OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. – Two years ago next month, Ann Kreiser lost her son, Jordon Bauer, to a heroin overdose. The number of heroin overdoses has quadrupled in Ottawa and Muskegon Counties during the last five years. Police say heroin is cheap and easy to get.
“Somewhere right now, somebody is facing the same story: they just got a call, and their son or daughter died of a drug overdose,. and it's probably heroin,” said Kreiser.
Kreiser spoke about her son’s death for the first time publicly with FOX 17 and shared what a funny, hard-working person Jordon was.
"He was just a really nice, funny, fun, happy guy to be around, and we don't get to be around him anymore, and we miss him,” said Kreiser.
She said Jordon had a good group of friends, he worked hard at well-paying jobs, and he was in a long-term relationship.
"Jordon had started using, messing around with opiates in high school; nice, clean-cut kids that come from a nice family,” said Kreiser.
But by the time she learned how bad it was, Ann said Jordon was several years into funding a serious addiction.
“He was getting bonuses but he never had any money, he was always broke, and his car was always breaking down,” said Kreiser. "No matter how much he wanted to not have an addiction, he wanted to experience the high again. I think he knew that heroin won."
Drug enforcement officials said since 2009 in Ottawa and Muskegon Counties, heroin overdoses have exploded.
"In Muskegon County we're dealing with heroin overdose-related issue almost daily,” said Det. Lt. Andy Fias, commander of the West Michigan Enforcement Team with Michigan State Police.
On the streets, compared with prescription medication, heroin is much cheaper and gives a stronger opiate high. Officials ask people to report drug abuse. They urge families to spend time with their children and keep an eye on what they are doing.
"People will call when it's in their backyard,” said Fias. “Unfortunately, we're seeing that it's starting to become everybody's backyard problem."
Kreiser warns parents: pay attention to details, watch for changes in your child’s behavior, what they spend their money on, who they hang out with. But ultimately, she said the person addicted has got to want to stop.
"You've got to want to be cured; cured, I don't even know if you ever get cured,” said Kreiser. “You have to want to not be able to ever do it again, and you have to have a really strong support network around you to help you do that."
This Thursday, Feb. 5, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is holding a public town hall meeting from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., at the Ottawa County Fillmore Complex in the main conference room. The address is 12220 Fillmore Street West Olive, MI 49460.
The goal of the town hall is to build on resources, like TalkSooner.org, an organization and app that encourages families to talk openly and early with their children about important issues like drugs.
Pathways, MI is another organization that has resources for parents from mental health services to substance abuse counseling. See their website, pathwaysmi.org.