The Story of Elizabeth Turner

elizabeth 4Elizabeth’s funeral was held on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Acworth- the same church where she had received her First Communion and made Confirmation. She was laid to rest in the Sacred Heart section of the Kennesaw Memorial Gardens cemetery in Marietta. Her grave is just beyond the outstretched hands of a statue of Jesus with Kennesaw Mountain looking in the background.


Elizabeth was born on the 5th of August, 1988 in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She was raised inelizabeth 3 an All- American home with her older sister and brother.  Her mother was a stay-at-home mom and her father was in the Information Technology industry.  At the age of seven Elizabeth moved to Cobb County Georgia, as a result of her father’s job transfer. She made Acworth her home. She swam on the neighborhood swim team, was a Girl Scout, took dance lessons and played the flute in the middle school band. She did well in school and quickly made many friends.

elizabeth 1Elizabeth started her Freshman year at Kell High School. Throughout her childhood life she was a very trusting person.  High School was when she encountered people who would betray her trust, turn on her without warning, and hurt her feelings. She transferred to North Cobb high School. By the age of 16 Elizabeth started to experiment with alcohol and marijuana. She hid it well from her family.  She continued to do well academically and appeared on the surface to act mature beyond her years.

elizabeth 2In 2006 she enrolled at Auburn University.  This is where she was introduced to Oxycontin. Her academics after the first semester began to fall quickly. By her second semester she was addicted to Oxycontin and was failing her classes. Her parents asked Elizabeth return home to finish school at Kennesaw State University- where she had qualified for the HOPE scholarship.

Picture1Over her last six years Elizabeth went through many highs and lows. She was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Elizabeth overdosed multiple times and always ended up in the ICU where she was able to pull through. She was arrested for two DUI’s, and entered into multiple rehab facilities. It was one of her rehab classes that a “friend” introduced her to Heroin.  Elizabeth buried 16 of her friends during this time.

Three months before Elizabeth passed away she was receiving help for her heroin addiction and was “clean.” She had a full-time job and was looking forward to starting an internship at a dental office. On February 8th, Elizabeth went out with “friends” and never returned home. Elizabeth had overdosed on heroin and was in a coma. She was pronounced legally brain dead on February 11th. Six more friends have passed since her death.

photoElizabeth leaves behind her parents, her sister and brother, 10 nieces and nephews, and a very large extended family. Our Elizabeth was beautiful – inside and out. You don’t have to look or  act like a stereotypical “junkie” to be the face of Heroin addiction. We urge you to pass along her story.

Update: WOW! Thank you to everyone who has read and shared Elizabeth’s story. Three weeks into this and we have over 110,000 views! That is incredible and we really appreciate everyone who has helped to make this happen!  There are a lot of comments, and we would like to respond to everyone but it might take a little while.  In the meantime, keep sharing!

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We are looking for more people to share stories of their loved ones. Stories celebrating recovery or memorial pages are greatly appreciated. We would love to hear from everyone! Please send stories and memorials to:  Please include pictures, if possible. Also, please be sure to let us know if you would like to remain anonymous.

The more stories we can share, the more we can show that drugs are impacting everyone in our community. Our latest page add was from Hunter- a sister whose brother had a near fatal heroin overdose. Thank you Hunter!  Hunter’s Story: Recounting her brother’s near fatal overdose.

659 comments on “The Story of Elizabeth Turner

  1. So truly sorry for the loss of your daughter, no one should have to endure that. I think it is wonderful you are sharing her story- as it is very true for a lot of people out there. Addiction is a crushing thing for families to endure, making you at times feel powerless, without strength (among many other things). However your power and strength is shown by sharing your daughter’s story. What courage you have. God bless you & your daughter.

    • My 25 year old daughter is a recovering heroin addict. Until we accept that this is a “thinking” disease and are willing to treat addicts with the care and respect they need, I’m not sure things will ever get any better. Too many people still see addiction as a choice. :(

      My prayers are with all families and friends of addicts.

  2. Mary Ann Gardner,

    I agree with you. I have a daughter in treatment right now and wonder how we can get people to understand that it is simply NOT about choice…it is a disease. If she had cancer, people would have sympathy but if she has a drug disease, then it is all about choice. Not so easy.

  3. I have tears and prayers for all the parents, family, and close friends that have to deal with such loss, and those that are helping loved ones battle with any type of addiction.. May your higher powers keep giving you strength..

  4. Thanks for sharing. My son is clean for about 1 1/2 years. Sorry for the death of your daughter to this terrible drug. But your story is helping many our children aren’t bad or scumbag they made a terrible mistake by ever trying drugs and for that have lived a living hell. We need to educate children on this.

  5. Addiction is a mental disease. It is not a physical disease such as cancer but it should still be treated with as much urgency. I have lost a couple of friends to drugs and it is heartbreaking. I myself have done illegal drugs but lucky for me I never became addicted and dependent on them. I have the occasional drink but that is all. We need to look out for our loved ones and help them in any way possible. If someone you love has cancer you get them treatment, the same should go for drugs. But just like this beautiful young lady Elizabeth, you can’t always tell there is a problem until it is too late. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times because there are always signs, sometimes very small. God bless Elizabeth and her entire family. God bless all of those struggling with addiction, may you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep fighting and you will win.

    • Actually, it is a physical disease.. addiction physically changes the chemical composition in your brain to make your body physically dependant on the drug.. it’s not just mental. Trust me, I’m an addict.

      • Hello, thank you so much for saying it is a physical disease as well as mental. That means we need to give a little more to help our family members and anyone else that needs help, I was dependant on a lot of drugs, I was in ICU twice. I am 52 yrs. of age and dealt with this off and on all my life. I am getting help and man it is so hard, but with the help or GOD first then my family and friends. I use to drink heavy also I did stop that after ending up in the hosptail with that also. I have been clean of alcohol now for 13 yrs. Praise the lord. If I could stop doing the other drugs I would be so happy. I am still trying. Pray for me please to get this demon out of me. I have a very loving and caring husband that has been down the same road, Scream to heaven he is clean of EVERYTHING now for a few yrs. Now for me so we can share our life the way it was meant to be. Thanks for this, I needed it.

      • I wish more people understood this. When I did a rotation through the health department addiction program they had some rehab people come talk to us. They gave us a research paper about addiction. It showed that people can be just fine but once they pick up the addictive substance their brain/body can start changing physically. So its like taking the addictive substance they are giving themselves a disease that then is hard to treat. I always tell my kid don’t do drugs because you will be giving yourself a disease that is hard to get rid of

  6. What a sad story. We have a beautiful, highly intelligent 21 year old grand-daughter who got in with the Pot Heads in high school. After 5 years she has spiraled down, now addicted to heroin, arrested for felonies and now sitting in jail. She disappeared for two weeks prior to going to jail and we feared for her life. She also has mental issues including bi-polar. We are hoping and praying that within 30-60 days a judge will order her into treatment for at least 120 days. You can’t tell me marijuana is harmless. No good can come from it and it is addictive and almost always leads to hard drugs. The heroin on the street is cheap and deadly. Our two sons are paramedic firefighters and they deal with overdose calls constantly and usually the second call to the same address is DOA. The permissive society has gone soft on the drug problem but I can tell you there is an epidemic in this country and the next funeral may be for your child, your grandchild, your great-grandchild.

  7. Wow this is so sad and kids don’t even realize how quickly they can become addicted and this I can try it cause I am stronger than everyone else I can beet it attitude. So so sad….

  8. Such a beautiful girl with very loving parents. I unfortunately lost my younger brother 16 years ago March 4th he was 36. Also, my ever loving nephew Gino. @ 26. We will probably never no why or how this could happen, there were no signs, or any actions, he played on a Football team. he loved it his Jersey #57 which is engraved on his headstone. I never knew how many friends he had until
    his funeral.

  9. My Daughter started the same way, we are over 4 years into it now, I have full Custody of my 4 yr old G-daughter, and there’s no end to it in sight, I have stopped asking for God’s help, I ask him to take care of her when she arrives in Heaven, she’s 33 yrs old, I have used all my energy trying to help her, I’m 55 yrs old and have lost all materialistic belongings to her habit, my Senior Life is not a option for me anymore, I have to be a Mom to her Daughter, Tee Ball, Circus, Ear piercing, Kindergarden, it’s so sad for her, my ending to my Life will be taking care of her, she will not suffer for her Mothers mistakes, I’m so sorry for your loss, I have one wish left ” I hope that anyone that ever sold Herion rots in Hell forever

    • Lois, your letter brought tears to my eyes. As a mother and grandmother I know very well how easily this could be my or any other parent’s nightmare. Please don’t give up asking God for His help. His timing is not always our own, as much as we wish for it to be. You must be a very loving woman to take your Granddaughter in to live with you but don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask friends and relatives for help and also let them know that you covet their prayers for your daughter. I hope and pray as well that God’s decision to heal your daughter here on Earth is revealed to you soon.

  10. Hello my name is Lindsay and I myself am an addict. I have been doing Percocet/vicoden/oxycodone recreationally since the age of seventeen without getting addicted. Years passed and I went in and out of depression and horrible anxiety . My ex-fiance had a back surgery and was prescribed dilauded for pain and the first time I snorted one of those I realized when I was high the anxiety and depression would disappear, I could finally breathe. This continued for months and then we split up. I then moved in with people I worked with and started to feel better but my addiction already had a hold on me. I’m an lna and I started pocketing dilauded from the nursing home I worked at just to sleep at night. I decided to move home with my dad at that point. I started having a lot of pain in my abdomen and was prescribed Percocet. I had a torsed fallopian tube and needed surgery so I kept getting this prescription for three months until I could have my surgery and became extremely dependant on it. My best friend also abused opiates so when I lost my prescription we went searching for them together. Later I met my current fiance and got pregnant after two months while still using drugs. At first I thought it’s ok I’ll quit but I said “this is the last time” more times than I could count. Before I knew it I was 7 months pregnant still using and stealing from my boyfriend to buy drugs almost daily. Finally I confessed to my family what I was doing and sought help because I knew I couldn’t do it alone and I was terrified what I had done to my baby!.I got into a methadone replacement program and have been there for just over a year.I go every single morning to get my medicine and my life is so much better now. They saved me and my daughter!

    • Lindsay you made the right choice going on Methadone. :) your story is the same as mine 100% but I now have been clean from EVERYTHING including Methadone for 4 years now. I have 3 children and they have been back in my care for 4 yrs now. Well my oldest who is 14 came back in October and trust me I never thought that would ever happen. You will get over this hump in your life, just remember it’s only a “part” of your very long life. :) Good luck Hun and I believe in you. <3 Oh I forgot to tell you i'm only 34 and I was married for 4 years. Hugs!!

  11. Pingback: | Speaking Out On Drugs

  12. I am a mom with a 15 year old that I am in the process of adopting. He came from an abusive home life but he is my world. He has attempted suicide several times. John has been in the ICU on ventilators and you sit praying, not knowing if he is going to make it or not. He has a quest to kill himself because of his past. John is bipolar as well as several other diagnosis. I would give anything if I could wipe these memories from his mind! We have tried numerous avenues but all have failed. My 14 year old, whom Im also adopting found John this last time; unresponsive and in a seizure from an overdose. I am so fearful that his days are numbered. My heart goes out to anybody that has lost a child….I have been on that brink; standing on that bank, but I thank my almighty God that He saw fit to bring John back to us, one more time. I pray for our teens; for the many influences that our society has to offer them. We must stand together…hand in hand; prayerfully for one another until Jesus calls us home; to His eternal home! Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to post. God Bless!!! Please continue to do a good work….

  13. Reading all the comments concerning heroin.Since loosing my beautiful daughter Lauren and attending P.E.A.C.E. group in Cinti.OH.we tell our stories and are amazed the police weren’t interested in the last # called on their cellphone.The dealers are getting away with murder for a profit,even pursuing changed numbers or contacting friends to reconnect.It’s scary how many of our kids had anxiety,depression,ADHD,or bi-polar disorder.There is a company in Mason using cheek swabs to determine which meds are tolerated best by each individual.Early diagnosis may be part of the solution to successful intervention with cooperation and the support of people who love them.I’m thankful for the success stories of recovered addicts who devote their lives to saving others,it becomes a passion,a ministry for them.Laurens best friend Michele is one of them.We can all do something if we stand together and pray for strength.

  14. I lost my beautiful daughter Laree 1 yr ago March 16, 2014. She will be 20 yrs old March 21, 2014. She smoked marihuana for years to self medicate to calm her brain down, it would race all the time. She then decided to try heroin because she wanted to “see what it was like”. She was addicted immediately and came to me for help after one week using, which was October 2012. I got her into re-hab for one month and thought that was going to be the solution. She relapsed immediately and then started going to AA and NA meetings everyday for a month. She relapsed again and this time it killed her. I found her dead in her bed on March 16, 2013 when I went to wake her up to go to work. This drug is 100% poison and there is no happy ending after you use it! Very few success stories, it is pure and the most addictive drug professionals have ever seen. Our family has changed forever, my life is empty, there is a huge black hole that will never be filled. My baby did not want this to be the end for her but she couldn’t beat it. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss and everyone’s struggle, either way it puts parents in hell, when they are using and when it kills them. We definitely need to start going after the distributers immediately or it is just going to get worse and worse which is what I’ve seen since Laree started using.

  15. OMG, another tragedy. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter’s heartbreaking story. Every OD has to be publicized so public opinion can be swayed to understand this issue is REAL. It’s as bad as cancer and there should be NO SHAME!

  16. I Lost My Best Friend 14 years ago to this crap….and I agree totally with this do not have to look like a junkie to be swallowed up by this horrible drug…he was sniffing it…I miss him greatly,but since his death I have buried close to 20 people with the last only being a week ago….sad to see the government not stepping up to plate as this has gotten out of control..185 deaths in my state alone in 2 months from OD on heroin…I say let’s make a project to spread the word and educate the youth as to and how it can destroy lives and even after death it keeps destroying lives.,,,,,LET’S take a STAND AMERICA it is up to rid this crap off the streets….let me know if there is anyone interested in going to high schools and talking about this epidemic…..let me know if anyone is interested…Sorry for your loss…you could not have changed a thing and did the best YOU could do….GOD BLESS

    • Jon in NJ we also have so many young people dying! We do have programs for the schools and one of them is called ‘Steered Straight” you can google it. Also, ‘Anonymous People’ is a new movie about advocacy by recovered addicts. We can support movements like this and turn this around!

  17. There is a definite drug problobvious to see. what is unseen is the fact that law enforcement is really really tough on methamphetamine users when the real problem is heroin. if a person has a history of drug use with and get it means doctors will not give them any pain medication therefore the cycle doesn’t end because amphetamines are also a pain killer but amphetamines are not treal problem. I have been involved with drug addicts and I am a recovering drug addict. its been about six seven years now when I first started noticing something very odd I noticed it first I don’t know let me Indian Reservation. I had several friends who were crack addicts and I tried some of the cracked one time and it had an off of flavor to it a week or so later I tried it one more time that’s when I realized the crack was laced with heroin at that same time period time lawn for Smith was arresting every meth amphetamines dealer they could find and leaving her when dealers alone it was a very short. Of time when all the crackheads that I used to know
    we’re now heroin addicts and that’s when the suboxone program was introduced at the reservation. not long after suboxone got to the clinics and treatment programs and methamphetamine dealers we’re on the top of the list heroin dealers were basically left alone. now heroin is killing so many and it doesn’t discriminate because of age. even now if you look at the court records you’ll see that they’re still tougher on methamphetamine dealers then they are on heroin dealers why is that

    I bet it means don’t usually kill people heroine does unfortunately I believe it’s all about the money

  18. this story really hit home. our daniel was born august 5, 1983 and passed away feb 14 2012 and buried feb 18 2012. so this is very close to our story. heroin is such a horrible drug and is not just for 1 type of person. i am so sorry for your loss, it still haunts me 2 years down the road. i pray you are doing ok or atleast better.

  19. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I am a miracle. I was a meth addict and then transferred addictions over to opiates. On Dec. 30, 2010 I was set free thru a free online class called Setting Captives Free dot com. Google it if anyone needs help. I am also active in AA keeping my resentments at bay and honesty is a must today. Praying for all of those who read Laurens story. May you too be set free. Prayers for comfort for Laurens beautiful family.

  20. Wow…what a revealing story to read as I am in the midst of raising two teenagers and one ten year old looking at their every move. For me the heart ache of a brutal divorce has brought trauma to all of us with the exception of their dad. He’s happy as I deal with the aftermath. Raising kids is tough enough in today’s world without that. Yes drugs and alcohol are always debated at our house. I have decided to be very open with my kids and sometimes they probably tell me too much but I guess I’d rather know…

    I am so sorry for the family’s loss of this beautiful girl. I am sorry that her parents are probably in so much pain and siblings too! It sounds like she had wonderful parents that supported her through so much adversity. I think it’s so sad that when so many critical choices are made in life we are clueless about life in general but “try” to act as adults.

    Thank you for sharing her story and I wish the family the best as they try to heal!

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the story of Elizabeth and your family’s great loss. If it saves one life, that is one less victim of drug abuse.

    God bless you and your family!

  22. Very sad story. I have kids and I can relate to perhaps something like this happen……our thoughts and prayers are with the family…:(

  23. Hi please have a look at Martin Page to see what Heroin does. Martin had a relapse after 7 months in January this year, but was resussitated, thank God and today he is clean again, but this is a daily struggle. May God be with you.

    Sue and Martin

  24. My daughter was 23. We didn’t even know she was using drugs. She died of a heroin overdose march 19, 2012. She didn’t get a chance to go to rehab. The face of heroin had changed. She was away at college. If you look at get page you can see the new face of heroin.

  25. I am so sad to see what your family went thru and lost. I too had a sister with a prescription drug problem. Sadly, like your sweet daughter my baby sister passed away too soon. I feel your pain and your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

  26. So sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Drugs of all kinds are horrible. Thank you for sharing your story to try to help spread the word to hopefully help others.

  27. It’s so sad that this beautiful, young woman lost her life to heroin. I grieve for her heartbroken family-may God bless and heal them. I lost my 21 year old son, Dustin, to heroin in September of 2011. Ours is a very similar story. Dustin was was an all-american, athletic kid. He fell in with the wrong crowd and become addicted to opiods then progressed to heroin. He died the day before he was to enter rehab. Heroin has taken too many young lives; it’s a plague to mankind. Thank you for putting Elizabeth’s story out there, hopefully it will make people stop and think. We’re also trying to raise drug awareness in our community-God bless.

  28. My husband is a recovering addict. He struggled with addiction for many years but now is proud to have been clean so far a total of 5 years and 4 months. Too many people suffer from the disease of addiction. For my husband it took the love and support from fellow addicts at meetings that helped him get clean.

  29. There is no stereotypical “Junkie” appearance. No one person starts out with a haggard appearance that you may be associating with the difficult life one lives when struggling with the disease of addiction.
    I believe that only when society can finally comprehend that addiction is a disease capable of transforming individuals like Elizabeth into a barely reconizable shadow of her former self. This shadow is your fore mentioned junkie. Please show compassion here and try to understand that prior to active addiction, all of these “junkies” were once beautiful with a life full of promise just like Elizabeth. I believe that society’s misconception that addiction is a choice chosen daily by junkies must change. It must be recognized that like any other pathophysiologic process, addiction is a disease and when left untreated leads to mental and physical detriment followed by death. And like other diseases, addiction does not discriminate. Every race, gender, and socioeconomic group is vulnerable. When this fact becomes widely accepted and receiving treatment is no longer shameful, I believe only then will we see fewer tragedies like Elizabeth

  30. So sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Thank you for sharing her story. You would never know the pain she endured by looking at her photos; she is truly the perfect “face” to represent this cause. So unassuming. God Bless you and your family.

  31. So true, Melissa and well-said! Addiction is a disease and we need to strive to change society’s perception of it. There’s such a stigma/stereotype attached to addiction. I lost my son, Dustin, to a heroin overdose in 2011 and he was such a bright, young man with so much potential-he sure didn’t look like a so-called “junkie.” I am convinced that addiction can happen to absolutely anyone in the right circumstances. Thanks for raising awareness, God bless.

  32. I can so relate to this story I lost my 18year old son to a drug overdose April last year drugs don’t discriminate only kill thanks for sharing.

  33. I so agree with the inability to do something for our children, once they’re on their own. My personal story shows me intervening in my son’s life starting from East Cobb, Georgia. Not understanding the environment made me uncomfortable with the parent’s lack of monitoring their children. It made sense for me to leave and move to a rural community in North Carolina. True, my son did join the marijuana kids, but when it became apparent he wasn’t respecting himself and lying, family members held an intervention. Gave him choices we all could live with. It took three years for him to get real and be done with his unstable life. Eventually he made the right choice by getting away from those who had a bad influence on him. Hitting rock bottom means those using drugs have no ability to decide their own fate. Intervention is the only way I know of sending this message. Having children should be enough to divert any mother away from drugs, if their brains thought clearly. Forcing them into treatment means they’re not in charge of the decision. I do like the idea of drastic change…getting them away from suppliers, living in remote areas, without transportation, forcing them to commune
    with nature.

  34. i have lost a lot of friends due to herion and other addictions! Thank You for telling Elezabeth’s Story! I am sorry for your loss!

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