My name is Annette Walters and I live in Lawrenceville, Georgia (suburbs of metropolitan Atlanta). I lost my son Chase Jones at the age of 21 years old to an accidental heroin overdose February 6, 2010. We live in what is known as the Heroin Triangle in Atlanta GA. Here is a description: https://georgiadrugdetox.com/resources/triangle-tragedy-heroin-triangle-georgia/
Chase was always a great kid growing up. He grew up with a loving family and we never had any problems out of him. His teachers loved him, he had a great personality and got along well with others. He played sports growing up: baseball, basketball, football and loved skateboarding. At the time we lived in Johns Creek, GA, which is a really nice area. In 2017, Johns Creek ranked third on the USA TODAY list of “50 best cities to live in.” Johns Creek, for example, has a median home value of $372,000, a poverty rate of 4.9 percent, and 63 percent of people in the city have a bachelor’s degree, according to the study. High schoolers in the Atlanta-region city also have the highest average test scores of any city in Georgia.
Things began to change when Chase was about 15 years old. I noticed he started smoking a little pot, which was unacceptable and against our rules. Then eventually he began trying other drugs. At the age of 17, I had lost control of my son and found out he started using heroin. For the next 3 years Chase was in and out of rehab. He would do so good and go to church. We are Christians and he loved God and knew he needed God’s help from the demon of heroin he battled within himself. At 21 years old he was in rehab and doing so well. Then he made a bad choice one day and went out and got some heroin, went back to the rehab house where most of the men were away for the weekend, and Chase was in his bedroom all alone and accidentally overdosed and no one was there to help him. He was not found until one and a half days later on his bed dead when his roommate came home from the weekend on a Sunday night at 10:00 pm.
We were devastated and life will never be the same for us! I got involved with a local group called Pathways2life and became an advocate for drug awareness and prevention. Pathways2life goes around to middle and high schools with their drug awareness and prevention program. Chase’s story is in a video they show at the end of the program and he impacts over 25,000 students a year in metro Atlanta. Chase thought he would overcome his addiction and wanted to help others struggling with addiction because he had walked in their shoes. Today Chase continues to make a difference on other lives from heaven.
On Chase’s back, he had a cross tattoo with the words, God’s Chosen above the cross. I asked Chase why he got God’s Chosen tattooed above his cross and he said, “Because God has chosen me. I am going to reach out and help others with addiction because I have walked in their shoes.” I pray Chase continues to touch other people’s lives through his story.