This is an excerpt from Gregory Pratt’s story in the Chicago Tribune. Read the whole story by clicking the link.
By this time in September, Jackie Olson had hoped her daughter Kaitlyn Moak would be settling into her second year at Illinois State, weathering the usual ups and downs of college life away from home.
In the months before her death from a heroin overdose in June 2012, the New Lenox teen seemed full of plans, talking with friends and family about the year ahead.
But the 18-year-old former choir member at Providence Catholic High School became another casualty of heroin in the suburbs, dying of an overdose just weeks after graduating from the New Lenox school.
“A lot of people think it would never happen to them,” said Olson, who hopes her daughter’s story might help others avoid the drug. “But you’d be surprised who it happens to.”…
Up until the last months of her life, Moak seemed an unlikely victim of heroin’s ravages, said Olson, describing her daughter as a regular, “dorky” teen.
Providence choir director Stacy Eckert remembers Moak as a bright, hardworking student with a great sense of humor. And former classmate Cassidy Glenn recalls Moak volunteering to carry her books when she tore her ACL during a basketball game their junior year…
During the teen’s senior year, close friend Amy Gauger said she noticed changes. Moak began hanging with a new crowd and Gauger said she heard that Moak had tried hard drugs. When she confronted her, Moak said she had everything under control…
In New Lenox’s tight-knit group of young heroin users, Moak met and became friends with another user.
The friend, who asked not to be named, said that the two did not feel they had an addiction and even had “sober Sundays,” when they would play cards, visit the zoo or watch TV.
“I never saw it as a problem just because, at the time, we were not injecting it. We were snorting it. We were going to school during the week and only using on the weekends.
“Neither of us pawned anything,” the friend said, “like your typical addict.”
In the months before Moak’s death, Olson said she regularly drug tested her daughter and searched her belongings, but Moak kept turning up clean. The teen visited colleges and registered at Illinois State, Olson said, while showing up to school every morning and working her job at Subway…
On the night Moak returned home, she traveled to Chicago with a couple of friends and bought heroin, according to police records.
The group met up with a drug dealer off 95th and Halsted streets in Chicago, police said, where Moak paid $90 for some bags of what the teens called “good heroin.” Moak overdosed and died on June 22…
To this day, Olson still struggles with the grief of losing her child, who would have been 19 if she were alive. In the end, Olson said, she thinks her daughter was naive about the drug’s danger and didn’t understand what she was getting herself into.
“She just wanted to get high,” Olson said. “She never thought she would die.”