David Greene said his son Domonique Greene, who died Oct. 31 of a heroin overdose, was not shamed by his addiction.
Instead, David Greene said, Domonique Greene was open about his struggle to stay off the drug, which is killing people around the country.
“They want to be off it,” David Greene said. “They hate it. ... The heroin they have today is different, where before you could look at somebody and tell if they’re doing it. They’re functional now.”
On Saturday morning, more than 150 people gathered at Triangle Park to honor Domonique’s memory and that of others who struggled with heroin. They waved homemade signs at passing drivers, bearing text such as “Honk To Stop Heroin.”
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Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy reported in July that reported drug-related deaths surged in Fayette County in 2014 over the previous year: 112 people died from overdoses, compared with 86 in 2013. In the state, the numbers increased from 1,1010 to 1,087. Most overdose victims had multiple drugs in their system, and 28.8 percent of them had heroin in their system.
“This is everywhere,” state Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, who was at Triangle Park, said about the heroin epidemic. “This impacts all of us.”
Domonique was introduced to heroin while in high school, his father said. Domonique was 23 and left behind a family including his girlfriend Taylor Sweeney and his 1-year-old daughter Danity.
Danity Greene was sitting in a stroller on Saturday with a sign that read “Heroin Killed My Daddy, 10-31-2015.”
Marcher Paige Howard of Lexington, Taylor Sweeney’s sister, said she misses Domonique every day.
She came out Saturday to wave a sign at passing motorists and march because, Howard said, “If we can save one life that’s all that matters.”
Sandy Tackett of Lexington, who had worked with Domonique in a restaurant, said he “would light up the room where he came in. He made the day a whole lot better.”
Domonique had been to rehab repeatedly, his father said. His parents, David and Kayla Greene, thought he had finally turned a corner in his addiction.
On Oct. 31, they found out different. David Greene said that when a chaplain came to tell him the news that his son had died, he had expected a nurse to tell him that Domonique had made it.
“The drug will find you,” David Greene said. “It just will.”
But, he said, Domonique’s death has put the family in touch with others whose lives have been damaged by heroin addiction and want to raise awareness. For that, he is grateful.
“We’re overwhelmed by the goodness of people,” David Greene said.