Alexander Hastings Neville, 14 years old, died on 23 June 2020 due to poisoning by fentanyl—a drug he mistook for something else. He self-medicated due, in some part, to the fact that he did not realize how much he was loved by everyone who came into contact with him.
Alexander was a normal, average teenager with a loving and supportive family. He had always been a kind and generous person who touched the lives of so many. Even in the later phases of his life when he smoked weed and used pills he continued to exercise the gift he had of being a kind person and a great friend.
Big ideas became Alex’s hallmark early. Whether becoming Tony Stark when he was 1.5 years old or considering a career as the director of the Smithsonian, he often thought to the future. His ambitions followed his interests in history and a tendency to learn everything about subjects he cared about. He sought to share his interests with his family and friends, even hosting one of his birthday parties with his friends at a Civil War reenactment.
Alex was always introspective about his place in the world. He was very caring and sensitive. Alex felt deeply and empathized with others. Because of this, he courageously fought his impulsiveness and would make heart-felt amends if he hurt others.
Alexander competed with himself to be successful with everything he did. He pushed himself to be a better skateboarder, a better gamer, a better Boy Scout, a better fencer, a better student, a better friend, and a better person. He persevered and generally met success.
Later in life, Alex began to hurt inside and he got tired of trying so hard. He kept skating, but he also started to learn how to numb himself with marijuana. Even then, Alexander employed his intelligence and curiosity to learn the pharmacology and horticulture of hemp. He then began to explore more effective ways to numb his growing negative feelings. This led him to pills such as Xanax and later on OxyContin in his last 9 days. It turned out that he was being sold fentanyl, a cheaper and more deadly alternative that killed him quickly one night.
Alexander is one of many victims of fentanyl poisoning. A second chance is something that all victims of similar tragedies deserve yet never received. Alexander could not be saved but there are many more that can be.