James DiGiovannantonio: My Son's Story
My name is James DiGiovannantonio and I am from Washington Township, New Jersey. On September 6th, 2009 my wife and I lost our son, Marc, to an accidental prescription drug overdose. At only twenty-two, Marc had his whole life ahead of him, but he died when his own child was just two years old. I am speaking out now because I want Marc’s story to help others. I can’t bring my son back, but I can help other families avoid the horror that my wife and I experience every day.
During his short life, Marc was an outstanding son, brother, and father. As a member of his high school golf and bowling teams, he was also a fantastic athlete. He was loved by countless people and had so much potential. But soon after he started his first semester of college, I began to notice changes in his behavior and sleeping habits. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Looking back on it, I believe that my own ignorance about the disease of addiction didn’t permit me to see it for what it really was. As time progressed, so did Marc’s disease, although he still hid it from us very well. Eventually he started having legal problems and I began to suspect that he was on a path that could lead to jail or death. Never did I think that the latter of the two would actually happen.
My wife and I were away celebrating our wedding anniversary when we received a phone call that no parent should ever have to experience. We were told that our son had stopped breathing and that we needed to get home. By the time we got there, he had already passed away. No one had called 911 until it was too late. We lost our Marc.
I believe that, as a society, we can no longer ignore the disease of addiction. It is taking our kids from us! Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in New Jersey and it is up to us to do something about it. New Jersey should pass Senate Bill 851/Assembly Bill 578, which is Good Samaritan Law that is designed to protect those who call 911 in the event of a drug overdose. If Marc had gotten medical attention in time, he would still be with us today and he would have the opportunity to get treatment for his disease. Calling 911 should never be a crime and addiction shouldn’t be a death sentence. Please support Senate Bill 851/Assembly Bill 578 so that other families can be spared the pain of losing someone dear to them the way that we lost Marc.