For the next 15 years, Darby was on the roller coaster of drug addiction.
At age 17, Darby nearly died. Hoetker came home to find his son ashen and barely breathing. Darby’s eyes were rolled back and froth was coming out of his mouth. A syringe lay on the floor nearby.
After three days in an intensive care unit, Darby went to an inpatient treatment center. Twelve weeks later, he graduated from the center and went back to high school.
Darby earned his diploma and gave his commencement speech on June 15, 1989. He enrolled at a junior college and got a job.
Months later, Darby was back in rehab. He moved to New York City when he graduated from the treatment center 15 months later.
Two weeks later, Hoetker got a call from the New York Police Department. Police had found Darby on a street corner. He had overdosed.
“Drug addiction ruins families. It ruins communities. It ruins lives. It will ruin your lives,” Hoetker said.
Even Darby knew his addiction would cost him his life, Hoetker said as he pulled out an undated letter from Darby.
How the hell can someone do this to themselves. It’s hard to look at my pain, but if I don’t it’s gonna kill me.
Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; email@example.com.