees the pictures of our loved ones that are gone, will seek out the help that they need to overcome their addiction. I miss my son everyday, he will forever be in my heart.” -Patti Nugent, his mother.
Christine Williams, 37, of Absecon
“RIP I miss you my Aquarius angel ❤ lucky 33/37.” -Jennifer McGaffney, friend
Steven James Schmincke, 26, of Mays Landing
"Addiction cannot define Steven's life. He was a good hearted son, brother, father and fiancé. There was so much more to you. We miss and love you Steven." -Bill and Tammy Schmincke, his parents
Katelyn Marie Elwell, 18, of Mays Landing
“She was a loving friend to everyone she met and had an infectious laugh.” -Susan Elwell, her mother
Ashley Gitto, 25, of the Lower Bank section of Washington Township.
“We will love you and miss you FOREVER 💔” -Matt, Kathy & Courtney Gitto
Andy Dietrich, 37, of Margate
“Loved life and playing volleyball on the beach with his brothers.”
Michael Firrincilli, 37, of Galloway Township
Died from a heroin overdose on Sept. 28, 2015. He left behind his two daughters, 4 and 19, his long-time girlfriend and his family. He is missed every single day.
“While he wasn’t able to save himself from addiction he did save 5 lives from organ donation and that helped us through his loss because he was the type to give you the shirt off his back and feed whoever needed to eat. He had the biggest heart.”
Raven Kunze, 30, of Toms River
Kunze passed away from an accidental overdose on May 2, 2015.
Melissa A. Endicott, 31, of Absecon
“She was full of life, ambitious, and had the biggest heart. My sister was more than her addiction and I always want her to be remembered for the beautiful soul she was. Rest peacefully my guardian angel.” -Amanda Endicott, her sister
Samantha Jo Bender, 23, of Gibbstown
She had a 4-year-old daughter.
Jenny Renee Turner, 32, of Woodbury
Turner she passed on July 21, 2007 in Camden after being sober for almost 3 years and left behind a son.
"Not a day goes by we do not miss her and the wonderful caring person she was. I love you Jenny." -Desiree Turner, her sister
Paul (Randy) Lacey, 53, of Egg Harbor Township
“He battled with his addiction to heroin for 10 years. Before that, my father was clean and sober from all mind altering substances for 25 years. He was in a car accident and prescribed pills, which lead to shooting heroin. He left behind his wife of 35 years, his daughter and two grandchildren. Fly high daddy fly high! I hope I make you proud!” -Brandy Henkes, his daughter
James A. “Grizzly” Clark III, 26, of Northfield
Clark overdosed on heroin at the West Palm Beach Airport in Florida and passed away on Dec. 24, 2014.
“He was coming home to Northfield for Christmas to see his son, JJ.” -Donna Clark, his mother
James Matthew Robinson, 27, of Sea Isle City
“We miss you every single day.”
Justin Toscano, 24, of Egg Harbor Township
“Justin was my boyfriend for seven years. We lived together in Philadelphia after I finished college so I could find a job. He went to rehab on Valentine’s Day 2012. After rehab, he seemed like he was finally ready to get clean and almost had a new outlook on life, even after only being approved for a 28-day inpatient rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, Justin relapsed one day while I was at work and I found him dead in our apartment when I got home. Justin was a Union 351 Electrician. The most important thing in his life was working hard, taking care of and being with his family, friends and me. I miss him and think about him everyday.” -Julia Mastalski, his girlfriend
Matthew Mason, 24, of Egg Harbor Township
Mason died three years ago from an overdose.
“There is not one day that goes by that my heart does not ache to just hug him one more time! I love and miss you so much!” -Theresa Allmond-Mason, his mother
Josanna Feldman-Smith, 34, of Galloway Township
“With a hole in our hearts that will never heal. Love always, Dad.” -George Smith, her father
Timothy F. Milam, 31, of Vineland
January 14, 1984 – October 24, 2015
“There’s always gonna be another mountain I’m always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose Ain’t about how fast I get there Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side It’s the climb” Love, Mom and Dad, sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
Christian McCarthy, 45, of Millville
Graduated from The College of New Jersey with honors and Widner Law School.
Died Aug. 18, 2015 of a heroin overdose. Missed very much by his family.
Fred Taylor, 46, of Haddon Heights
Unfortunately passed away on Aug, 21 due to heroin. He did save one life by donating his organs.
Daniel T. Michael, 30, of the Pomona section of Galloway Township
Hailey Gabrielle Jones, 19, of the Smithville section of Galloway Township
Passed away Aug. 13, 2014.
"Hailey was a beautiful, vibrant girl whose smile and infectious laugh could light up any room. I miss her more every long day...”
Beau Michael Reilly, 21, of Egg Harbor Township
Ryan B. Beard, 29, of Point Pleasant
Rutgers University Graduate
Outstanding baseball player and beloved coach
Jesse Flynn, 22, of Sayreville
"Our son Jesse passed away from a heroin overdose on May 29, 2016. He left behind a daughter only 8 months old and a family who loved him deeply. He was kind, witty and full of dreams! If he had a choice he wouldn't have chosen this disease. He had too much to live for!" -Linda Flynn, his mother
Thomas John Latham, 24, of Hamilton Township
“You are always and forever in our hearts. Your light will always shine! Shine on Tom! We love you!!” -his parents
Mark Aishton, 33, of Galloway Township
“The world will never know what these young men could have accomplished. It is not just our loss but the country’s as well.” -Marilyn Aishton, his mother
Dan Miller, 27, of Mays Landing
“Dan passed 6 years ago due to a drug overdose. Our family looks forward to the day God reunites us all.” -Dave Miller, his father.
George John Lees, 33, of Galloway
Dec. 8, 1982 to April 12, 2016
"One month from his masters. He was dedicated to higher education and he loved his son with all his heart."
Harry F. Snyder, 25, of Marmora
“He was dearly loved and will be forever missed and grieved.” -Maureen and John Snyder, his parents
Michael Hesselbach Jr., 20, Saint Charles, Missouri
Died from a heroin, fentanyl overdose
Brandon D. Cooper, 29, Villas section of Lower Township
"A quote comes to mind: 'Goodbyes hurt the most, when the story was not finished...' It’s up to us, your family and friends, to share your story and keep your memory alive. By raising awareness of this growing epidemic, hopefully we will reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and will help someone regain control of their life. We will continue to share your story, your memory will live on and your death will not be for nothing, we promise you."
Tyler Jay Onesty, 22, of Ocean City
"Loved and respected by many! His story is already saving others as he tried to do till the end of his battle with addiction."
Dylan Amodio, 24, of West Collingswood Heights
"Son, brother, nephew, uncle, step-son, grandson and friend. Thank you. I don't want him to ever be forgotten." -Jane Pinos, his mother
Briana DeSalis, 22, of Philadelphia
She was originally from Mays Landing.
"Lost my angel 02/17. Love and miss her." -Timothy DeSalis
Alexander K. Platt, 24, of Cream Ridge
"Forever 24, loved and missed beyond measure. Our lives are forever changed without you here with us.
He fought hard started with alcohol in middle school and escalated to heroin. 13 plus rehabs, 2 sober living, 11 overdoses. Maximum time clean and sober was approx. 3 years, 8 months. Related and gone in less than a year.
This disease needs to stop!"
Joshua Gillard, 27, Bay City, Michigan
Gillard accidentally overdosed on March 28, 2017 on fentanyl.
"He has three beautiful children and the love of his life, Sylvia. Deeply missed by family and friends."
Zachary Harrison Wolfe, 24, of Northfield
"Loved beyond words and missed beyond measure."
Justin Curtis Wilsoncroft, 26, Lancaster, Ohio
Wilsoncroft died from a lethal dose of fentanyl on Dec. 11, 2016 in Lancaster Ohio.
"The worst day of my life finding him that morning. Addiction affects the whole family, our lives have changed forever. Forever 26, missed and loved forever."
James Craig Matzen, 24, Troy, New York
"He is deeply missed." -Amanda Kernahan, his sister
King Shaffer, 49, of Marlton
John Ryan Chance, 33, Hammonton
"He was very caring, funny and charismatic. He leaves behind an 8-year-old son, a sister and his parents. He is forever loved and missed."
Thomas Martin Kelly, 34, of Charlotte, North Carolina
"My beautiful second son and father of four."
Stephanie Stowe watches her homeless son day in and day out struggle with an addiction to heroin, knowing there’s not much she can do.
No matter how much asking and begging she could do, Stowe, of Millville, can’t force her adult son to go into detox and treatment or participate in the county’s drug court program, even if the latter was how she achieved addiction recovery.
What she does hope happens is that the state adopts an involuntary-commitment law that would allow experts to put people with a substance-use disorder into treatment against their will.
While it remains controversial, proponents say they support the idea if it will save people from dying of overdoses.
Addiction prevention and treatment advocates want to bring together South Jersey communities…
“People in the beginning can be resistant to treatment,” Stowe said, “but with the process of being forced to go through something like involuntary commitment, they may get time for the fog to clear so they could think a little clearer. I strongly believe it could save lives.”
With bipartisan support in both the state Assembly and Senate, legislators are pushing a bill to establish an involuntary-commitment system for people with substance-use disorders, something 35 other states have as of 2016, according to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws.
The system would make it easier for relatives and treatment experts to get people into treatment when they might otherwise refuse.