Justin Veatch's Story: Suburban Heroin Overdose Highlights Drug's Pervasiveness

"Don't feel that you're ratting your friend out. Call. Make a call," she said. "You're not being disloyal. You're being a good friend."

Substance Abuse in the Suburbs

For parents of kids in suburban areas, hard drugs might seem like a danger exclusive to inner-city teens.

But some teens who take recreational prescription drugs are finding harder drugs offer a better and even cheaper high. Dealers also know they can make a mint in the suburbs from kids from well-off families who are willing to pay more.

Drug law enforcement officials say heroin is widely available in the suburbs. Rachel Czipo agrees.

"It's easy enough [to get drugs]," Czipo said. "If you want something, you can find it."

Regardless of the drug's prevalence, Marina blames herself.

"I've been beating myself up from head to toe," she said. "Internally, I probably have black and blue marks. That's all I've been doing since it happened, just feeling like I failed."

"I am so angry at these evil forces infiltrating the communities," Marina said.

Jeffrey said, "the first reaction parents have, and I know this is the case with parents around here, is 'I would never let my kid do this. This would never happen in our house because we're good parents.'"

"We're good parents," Jeffrey said. "But we've learned an awful lot since then about substances and what's available."

Celebrating Justin's Legacy

It took months for Marina to enter her son's room again. She still can't bear to throw away his clothes; they smell too much like Justin. Justin's 15-year-old sister Elena still listens to her brother's music every day. While the wounds left by Justin's death are still fresh, the family wants his music to live on.

Marina even wrote him a Valentine's day card.

The card read, "Dear Justin, wishing you a beautiful Valentine's Day. We love you and miss you. You are in our hearts every minute of every day. Love, Mom, Dad and Elena. Let your heart sing."

Justin's father has now taken over his son's dream. Jeffrey has poured himself into a CD project finding bands to cover Justin's original music, and has recovered tracks they'd never heard before from Justin's laptop. A new album of original music and covers is due out later this summer. The proceeds from that album will go to benefit the Justin Veatch Scholarship Fund, a scholarship for other young people who want to pursue music.

"I have to do it. It's for him," Jeffrey said. "And it's for us. And it's for other people. I feel like it's my job in life now to celebrate Justin's legacy."

Click here to learn more about the Justin Veatch Fund how you can help.

To hear Justin's music, CLICK HERE.

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