Mother aims to help Nashville families after son dies from fentanyl overdose

Tanja Jacobs remembers the phone call as if it were yesterday.

“The next thing I heard was him just screaming and crying,” Jacobs remembers.

It was Memorial Day 2020 when 22-year-old Romello Marchman was found dead in his apartment.

“I had asked what had happened, and he said he had passed. He was sitting on the couch like he was asleep but he was cold,” Jacobs says her son had died from a fentanyl overdose, “it was the worst day of my life.”

Jacobs says it was a moment that changed her life forever. She described her son as someone who loved basketball and swimming. Like many young men, he loved video games.

Wanting to keep his legacy alive, Jacobs made it her mission to help low-income families in Nashville who are grieving after losing a loved one to a drug overdose.

Fentanyl is a drug that can be 40 times stronger than heroin. According to the Tennessee 2021 Drug Overdose Annual Report, the drug accounts for a 46% increase in deaths between 2018-2019.

“It’s not overdosing, it’s poisoning, this fentanyl poisoning gets deliberately put in those other drugs and it kills people that take it,” said Jacobs.

According to Jacobs, she had the white substance tested after her son was found dead. She says the drug was 90% fentanyl. Jacobs believes her son had no idea he was putting a lethal drug into his system.

“There are so many people out there that have no clue. I have never heard of fentanyl before this happened to my son, and I just wanted to try to help other families having to go through this pain,” explained Jacobs.

Jacobs is turning her grief into a way to help others who have lost a loved one to drugs. Jacobs started the Romello A. Marchman Foundation as a way to help low-income families who are struggling to pay for funeral or burial costs.

“We can’t take the pain away from them, but I thought we could help them with the financial stress that comes with all that,” explained Jacobs.

The foundation is geared to help families whose children were between the ages of 15 and 25.

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