Updated: May 23
By Greg's mom, Corri
Gregory Lee Chapman III
Prince Frederick, Maryland
July 23, 1989 – August 27th, 2015
My only child, Greg, died August 27th of 2015 from a fatal mixture of heroin, Alpha PVP (AKA Flakka), and Fentanyl. He was many things—he was not his addiction. He loved God, his family, his friends, and his fellow Army Veterans.
On Greg’s first day of high school he was given drugs by another classmate. This was the start of a journey that would ultimately end in his death.
After high school, he decided he wanted to get away from our hometown where he felt so heavily influenced by the drug culture; he joined the Army and went to boot camp. Things seemed to be turning around for him until he got deployed to Iraq at the age of 19. Greg never talked about the things that happened over there, but I know he was fired upon several times. I know he feared for his life every day. I know he saw people die. He told me a story of narrowly escaping an IED detonation only 30 feet in front of him because the Humvee he was driving had its tires shot out and it had to stop. Those shots saved his life.
After deployment, he was stationed back in Seattle. Not long after that, he received medication from a doctor at the VA to treat his depression and opioids for his back pain. This took him back down the wrong road—but this time his struggles were compounded by PTSD. A few months later, he put himself into a 30-day treatment program in Oregon.
He continued to battle with addiction throughout all of his transfers and ended up with a couple of DUI’s. After 5 years in the military he decided that it was time for him to leave the Army at the age of 23. He feared that if he didn’t, he may not end up leaving on his own terms.
He ended up back home with our family and decided to work for his Dad until he figured out what he wanted to do with his life post-military. He never really found his way and the path that called to him was one that would keep him medicated from his nightmares. As time went by, his fight or flight responses heightened and he had no ability to deal with the trauma he had experienced.
Sometimes when he came to visit me he would pass out while we were mid-conversation. I had no previous experience with heroin or prescription pills and didn’t know what to do at first. After a while it became clear that there was a much bigger problem. We told him that he needed to go to Delray Beach in Florida (the supposed sober capital of the US) to a rehab followed by a stay in sober living.
He was as headstrong as he was beautiful and after his stay in the sober living facility he thought that he could make a go of it on his own. He moved into an apartment that he found online. We later discovered that the owner of the house was a drug dealer and human trafficker and is currently serving 8 years in jail. When Greg said he wanted to move out of that apartment we told him to come home, but he wanted to stay in Florida where his friends were and find a different place.
The police raided his home on August 27th and my son was found dead in his garage apartment. He was not alone when he took that fatal dose, but he was left there to die.
Greg was too good for this world and dealt with great emotional pain. He thought he should be strong enough to recover on his own, even though his last words to one of his friends were, “We can’t do this alone.” He was always reaching out to others even in the midst of his own battles and there are people today who are sober because of his death. I have been able to speak to many people about the importance of their sobriety because of his death. I remind them that they are loved and worth the fight.
I started a Facebook group called Southern Maryland Overdose Death Support to connect with the families left behind. There maybe 129 a day dying from this awful disease, but I will make this one my message.