‘Forever Mace’ — Billboards going up to encourage passage of law to protect minors

Posted at 8:19 PM, Sep 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-06 22:53:30-04

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- "Save a life. Know the Act."

It's the message one family is hoping to send to teens in Berrien County with new billboards going up just in time for the state of the new school year.

Family and friends of Mason Mizwicki, a 16-year-old teen who was found dead Jan. 1, 2015 from an apparent prescription drug overdose, installed the first of two billboards this weekend.

Mason, a stand-out student athlete and popular Watervliet junior was at a New Year's Eve'skittles' party the night prior where he consumed a lethal dose of methadone.

In wake of her son's death, Mizwicki said her family is determined to educate others about the dangers of drug abuse and the growing use among young people. Earlier this month, Michigan Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, introduced legislation that would protect individuals under 21 years of age from facing prescription drug-related legal charges if reporting a medical emergency.

The legislation would expand the state's current 'Good Samaritan' law, which protects minors in alcohol-related medical emergencies. It's a law that could've been the difference between life and death for Mason, his mother, Lori Mizwicki told FOX 17.

Last week, family and friends of Mason marked International Drug Overdose Awareness Day by placing 44 candles at the teens grave and releasing 44 purple balloons in his memory.

“We’re not condoning the use of prescription drugs, that’s not what this bill is about, this bill is about these kids not being fearful of doing the right thing even when bad choices have been made," she said last month.

Drug overdoses now kill more teens in the United States than car crashes, according to the most recent data compiled from the Centers for Disease Control.

Further data shows more than 40 people in the United States die from an overdose of prescription pain killers each day.