Local mother creates DVD in memory of her son

Jonathan Morelli

Jonathan Morelli

It was as much by chance as it was by design that Rachele Morelli came to have her son’s story made into a DVD to warn teenagers of the dangers of drugs.

“I kept having this dream over and over again at least 15 times,” said Morelli. I woke up one morning after having this dream and said “God if you want me to do something, then you need to help me.”

Rachele Morelli lost her son, Jonathan, Feb. 2, 2013, following a struggle with heroin addiction. Morelli had a DVD telling Jonathan’s story produced in memory of her son. His story has been told nationwide after CNN aired a report.

“I knew nothing on how to make this DVD or how to even get in contact with anyone that was in the film production,” she said.

That same day, Morelli took her father down to Pittsburgh for a doctor’s appointment. While she was there, she overheard a man talking about how he had just produced a documentary.

“I apologized for eavesdropping but I explained everything that happened with Jonathan,” said Morelli. He gave her information on who to call. Bruce Cooler who is a film producer for North Shore Productions is the one that helped her produce this film.

“Everything just fell so into place,” said Morelli.

She needed to come up with several thousand dollars to even film. Morelli came up with money that she could put towards it and then she started asking sponsors to help. All of the sponsors that she ended up asking came through, and she was able to get the amount that was needed.

Rachele produced the video last summer and had a film premier on Oct. 8. At the premier in October, representatives from several schools from the area attended. Each attending school received copies of the DVD.

After the film premier Morelli received a phone call from a news reporter in the local area and was telling her that “their phones were ringing off the hook,” and they also told her to look at Yahoo’s top stories. When she looked at the site, she saw Jonathan’s picture.

Since the premier, she has sent over 3,000 DVDs to people in all 50 states.

One morning, Morelli was working on Jonathan’s page and received a phone call from CNN wanting to do an interview with her about Jonathan. It was then she saw the significance of her son’s struggle with drug addiction.

“Something bigger than me is carrying this ship,” she said.

Jonathan Morelli was your average kid, athletic and outgoing. He lost his father when he was in 4th grade, then in 6th grade his best friend got hit and killed by a car. It was clear to his mother that her son was suffering from depression.

Mrs. Morelli said she took Jonathan to many counselors and psychiatrists to get him help, but it didn’t seem to help.

Jonathan started sneaking around drinking alcohol, and he soon “graduated” to drug use. In 11th grade, Jonathan broke his wrist and was prescribed medication to ease the pain. When he ran out, he started to go in search for more. His mother began to see a change in his behavior, and he started sleeping a lot. After she found out about the drug abuse, she sent him to rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Jonathan went to rehab only twice before he over dosed on heroin.

Mrs. Morelli said her son “was a year and a half clean” before that fateful morning when he took a fatal overdose. He died on two bags of heroin,” his mother said.

“Don’t ever think this can’t happen to you because it can,” Rachele Morelli said. “This just doesn’t affect one person; it affects their whole family.”

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