Health & Wellness

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


Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Most South Orange Maplewood Schools Plan to Participate in National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14

March 12, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Wednesday, March 14, the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is organizing a National School Walkout. According to the national march website, the walkout is for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. "to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods... and to demand Congress ...

South Orange and Maplewood Share Snow Storm Photos

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ — TAPinto SOMA wants your snow storm photos!

Send your pictures to and we'll add them here.

Check back later to see what your neighbors have added.

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Sat, March 17, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers' Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Millburn Township Battle Against Proposed Stop & Shop Comes to an End

March 15, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ --  Alexander McDonald, Millburn Township Business Administrator, announced that the 24-year court battle with Stop & Shop ended with a dismissal before the pending trial commenced. Originally, Millburn Township and the Board of Adjustments faced four separate suits, which was consolidated into one case for trial. 

McDonald stated: "This has been a ...

Newark High School Students Take Part in Nationwide Walkout, Calling for Gun Violence Change

NEWARK, NJ - High school students all across Newark walked out of their schools and into the streets as part of a national protest against gun violence, calling on politicians, parents, and the general population to push for real change in the wake of the Parkland shootings.

"Thoughts and prayers and not enough," chanted the entire 2,000-strong school population of students, teachers ...

Springfield Residents Cope as Power Slowly Returns

March 10, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As of Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. Springfield is showing outage of 2,677 or 25 percent, which is down from over 40 percent in the last two hours. It is also down from 68 percent at the peak. Union County at this point is over 20 percent of JCP&L’s statewide outages. Trucks are visible on Township streets with a caravan spotted on ...

Two Thirds of Springfield Without Power: Chisholm Open as a Warming Station, Trucks at Waverly Substation

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Chisholm Community Center was humming Friday afternoon as Springfield residents took shelter from the cold. Some residents have been without power since the first Nor’easter last Friday. With temperatures hitting a low of 30 degrees, many households were hovering around 50 indoors.  A FEMA grant recently obtained by the Engineering Department enabled Chisholm ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - March 16 to March 22

March 16, 2018

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Litofish Sardines $5.99ea (Ashley Fish Market)
Total Fage Yogurt 4/$5
Aviv Passover Matzos 2/$7
Ground Beef $3.99lb (Meat)
Roasted Vegetables $7.99lb (Prep Food)
President Brie $6.99lb (Cheese)
Iceberg Lettuce $1.99
Serrano Ham $14.99lb (Deli)
Turkey Hill Ice Cream ...

SOMA Film Festival Starts Friday Night, March 16

The 3rd annual SOMA Film Festival is finishing up the final touches before they kickoff this weekend's event at The Woodland, Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange, and Maplewood Theater.  

With 16 screening programs there is something for everyone. The popular Kids Program is back for two engagements with both sold out as is the Opening Night Party and Screening. 

Tickets are still ...

West Orange Elementary Teacher Succumbs to Injuries Following Accident

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Washington Elementary School first-grade teacher Patricia Villarosa, 64, of West Orange, died on Friday at University Hospital after being struck by a car on Pleasant Valley Way on Feb. 26.

Villarosa was on her way to the West Orange Board of Education meeting at the time and was struck while crossing Pleasant Valley Way near West Orange High School. The driver, a 55-year-old ...