Syracuse media personality Brent Axe is joining with the Syracuse Crunch to raise awareness of the heroin and opioid problem in Central New York.
Axe lost his niece, 24-year old Morgan Axe, a little over two years ago to a heroin overdose.
“I still can’t believe it. You almost have to literally get up in the morning and remind yourself this happened.” Axe tells NewsChannel 9.
Like many people, Morgan’s addiction started with legally prescribed medication and then took the vicious slide down to heroin.
Axe remembers, “What it does to you physically, what it does to you mentally. How…the wiring in your brain and how it changes the chemistry of your body. Once it got ahold of her she really struggled to get out of it.”
Axe says he’s speaking about his family’s story to help get rid of the stigma and show heroin and opioid addiction can happen to anyone.
He’s also hoping to raise awareness about help out there, something his sister worked tirelessly to get for Morgan.
“Just know you’re walking into a fight. We’ve got people out there that will help you through this but it’s not going to be easy.” Axe says.
After a long struggle with her addiction Axe says his niece had finally gotten herself into a good place.
Morgan Axe was five months pregnant and found something she really loved, working with animals at the DeWitt animal hospital.
She was clean for about five months but Brent Axe says she slipped one night.
“That’s a phone call I wouldn’t wish on anybody. It was actually my mother who called and I could barely make out what she was saying because she was hysterical but I knew what had happened.” He says about learning Morgan had overdosed at her mom’s house on a bag of heroin laced with fentanyl.
Anthony Vita, the Syracuse man who sold Morgan seven bags of the heroin and fentanyl mix, and handed her the syringe to shoot up, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday. He’s facing 15 years in prison and possibly a $1 million fine.
Little solace, Brent says, which is why his focus is sharing Morgan’s story.
“If I can make people aware of this issue, if I can help save one life then it’s all going to be worth it. That’s the least I can do for my niece, that’s the least I can do for other people going through the same struggle.”
Brent axe will be part of the heroin and addiction awareness forum put on by the Syracuse Crunch and the Heroin Epidemic Action League (H.E.A.L.) at Friday March 31 at 5 p.m.
The forum will be in the Crunch Club in the lower level of the Onondaga County War Memorial. Attendees who pre-register will receive a complimentary ticket to the game at 7 p.m. that night.