Tony Pezzulo was 24 when his life was cut short from drug addiction. He had a lot going for him; he had a great job working for his father, who was very proud of his work, and a family that loved him unconditionally.
He was smart, vibrant, talented, and passionate about his family. He loved his family more than anything and he knew he was loved. Unfortunately all our love could not heal his pain.
When Tony was a child he struggled to fit in and be accepted by his peers. Looking back, my heart is saddened, I remember rides on the school bus when he would get teased and hit, kids spit at him. It was horrible. No child should ever have to go through that.
He never let the kids know that they hurt him, but inside it killed him that they ridiculed him, didn’t like him, or accept him.
He had Attention Deficit Hyper activity Disorder (ADHD) and had trouble interacting with other kids because of his behavior. He was on medication for a while to help him. He went from class to class and school to school to find the help he needed. At age ten we moved to New Hampshire and after a couple of years we found a special needs school there where Tony could get the one on one attention he needed. There he found kids that were just like him, that didn’t fit in, and were searching for acceptance. He started hanging around more and more with his newfound friends but still he was depressed.
He went to different doctors that didn’t seem to help and Tony began searching for his own solution to his problem, and that’s where the trouble began. He started smoking cigarettes, and drinking, then he started smoking marijuana, which interfered with his medication. He had been arrested, and in trouble with the law.
As more time went on he started getting into more drugs to try to make the pain go away. He relied on the drugs to make him happy and feel good. The more pain the more drugs, but what he didn’t understand is the more drugs, the more pain. His drug use tore our family apart inside. We tried so hard to help him, and give him the love and attention that he so desperately wanted from the kids at school, even Aunts, Uncles, and cousins shun him because of his behavior and drug addiction. We tried to be what he needed, but we couldn’t take his pain away.
No matter what he did, he could not find happiness. So he kept searching for the bigger better high until he got into heroin. We sent him to detox and rehab centers, he went to a rehab in California to a 90-day program, but he came back after 40 days. He wanted to get clean, but he couldn’t stay away.
Tony did not want to be a drug addict, he told us all the time that the drugs call him and the demons chase him. He wanted to be different, but he just wasn’t strong enough. He attempted suicide twice; he said “I don’t want to be chased by the demons anymore.” He tried to overdose himself in a gas station bathroom and left my Mother sitting out in the car. The drugs held him, and as hard as we all tried to help him and fix him, we couldn’t.
He moved away from home and shared an apartment with me to try to make it on his own and things just got worse. He’d get into trouble, and call me to go pick him up in the middle of the night. He called after overdosing on heroin and being rushed to hospitals to be picked up. We came close to losing him so many times.
One night the police called my Mom and said that Tony had been in a car accident. After shooting up at someone’s house he drove and passed out behind the wheel and hit a telephone pole head on. No one was there to witness the accident; a Lynn Police officer found him unconscious a short time after the crash. We all rushed to the hospital to find him a mess. He was in the hospital for a week. He broke the bone in his forehead causing fracture to all his sinuses, broke three ribs, he sliced his eyelid completely open and had to have stitches. He had double vision for weeks because of his eye injury. His jaw was broken and had to be wired shut.
After that accident he moved back home to New Hampshire with my parents because the drugs were too accessible to him in Massachusetts. About four months passed and he seemed to be doing well. He would not let anyone see how he hurt inside for his failures and shortcomings. He felt like he failed us all and put us through so much. The truth is that he went through a lot, and we were right there with him.
On Sunday January 11th, he spoke with my parents and I on the phone. He was home all day by himself. Later that night we came home to find him dead on the bathroom floor. He died of a heroin overdose an hour before we got home.
Our lives are changed forever, and every day is a struggle. No matter how much pain and anguish we went through with his drug addiction, it was nothing in comparison to what we live through now.
I will leave you with my brother’s words, “Don’t even flirt with drugs, because if you never tried them you will never be addicted.”
Tony always told me “Elena, don’t ever be like me; be smarter, don’t do drugs -- you are so much better than that.” To this day I am drug free. I loved my brother more than my own life, and my family and I would give anything to have him back. His life will still go on as we battle to educate parents and warn them and their children about drugs. They are not fun they are deadly.
By Elena Pezzulo
I know what you’re thinking; it’s just a little pill.
What harm can it do?
Well, let me tell you…
Last year I found my brother dead on the floor,
His body lay cold behind the bathroom door.
Just one shot of heroin,
Now I’ll never see my brother again.
To everyone it’s a big joke,
It all starts with just a little smoke.
Believe me it leads to other things,
That’s where the trouble begins.
You think your parents are full of it,
You think “oh it’s just a one hit”
It’s just one line, only one shot.
Until drugs consume you and they’re all you’ve got.
Drugs are no joke, this is no game,
I’ve seen it before; every case ends up the same.
I have stood next to my brother’s coffin,
We all tried, but we couldn’t stop him.
Don’t do it…please, for your family.
Be drug free…
Don’t do it, no matter what your friends say.
Please don’t end up the same way.
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