Abby Boxman sat with a framed photo of her son in her hand.
A son she lost to an overdose a little less than a year ago.
The Monmouth mother was at the in Mendham Tuesday to share her story with the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use Amongst New Jersey's Youth and Young Adults.
A story, she hoped would save other mothers from the pain she feels.
She described her 21-year-old son Justin as a good kid who could not overcome the addiction that lead to his July 13, 2011 passing.
"Or angelversary as they say in heaven," Boxman said.
An emotional Boxman said that she wasn't sure if she was going to be able to testify for the panel, but that the support she received from GRASP (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing) has helped her get stronger.
"I am doing this for my son," Boxman said. "This type of pain I wouldn't wish on anyone. I wouldn't wish this on the worst person in the world.
For her part, Boxman said her conversations with other members of GRASP has led her to common denominators.
"Nearly everyone I speak to said the same thing. They start with prescription drugs and move on to heroin," Boxman said. "I don't have statistics, but this is an epidemic."
Chairman of the Task Force, Frank Greenagel Jr., did have the statistics, stating that New Jersey has seen a 79 percent increase between 2009 and 2011 in admissions to treatment centers for opiate abuse amongst those under the age of 25.
"We are losing our future leaders," Boxman said.
Editor's note: This is the third of a five-part series about a hearing held at Daytop Prep School in Mendham by the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use Amongst New Jersey's Youth and Young Adults.