Mother on a mission to prevent heroin overdoses after daughter’s death

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s a story that’s becoming all too common. A 25-year-old Middletown woman died from a heroin overdose two weeks ago. Her mother’s mission is to prevent the same from happening to other people.

Elizabeth Loranzo died of a heroin-laced fentanyl overdose.

“Her hair was her outlet. It was the one thing in life she could control,” Wendy Loranzo said.

Loranzo’s daughter Elizabeth used her talent to become a hairdresser.

“Elizabeth was always happy. She was always trying to help people,” Loranzo said.

“Elizabeth could light up a room. She had a beautiful, beautiful smile,” said Kyle Cox, Elizabeth’s fiancé.

Elizabeth graduated from Lower Dauphin High School. She entered the Roxbury Treatment Center in Shippensburg in 2015 to battle her heroin addiction.

“She was depressed and I thought it was postpartum depression,” Loranzo said. “Now I know heroin can affect brain chemistry for months, years, and that’s probably why she was depressed.”

Wendy believes she was clean until March 19, 2017. Her fiancé woke up to find Elizabeth not breathing.

“Oh, my God, she overdosed. I called 911,” Cox said.

“From the time I got the phone call, I just prayed God would take care of her, but she was gone,” Loranzo said.

Elizabeth was gone from a heroin overdose. She didn’t know it was laced with fentanyl, an opioid about 100 times stronger than heroin.

“You think this can’t happen to you, and I woke up to my best friend gone forever.” Cox said. “It’s strong. It’s no joke. It’ll kill you.”

Elizabeth left her fiancé and their 9-month-old son behind.

People kept on telling Wendy “I Care” after Elizabeth’s death, and that gave her the idea to start an organization in Elizabeth’s honor. The organization, called I Care, will provide treatment and education for people and their families.

“I want it to encompass more than just drug addiction, also depression, anxiety, alcohol.”

Wendy wants to prevent more families from losing a loved one due to the heroin epidemic.

“You don’t have to be embarrassed by it,” Loranzo said. “We’re all in this together. We’re going to somehow combat the war on drugs together because I care.”

Wendy says the idea for her organization is still very new, but she’ll let us know how the community can get involved once things get off the ground.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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