Joey's Story

CRISIS HOTLINE

419-307-3320

Text 4HOPE to

741741

Tiffin Columbian High School

Joey’s story: Local parents share story of losing son to heroin/fentanyl overdose and their mission to help save others

Joey Silcox was a popular high school athlete at Old Fort high school with a long life ahead of him. But, his life was cut short after losing his battle to addiction on November 12, 2016.
Author: Ray Strickland
Published: 02/22/19

He played sports. He had good grades. He had friends. He had a strong family foundation. Most importantly, he was loved.

Joey Silcox was a popular high school athlete at Old Fort high school with a long life ahead of him. But, his life was cut short after losing his battle to addiction on November 12, 2016.

“I was angry,” said Tom Schwan, Joey’s step dad. “I was angry.”

His parents say he started experimenting with drugs in middle school. They say he started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before he started abusing prescription drugs and heroin up until the very end.

“He thought he could control it,” said Lavin Schwan, Joey’s mother.

The addiction consumed his life. His parents say it got so bad he started stealing tip money from the family business. They sent him off to a California rehab, where they thought he finally turned the corner.

“Being very naïve, we thought he was fixed,” she said.

When he was released, he died not too long after. Schwan, says the pain over the loss of her son will never go away.

“Every part of my being is hurt,” she said. It was like I was walking through life and someone came from behind me and pulled the rug out from under me. And I fell. I fell hard….and I’m laying there trying figure out how to pick myself back up.”

The pain of the loss has turned into a passion to save others. Joey’s parents speak to kids across Ohio, sharing their son’s story. They spoke to students in the North Royalton school district inside the high school’s auditorium.

“It’s hard to share it, but it’s therapeutic as well,” Lavin said.

It was put on by parents of North Royalton students, who started a business called Supply A Future. Dave and Michelle Huzl buy supplies for students and take the profits to support a drug prevention program. Joey’s story was the first event held as a part of their efforts.

“Pressure is very real,” Dave said.

“We want to protect kids,” Michelle added.

Joey was a kid who on the outside had it all. An example, his parents say, how addiction can impact anyone no matter their socioeconomic status. They say it’s a disease that can rewire your brain chemistry.

“It’s not a moral failing. This is not a moral failing. These are not bad people. These are people that need love and support.”

They say education and awareness about addiction are very important, adding children in the third grade should learn about it.

Joey’s parents say it will put a smile on their face if their son’s story can save at least one life.