Opioid Epidemic Touches Chatham Mother Whose Son Died of an Overdose

Kelly Loofbourrow, coordinator for MACC Credits: TAP Chatham
Marilyn Musielski, coordinator for MACC in Madison Credits: TAP Chatham

"There were no needles, nothing injected. No pipes. Nothing smoked. You drank it in a tea. And it killed you. Dead the day before my birthday. Dead one month before your 23rd birthday."

Written by a Chatham mother in a letter to her son

CHATHAM, NJ - Kelly Loofbourrow and Marilyn Musielski are like the Paul Reveres of their time, trying to warn everyone in the Chatham and Madison communities of the invading enemy. The only problem is that it's an enemy most people don't see coming.

Sign Up for E-News

"Most people have a stigma about drugs and the thinking is that in New Jersey the problems are in certain communities," Loofbourrow, coordinator for the Municipal Alliance Committee of the Chathams. "The reality is that is no longer true. Because of an additive called Fentanyl, over the last five years, drug overdoses have doubled."

The Municipal Alliance Committee of the Chathams (MACC) is out to spread the word about the dangers of prescription drugs, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 in the Chatham High School auditorium with an Opioid/Heroin Awareness: From Crisis to Opportunity seminar.

"The United States uses 80 percent of the opioids and we use 90 percent of the hydrocodone," Musielski said. "Seventy five percent of heroin users started with prescription opioids. If you take a prescribed opioid before the game of 18, you have a 33 percent more of a chance of substance abuse later in life."

Given that heroin is now being made cheaper to purchase and that the drug is more addictive than ever, it's important to know that delaying the use of prescription painkillers is vitally important.

"There are other pain-management options," Loofbourrow said. "For someone under the age of 18, opening that Pandora's Box is unnecessary."

Below is an open letter written by a Chatham mother after the tragic loss of her son to a heroin overdose.

There were no needles. Nothing injected.

No pipes. Nothing smoked.

You drank it in a tea.  And it killed you.

Dead the day before my birthday.  Dead one month before your 23rd birthday.

My beautiful, sweet, kind, brilliant, accomplished, funny son is dead.  And the hole in our lives will never be filled. 

We had no idea you were using heroin and we do not know why you started. We will never know.  

It has been three months since three policemen came to our door at 10:30 on a Thursday night to inform us that you were dead.  Found by your roommates, in your bed. 

After the screaming, after the tears, after the drive to your school the next day, after meeting with the detective, after seeing your cold lifeless body, after putting your cremation bill on a credit card, all we could say through our tears was - Why? 

Why did this happen?  You had straight A's last semester.

Why did this happen?  You were going to graduate Cum Laude in May.

Why did this happen?  You already accepted a fantastic high-paying job.

Why did this happen?  You had to take drug tests to get your three internships.

Why did this happen?  We spent a wonderful month with you at Christmas.

Why did this happen?  You knew heroin could kill you. 

All we are left with is photographs, memories, and questions. But it is only the questions that multiply.

We will get no more photographs. We will enjoy no more memories. But we will forever question why.    

Was it from the drugs prescribed when you had your wisdom teeth removed?  

Was it from painkillers from the herniated disc in your back?

Was it from your anxiety?

Were you curious?


You told someone that you "knew how do it safely.";

You were wrong.

There is no safe way to do these drugs. 

You may get lucky once. 

Or twice. Or more. 

But there is no coming back from the hold it has on you. It always wins in the end.

Addiction or Death. Those are the only choices it gives you.

And for you, my beautiful, sweet, kind, brilliant, accomplished, funny son - it was both.

Addiction AND Death.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Beth Ferris Sale

March 18, 2018

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History ...

Watchung Hills Coin Club's 36th Annual Coin Show is April 8

March 18, 2018

The annual Watchung Hills Coin Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Elks Lodge #1068, 375 Union Ave. (Rt. 28), Bridgewater.

This is the only show sponsored by a local coin club in Central New Jersey. It offers free admission and parking. Young Numismatists are welcome.

The show is the ideal one-stop shopping venue for sellers, as well as buyers. For those wishing ...

Union County 4-H Club Reaches Out to Help after Hurricane Maria

Student members of the Union County 4-H Variety Club reached across local and state borders to help displaced pets earlier this year. Through their “4-H for our 4 Pawed Friends” community service project, they collected donations to help St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison after the organization sheltered more than 700 pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

A ...

LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Cancer Recovery Program Session Begins March 20

A new spring session for The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a 12-week cancer recovery program, will begin at the Berkeley Heights YMCA on March 20, 2018. The program is a research-based physical and wellness program in which certified Summit Area YMCA trainers work with participants to achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG®  at the YMCA helps cancer survivors who find themselves in the ...

Discover Your Inner Ballet Dancer


This 8-WEEK class will be focusing on the classical technique of ballet in a fun and easy to understand manner. You can expect a full ballet class experience from working at the ballet barre, to leaping across the floor! No experience is necessary to participate. Easy to move in clothes, and socks or ballet shoes are recommended.


NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

March 14, 2018

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 17, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, March 18, 10:00 AM


Camp Riverbend Open House

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday



Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Surreal Places, Imaginary Spaces: A Literary Tea

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Crescent Concerts Presents Annual Festival of ...

Arts & Entertainment

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...