Updated: Apr 9
By Andrew's mom, Mary
Andrew started using drugs in Middle School in his hometown of Billerica, Massachusetts. First, it was marijuana, which he used in excess (3-4 times a day starting before he went to school). He sold marijuana for many years until he graduated to opiates. He started with Perc 30's until he discovered that Heroin was less expensive. Years later Andrew told me that at the time he had no idea Heroin was so addictive--that soon his body would need it and without it he would be sick.
Andrew’s learning disabilities made school difficult for him and he never liked it, but he was successful during his last two years in a charter high school because of the supportive community, teachers, and administration. Andrew graduated in 2012 and never went to college.
Andrew loved dirt bikes and did his senior project on the dynamics of dirt bike engines. He also loved cars and was proud of his Acura Integra that he drove to school while blaring the sound system that he had installed himself.
Andrew was always looking "fresh.” He took pride in how he presented; he’d clean dirt off of his spotless white sneakers, wipe smudges off mirror sunglasses and sport a crisp haircut. A hat to match the color of his shirt and sneakers. He was well-liked, charismatic, respectful, kind and always willing to help a friend. He had difficulty being kind to himself. He was always focusing on his mistakes and dismissing his successes.
Andrew relapsed many times and struggled to embrace the 12 Steps. In 2014 he was charged with possession and trafficking of Heroin and sent to Middleton Jail. It took being arrested to make him realize how serious his addiction had become. From there he went to a sober house in Portland, Maine where he learned how to live a sober life.
He got a job as a cook at a local restaurant, he started to work the 12 Steps, got a sponsor, attended and spoke at meetings, started mental health counseling, joined a gym and was feeling good about himself. He looked and felt great--having gained back some of the weight that he lost when he was on dope.
In his short time on this earth, Andrew helped countless people. Many people have told me that they wouldn’t be sober or even alive if it weren’t for him.
So what happened? Fentanyl sold as Heroin by dealers making money. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic used in surgical procedures. It is 20 times more potent than Heroin and when laced with Heroin, it is toxic and can be deadly. I’ve heard there is a batch being sold as Heroin that is actually 90 percent Fentanyl. This is murder and the drug dealers should be held responsible.
How do I begin to put into words the pain I have to carry upon losing my son at the age of 21?
Andrew loved going to the coffee shop right around the corner from his apartment and ordering his usual--a sweet iced Vietnamese Coffee. I have been writing this while sitting at this coffee shop where he brought me so many times. The people who work here remember him fondly---always smiling and polite.
Andrew loved The Lord of the Rings and used to refer to this quote: "It's a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." I hope and trust that you, my darling angel, have been swept off to a magical, peaceful place free of pain and filled with love and joy. I will see you soon.... I love you to infinity, my beautiful son.
Andrew G. passed away in Portland, Maine on April 11, 2015, after a three-year battle with Heroin addiction. He was 21 years young.