In a continuing fight against what authorities have labeled a heroin crisis in Ocean County, a free drug talk will be held Friday evening where attendees can hear experts speak.

Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Agent Michael Cowell will speak about the efforts to fight heroin.

Guest speaker Trisha Horner will present a video and slide presentation, “Christopher’s Journal, a Mother’s Love” and “Let Life Without Drugs Be Your High.”

Horner, of Tuckerton, said she is a mom who unconditionally loved her adopted son and walked him through the journey of drug abuse and rehabilitation. During that time she said she kept a journal, and Friday evening she will share excerpts from the journal.

Years before, he was hit by a car while riding his bike and suffered back pain, his mother said. After being treated at the hospital, he was released with a prescription for Oxycontin, which may have been responsible for his later heroin problems.

“In October 2005, Christopher went into coma from a bag of heroin. When the doctor came in and said heroin, I said, ‘That can’t be possible,’” she said.

Christopher was an athlete and a good student, she said. The next year, the addiction would continue until he left New Jersey for drug rehabilitation.

In September 2006, Christopher Horner, 18, moved to South Carolina after a four-month stint in a drug rehabilitation program, and it was the best thing he ever did, Trisha Horner said.

“Christopher called on Sept. 5, 2006, and he said he’d like to come home, and I told him of course he could,” Trisha Horner said.

But she was scared about him returning home and possibly using heroin again.

Christopher came home on Friday and was starting a new job the following Monday. That Sunday night, Horner said, he kissed her good night and said he was setting his alarm for 6:30.

“The next morning, the alarm went off and it kept going off. I went into his room (and found) blood dripping out of his mouth. His hands were cold and he was dead,” she said.

She said she would later learn that her son thought he was buying heroin when he actually purchased a small bag of pure Fentanol that ultimately killed him.

“I will stand on a rooftop and talk about this if I have to. This isn’t going to be easy ... but I am doing it because I hope I can help someone else,” Horner said Thursday.

Prosecutor’s spokesman Al Della Fave said the public will be able to ask questions of the speakers and will view videos and multimedia presentations.

Over the last year, Prosecutor Joseph Coronato has launched an education and enforcement initiative across the county to address the heroin problem.

In December, the Prosecutor’s Office held a larger-scale forum in Stafford Township that was attended by hundreds or people.

In 2013, 112 people died of drug overdoses in the county, compared with 53 in 2012. So far this year, 17 people have died from drug overdoses, and most of them were from heroin, authorities said.

Contact Donna Weaver:

609-513-6686

@DonnaKWeaver on Twitter

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.