While the opioid epidemic continues to hurt the nation, the CDC released its latest findings that fentanyl has become the deadliest opioid drug in the country.
A group called Justice for Tommy formed in the memory of local Hagerstown resident, Tommy Norton who died three weeks ago today because of a fentanyl overdose. Their mission is to educate people as well as strengthen the laws against dealers who sell fentanyl.
Norton’s stepdad said Tommy was one of a kind.
“He was constantly cutting jokes and just saying witty things that would keep you in stitches every time you were around him,” Rik Parks said.
Norton overdosed on fentanyl on November 23. Family members like Parks said that Norton battled an addiction before, but Lifehouse Church helped him become a vocal leader about addiction.
“It was very inspirational to a lot of people. People that were battling their own demons at the time unfortunately it came back and got him,” Parks said.
Shortly after Norton’s death, Parks started a Facebook page called Justice for Tommy. The group’s intent was to change the laws in some way so there wouldn’t be another tragic loss like Tommy’s.
“Make the penalties stiffer for the fentanyl dealers, you know the ones that are putting fentanyl into drugs, and sometimes selling straight fentanyl,” Parks said.
The Lifehouse Church is where Tommy spent a good chunk of his time making lifelong relationships, and because of those relationships, Parks says they are able to reach more people with Tommy’s story.
“Tommy was known by so many people and liked by so many people and that gives us an advantage when we try to speak to the public. A lot of people will listen because there was a lot of people that knew Tommy,” Parks said.
In a few hours after the Facebook group Justice for Tommy was created, hundreds of people in the Washington County area liked the page. Just a small step in the journey to making change.
Tommy Norton was 40-years-old when he passed away, he is survived by his three children.
The group Justice for Tommy has made contact with Governor Larry Hogan’s office and will continue to pursue some sort of change in dealing with drug dealers.