Sandston family demands action when son dies from heroin/fentanyl overdose

Updated: May. 4, 2017 at 7:10 PM EDT
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SANDSTON, VA (WWBT) - A Sandston family is demanding action after they lose a loved one to the heroin epidemic.

JW Taylor died in February after overdosing on heroin laced with fentanyl. Taylor's family believes there are some people out there who deserve to be punished for his death.

The family says the drug dealer is now facing distribution charges, but they say there was somebody else with Taylor that night who did not call 911.

At least one person a week dies from a heroin overdose in Henrico County, according to health officials. In the first week of February, 31-year-old JW Taylor was that person.

"He was strong," said JW's mother, Danie Taylor. "He loved life."

Taylor left behind his family and a five-year-old daughter.

"He worshiped the ground that she walked on," says Danie Taylor. "He was my heart. He was my first born."

It was Taylor's mother who found her son's body on her front porch.

"I grabbed him and I looked at him and I was screaming his name and screaming his name, and I got nothing from him," said Danie Taylor.

Taylor died from heroin laced with fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more deadly. The family says he had been battling a heroin addiction for seven years and believe it started with prescription pills.

"He suffered a lot from depression too," said Toni Taylor, his sister. "It led a lot into it. He always said the drug made him not feel anything. It made him not sad."

Now this family says more needs to be done to battle this deadly epidemic. NBC12 asked if the drug dealer should be held responsible.

"I do feel like that," said Danie Taylor. "That drug dealer also knows what he's selling."

Taylor's sister has a different opinion. It concerns the friend who was with Taylor that never called 911.

"I think that if you're with somebody when it happened and that person didn't do anything to help you? That person is the most responsible," she said.

Henrico Commonwealth's attorney Shannon Taylor couldn't comment on this specific case but says the court is not backing down when it comes to punishing the dealers.

"We are seeing sentences of 10 and 20 years being imposed by the judges here in Henrico County for dealers of opioids and heroin," she said.

She says it's more complicated when dealing with people who are with a user who overdoses. There is a Good Samaritan law which protects users facing a misdemeanor offense when they report some who has overdosed. It does not protect them from a possible felony offense.

This family is also taking action by holding a walk through Sandston. It's called Hope Against Heroin. A date has not been set, but they are looking for sponsors.

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