Alex Poynter was a good-looking young man, a football player at Lafayette High School who earned an education degree from the University of Kentucky.
His mother, Lori Poynter, says he was "funny, very loving, very outgoing, always had a beautiful smile."
"What he really wanted to do was be a high school history teacher," she said.
He also was a heroin addict.
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Lori Poynter learned of her son's addiction in May 2014 and helped him enroll in a treatment program the very next day.
After treatment in West Palm Beach, Fla., he got a job as a history teacher at a high school in Plantation, Fla.
Lori Poynter said he was 25 and excited about having a fresh start, a new job and a new apartment.
He moved out of the halfway house on Feb. 13, and he died of an overdose the same day.
"Somewhere between West Palm and Plantation, he got his hands on some heroin," Poynter said. "He went into his bathroom and shot up."
Poynter said talking about Alex's death does her good, and it's good for other people to hear it.
"It's important to get this out," she said. "To let people know it does, it can, it might happen."
That's the goal of International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday at Jacobson Park.
The official date for International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 31, but the Lexington observance is Saturday because it is easier for people to attend then.
Shelley Elswick, who is chairing the free community event, said her primary goals are to support families who have lost loved ones to overdoses and to destigmatize addiction so people still struggling will not be afraid to seek help.
"Stigma leads to silence," she said. "And silence leads to death."
Speakers will offer messages of hope, an inspirational artist will paint, a moment of silence will be held, and participants will water a tree that has been planted at the park in memory of those who have died.
A number of groups, including local recovery centers, will have tables set up to provide information.
People with addictions and their families will be able to get a prescription for naloxone, also known as Narcan, at the event and receive training to use it in the event of an overdose, Elswick said. She said some naloxone kits will be available for purchase Saturday.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department also will be there to offer information on the new needle-exchange program.
A community art project called Birds of Hope will be unveiled.
Paper bird cutouts have been left at stations around the city, and Elswick said people have been offered the opportunity to memorialize someone who has died of an overdose or is struggling with addiction by writing a message on a bird.
She said she hopes the day will be well attended, both to comfort grieving families and to give encouragement to people with addiction.
"I'm really hoping the city will come out just so people in recovery can know that they have support," she said.
Elswick's son, Alex Elswick, is eager to do his part.
He will mark two years in recovery next month, and he said the worst day he has had during those two years is "undoubtedly better than the best days when I was using."
"It's something I'll struggle with my whole life, but I've kind of found a way to cope," he said.
Elswick, 24, just started graduate school in hopes of one day providing drug and alcohol counseling.
When he talks Saturday about his addiction and recovery, he said he will remember a friend who stood alongside him on International Overdose Awareness Day last year. That friend has since died of an overdose. "Sometimes we lose sight of the families that are torn apart," he said. "It really is a dark business."
Jerod Thomas, who also will speak at the event, can testify to that.
"I lost my child, lost my wife, lost my house, lost everything," he said.
Thomas, a West Virginia native, was a football player at Marshall University who became a teacher and coach before his life was derailed by drug and alcohol addiction.
He ended up homeless in Lexington, and he spent time in and out of jail and in and out of treatment before getting his life back together. He now works as developmental director at Shepherd's House residential treatment program in Lexington.
"I'm so grateful to be sober. I'm not one of those who overdosed," he said. "We do recover and we do move on to lead good lives."