EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

July 5, 2014

Mother seeks to help drug addicts get clean

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (AP) — It’s too late to free her son from heroin’s grip, but Kenna Waterman wants to ensure another struggling addict gets help.

Waterman’s son, Joshua Bressette, was found dead on a Bronx, N.Y., rooftop on May 8. Although it remains unknown who killed him, Bressette’s death is assumed by family, friends and police to be drug-related. Bressette, who was 25 when he died, was never convicted of any drug charges, but was known to many as a heroin user and dealer.

Within days of learning of her son’s death, Waterman created the Joshua Bressette Victim and Witness Protection Fund. At the time, she didn’t have a clear vision of how the money would be used, but now her mission has come into focus.

“The best use for the Joshua Bressette victim fund is to create a scholarship to be used to send at least one person a year to a rehab facility,” Waterman said. “The initial cost of saving one’s life through rehabilitation is at least $10,000. It is my intent to find a successful rehab facility willing to match the funds raised by the fund in order for a selected recipient to receive the best continued care available.”

Waterman hopes to raise $10,000 through the fund — it already has received more than $1,000 in the six weeks since Bressette’s death — by the end of 2014.

“The person who is picked to go to such a rehab will have to already have completed a detox program and must be totally committed to becoming clean and changing his or her life for the better,” she said.

Bressette’s death comes at a time when the community’s struggles with addiction has reached previously unseen levels, according to users and officials. The Brien Center, the county’s largest substance abuse treatment center, now treats more people for heroin and opioid addiction than for alcohol.

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