Family uses man's obituary as warning about dangers of heroin addiction

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Ohio Family Writes Message About Heroin Addiction in Man's Obituary


HARRISON, Ohio -The obituary of a 26-year-old man has become a warning about the dangers of heroin for anyone who reads it.

Alex Hesse overdosed on heroin last week. His family is devastated, but said instead of leaving the cause of his death out of the obituary, they wanted to make it prominent.

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"His brother, Andrew, and sister, Allie, wrote his obituary," said Alex's mother, Penny Hesse. "And they felt it necessary to let other people know this drug kills."

The obituary begins: "In life, one little decision can make a huge impact on not just you, but also those that love and care for you."

It goes on to say, "Drugs took ahold of his life, changed him and destroyed so much of the hope and promise in his future."

Hesse's mother said what got hold of her son was pure evil.

"It was a demon. It was heroin, and it took over his life," she said.

Hesse had a large family with lots of support, living in a nice neighborhood in Harrison.

"It doesn't take more than one time with heroin. One time you take it, and you're hooked," said Alex's father, Rick Hesse.

Hesse fought addiction for years, even completing rehab. But he always regressed.

"Nobody wanted more than him to get better, and it took over and made him a different person, because that's just what the drug does," his mother said.

Hesse was jailed on drug charges recently, and his mother went to court to ask the judge to keep him there, because she felt he would be safer behind bars until he could get treatment.

Penny Hesse told the judge if her son was released, "He would never make it back to court for his sentencing alive."

A judge agreed, but despite that, Hesse was released because of overcrowding.

Hesse's family wants to warn other families to be vigilant about the dangers of heroin.

"It's an epidemic. It's worse than the plague, and it's wiping out an entire generation," his mother said.

Services for Hesse are set for Wednesday at Brater-Winter Funeral Home in Harrison. His family asked that any donations be made in his memory to Drug Free America.

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In the months following Alex Hesse's death, his story has touched close to home for others who have had to endure similar circumstances. Others have surfaced since, including the story of 24-year-old Molly Parks and the story of 27-year-old Ryan Bossie. Both also lost their lives to overdoses.

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