Voorhees, New Jersey
I lost my son Mark Fuscia to a heroin overdose on February 12, 2010. Mark was a wonderful, kind, respectable, energetic, intelligent and loving person. Our family used to call him the politician because of his outgoing and friendly personality with people.
At the young age of 14 Mark began experimenting with drugs. During this time we thought he was just going through the teenage phase of life, and were unaware Mark had fallen into a strong addiction. He started out with marijuana, then moved to mushrooms, cocaine, pills then heroin.
Mark was really good at various sports from a very young age, but was most passionate about baseball, which he played since elementary school up until the end of freshman year of high school. Although he did very well in school throughout the years, I was told by a teacher that Mark was an excellent student but there was concern that he was a follower. Being a follower, Mark decided after finishing baseball in freshman year to quit the team like some of his friends had done. It was just the beginning of Mark becoming disinterested in things he previously really enjoyed.
As his addiction began the summer before sophomore year of high school, Mark faced a lot of challenges - including arrests as he sold drugs to support his gradual habit. During his senior year of high school, despite all of the ups and downs, Mark had managed to get two partial academic scholarships to college. We couldn't have been more proud of him and continued to show support and love, hoping that he would have a bright future ahead of him.
Mark tried so hard to overcome his addiction and to stay on the straight path, but his addiction was so strong and followed him right to college. We were always supporting him, including trying to help him through these difficult years. All of us loved Mark so much and we were confident that with our help he would be able to overcome his addiction in time. We did not understand this disease of drug addiction until much later.
After Mark passed away I decided to write a book in his honor; as he mentioned to me that his life had been so crazy that he wanted to write a book to help others but unfortunately he did not get the opportunity. The book is called "Why My Son?," which describes what Mark went through as a result of his addiction to drugs. I also teamed up with another parent to form a group called Squash The Secret, where we speak to parents and students about the dangers of drug use with the hope of making a difference as this is a growing epidemic.