Davis Owen’s life ended way too soon. But, his story didn’t.
His story is still being told because of his mother’s story.
Her story is about a mother who lost a young son to drug addiction – a mother who turned her loss into a mission to save others.
It is a story of memories, of hindsight, and the unfathomable hurt and hopelessness of parents trying desperately to save their child.
It’s a story worth telling and retelling.
Davis Owen’s family describes him as a brilliant, beautiful, and compassionate child.
He was the oldest son of five children.
He was president of his senior class and an honor student at Kennesaw Mountain High School.
He entered Kennesaw State University upon graduation and made the Dean’s List his first semester.
Davis was the ideal son, but he was living a secret life after becoming addicted to opioid painkillers in his family’s medicine cabinet.
When Michael and Missy Owen found out ab out their son’s addiction, they did what most parents do. They tried to help him.
The Owens first realized the seriousness of the situation on Thanksgiving morning 2013.
“We were going to the family farm and Michael wanted to take the shotguns and teach the kids to shoot,” Missy Owen recalls. “My dad had left each of the grandsons a shotgun when he died and Michael was packing them up. When he opened the first case to check the gun, he found a BB gun instead and we knew immediately what had happened. Davis had pawned two of the three shotguns for money to buy drugs. He loved his “Papah” and would have never done that in a right state of mind. We eventually got the guns back, but we knew Davis had a real and severe problem. We all cried that day as he stood in the bedroom and asked us to help him.”
Davis Owen entered a drug rehabilitation program.
That didn’t help.
With no job and no access to the prescription pain medications, Davis turned to a more readily available opioid – heroin.
Davis was living with his parents when on the evening of March 4, 2014, the doorbell rang. The Owens opened the door and a detective told them something that would change their lives forever.
Their 20-year-old son had been found dead in his car with a needle and heroin beside him.
After Davis’ death, his mother did something she had not been able to do while he was alive.
“When you’re living with a child who has an addiction, you’re so worried, always trying to chase that child that you don’t have time to research and learn how to help your child,” Missy Owen says. “What I did was write a book, “Heroin is Killing Our Children,” and put in that book 365 days of things that I learned about heroin, opioids, and drug addiction. I researched every day for a year. And I put in there everything that I thought would help somebody save their child.”
Topping the list of things she learned was “clean out your medicine cabinets” to prevent access to prescription medications that can begin the path to addiction and death.
Today, Missy Owen heads a foundation she started in honor of Davis, the Davis Direction Foundation, a community and national resource for opioid and heroin addiction and recovery.
I never met Davis, but his mother has made sure I’ll never forget his story.