#kevinsInHeaven, Bay County father's effort to address heroin epidemic
A Bay County father is on a mission to help families who are watching a loved one struggle with drug addiction.
On June 4, 2015 Pastor Steve Peckham was ordained as a minister. Two days later his 22-year-old son, Kevin, died from an accidental heroin overdose while at a party with friends.
"To see your son on a casket is heartbreaking. But I went up to him, pulled up the chair next to him and started to tell him how proud I was of him and he would have done great things in this world. He had so many great things to look forward to. One wrong decision cost him his life."
It has only been 10-months since that day and Peckham says, he's now a dad on a mission.
"I will help anyone, I will go anywhere because I don't want others to make the same mistake my son did."
Peckham has started the #kevinsinheaven ministry. "In the last 10-months I've had over thirty baptisms, visited six counties in Michigan, parents are reaching out to me from across the United States."
The Bay County Health Department has taken notice on what happened to Kevin and so many others in recent time.
A public health advisory was issued in June 2015 after the number of overdoses increased dramatically in one year. Half way through that year, 125 people had reported for emergency services related to drug overdoses.
"We estimate that the number of deaths from opiate overdoses in Bay County was twenty-five which is an all time high," says Joel Strasz, Bay County Health Department Director. "The supply is there, it's cheap, it's available.
Sometime they don't have a lot of treatment options. What we are doing here in Bay County is we have a heroin task force. We want to get the word out about treatment," adds Strasz.
"I truly believe this is an epidemic," saysSgt. Terry Spencer with Pinconning Police.
People want to believe that heroin is a problem that we don't have in a place like Bay City. It's not an inner city problem. It's a Bay County problem and all around our country.
-- Sgt. Terry Spencer, Pinconning Police
The latest numbers by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention show 10,000 in the U.S. people overdosed in 2014.
"I know in my heart that I was a good dad. I never missed a game, I supported him 100%," says Peckham.
He just got caught up in the stress of this world and he chose to cover it up with something that he didn't know would kill him.
-- Steve Peckham
UP COMING HEROIN SUMMITS/Related Events
#kevinsinheaven Benefit DinnerSunday, April 17th
The Bay County Prevention Networkwill be presenting one at John Glenn High School from 6 pm - 7:30 pm on April 28, 2016.
And Delta Collegewill be holding a summit on May 24, 2016.