Drug Addiction

We thought we knew drug addiction. Then our nephew died in our home – Florida At the moment


Mary Anne French & Tom Wega, guest columnists
Published 4:39 PM ET October 11, 2019


In the early morning hours of August 26, our young nephew Derek John Gerlach died in our house two days before his 29th birthday. We discovered his body in bed that morning.

Derek John was such a special person. He was very smart, handsome, polite, polite, humorous and very, very funny. He was a college student and was from a loving family, but Derek picked up some demons in his young life, and in the end the demons killed him.

When he came to us in February, we were aware that he was fighting addiction. We were determined to help him overcome this bump. He had a hard time living in New York, including losing at least one important job. His family brought him back to Rochester to get him back on track in a less hectic and stressful environment.

With his parents, who lived on Honeoye Lake, we brought him to our home in Pittsford so that he could study for the license exams in his elective area closer to the tasks he had to do, and it took a long, daily walk from the list of obstacles that made his job difficult.

He had worked hard to get rid of the substances he had abused or whatever, I thought. We thought we knew a drug addict when we saw one. But we were over overcome by the ignorance that misinformed us. Derek used drugs under our noses, in our house, possibly every day, because who knows how long.

We had no idea what to look for. Our society shows drug addicts as depressed, disheveled, depressed, foaming in front of their unshaven mouths, as losers. But Derek John wasn't one of them. It was cut clean, not a bum. He cared about people, things and life. He had thousands of really good friends. He made every friend believe that they were his favorite. This unique talent was demonstrated at his memorial service, where friends from all over the world came to share how much he was loved.

(Photo: Provided)

] He was not withdrawn, grumpy or depressed and passed drug tests and deceived therapists, parents, family and friends were clean and sober. The fact that he wasn't made it even more incredible.

What we know today is that he lied. He was very adept at covering his activities as addicts will. He lied so as not to survive he was exposed. His de ceit was not afraid of our anger or even of that his parents, it's just what drug addicts do to keep consuming. The need to use is beyond our understanding. A former user told me it was all expensive. You plan your next supply, your next use, and all Time over Lü to operate to cover everything up.

(Photo: Photo Provided)

All the information we have now is for Derek Too Late And we are very angry with large pharmaceuticals for the development of these opioids that kill our friends, family and neighbors at alarming rates, if it were a tainted salad on a taco that caused diarrhea, it would be news on the front page.


One of the MPs who replied that morning said the coroner was late and had to respond to a similar case greed before he can receive our call. Another MP said he responded to two other possible deaths from weekend overdose. Wealthy middle-class suburban families, no bum. From January to August, a total of 82 people died from an overdose in Monroe County. It's pretty heartbreaking to see Derek's red dot on the drug-related map of the Monroe County sheriff's department.

(Photo: Provided)

Derek's brother Bill started developing an app last year, HereNOWHelp, a platform for Peer Consultant that allows people to speak anonymously to a trained peer advisor 365 days a year Derek's death has made HereNOWHelp urgently need to come to life, when the app can connect people to get the help they need , Derek's family feels a certain feeling of peace and contentment. A GoFundMe in memory of Derek Gerl ach has been set up to run the app to bring n. We hope you think about contributing and sharing Derek's story.

Just one piece of advice: if you know someone who uses something and who says they can handle it, don't believe them.

Mary Anne French left Monroe County Health Department. Before retiring in 2013, Tom Wega worked in the non-profit administration and real estate sector. The couple lives in Pittsford.

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