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In memory of Joshua Duvall

Created by Family Of Joshua Duvall

Joshua Duvall

On February 14, while most of you were sharing a time of love with your families and loved ones, my family was saying good-bye to my nephew, Josh Duvall. Josh was living in Florida when he passed away of what we thought was a drug overdose. It turns out that Josh had an enlarged heart. We always knew he had a big heart, but we never thought it would kill him -- it just couldn't take one more shot of heroin. They said there wasn't enough heroin in his system to kill him this time, but his heart thought it was enough. As I said at my nephew's service, there is a huge elephant in the middle of town, and no one talks about. And unless that elephant has come into your house and sat in your living room with your family, you can try toignore it. I know becauseit came into my house. On June 11 at 1:48pm, I was on break when my cell phone rang --it was my son. He told me through tears that he was a heroin addict and he needed help. Those words changed my life and the life of my family. We began a journey into a world where no one should have to go. When Max came to me and asked for help the lid blew off the whole stinking mess that had settled on my family -- and that included Josh. It was out. We knew. I had no idea what to do or where to turn. So I got on my computer and went to the Junkie's themselves. I found a group of people who changed my opinion of drug addicts. They taught me, they helped me, they told me what to expect, they told me where to look for help, they told me what Max would say to me, how he would lie to me about wanting to be clean. They told the truth about heroin and addiction and how these kids may make the decision to put that needle in their arm the first time, but after that, it's out of their hands. If they don't have it, they are sick. "Dope sick" is what it's called, and most would rather be dead than "dope sick." To function “normally” they must have the drug. There is a saying among addicts that, “When need becomes a must, the Devil drives.” That is when our children become strangers to us and their souls belong to something else. The empty shell of a man we took to rehab that day in 2003 only resembled my son. His soul was gone, given to heroin. I also learned from my friends that addiction comes in any size, shape and color. Heroin doesn't care what kind of family you come from or how much money you have or don't have or how much you love your child or care for them. No one wants to grow up to be an addict. Josh lost his fight with addiction after many tries to beat it, and his loss will forever be felt by those of us who loved him. As of this writing I am one of the “lucky” ones. My son always had a job and money for his habit. He never stole anything, robbed anyone, got arrested or overdosed. He graduated from rehab after four months in house, from cold turkey withdrawal, with training and counseling on how to deal with life after heroin. I am able to hold him and hug him and tell him I love him. But I have been to the other side and I know how very lucky I am. So if you're waiting until the elephant comes to your house, sits at your table and steals your child's soul. I doubt you'll have to wait long. Without a fight to stop it, it will come. In fact, if you look, you'll see it's already here. The loss of Josh is one that a whole community felt. How many of these bright, smart, loving people with so much to offer do we have to lose?


This Memorial was created to commemorate a loved one's life and to let other families know they can turn to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for help when struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page to increase awareness of substance use disorders and to provide hope and healing for others.

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Comments

1. Beate Konduris
Thank you for sharing your story. It is so wonderful to hear about the good fight and winning! Keep it up. God bless
2. Fawn Larson
Joshua lives on, he does. In your hearts and now through your memorial on this website. Because his story exists where the public eye can see, now Joshua helps others to realize what the drug does and that it is lethal. Most addicts will not recognize this dark side to their 'passion', but through real stories, real lives and real love they can see and perhaps it will save someone from taking that particular path or perhaps to cut off that path before it cuts it off for them. I am truly sorry.