Richard W. Perry, Jr. was born in Walnut Creek, California. He had been a resident of Tequesta, Florida. For 18 years. Rich graduated Cardinal Newman High School in 2000, and attended Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. Rich was a member of the Junior Golf Association and a member of Hobe Sound Golf Club. Rich enjoyed golf, boating, movies and making people laugh. Richie touched everyone he met with his warmth and his ever present sense of humor. Rich was the oldest of four children he is survived by two brothers and a sister, 20 Aunts and Uncles and 30 cousins. Rich loved his family and the time he spent with us. Rich started his drug use with Marijuana and Alcohol when he was sixteen years old. He was very good at hiding his use while in high school, he knew that drugs and underage alcohol use was forbidden. By the time Rich went off to college he was abusing prescription drugs and cocaine. During Thanksgiving break, his sophomore year, Rich admitted to us that he had a problem with alcohol and cocaine. He told us that he was actually feigning for cocaine. We offered to send Rich to treatment and he agreed. Rich spent twenty eight days in an in-patient treatment facility followed by and eight week out-patient plan. Rich felt that he was ready to go back to school and did so with the understanding that there could be no drug or alcohol use. He continued his aftercare treatment plan while at school and even made the Deans List. At some point in time Rich felt confident that he could return to Marijuana use. Unfortunately, as taught to him in treatment, this lead him back to the drugs he craved. I spoke to Rich every day that year. On June 27, 2003 Rich and I spoke briefly and as we hung up the phone he said "I love you mom" I replied "I love you too Richie.” That was the last time I ever spoke to my son. Richie went out that night and purchased Heroin and Cocaine from his dealer. Rich used cocaine with the dealer then returned to his college apartment, which he shared with three roommates. Rich shut the door to his room, shot up, collapsed and died by himself. Two days later we received the knock on the door at 2:00 in the morning. Two Deputies told us that our beloved son had died from a drug overdose. We were devastated to find out through the police investigation, that our son had overdosed one month to the day, before he died. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Rich was unresponsive for twenty five minutes, and was finally revived with the administration of Narcan. We were not notified of this overdose and hospital visit. Several people, including his doctor (that we paid), friends and friend's parents, knew that Rich had overdosed and needed to return to treatment. Had any one of those people contacted us we would have helped him.Prior to the time that we loss Richie to a drug overdose we, like most parents, were aware that drugs were a danger to our youth. But, like most parents, we never expected to lose our beloved son, forever, to a drug overdose. We also did not fully understand, until too late, just how pervasive and destructive drug addiction has become in our society. After the loss of Richie we helped found NOPE Task Force, Narcotic Overdose Prevention and Education, a non-profit 501-c3 organization formed in West Palm Beach, Florida. The NOPE Mission is to save lives through dramatic personal presentations about the deadly consequences of drug abuse combined with ongoing efforts to influence anti-drug legislation and the provision of vital information about where young people with a substance abuse problem-and their families-can go for help. NOPE's mission is to make certain that every parent and child we touch understands the realities of drug abuse in our schools today, before it is too late for them, and to educate and assist kids and their parents about how and where to get help for drug addiction. We do this in the memory of the beloved children that we have lost.
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