“Here, Corey. Just take this. It will knock the pain right out.”
For the first time, Chuck Deprill was talking publicly about the events that led up to his son’s opioid overdose death in 2011. In a speech to first responders, he shared how Cory was dealing with pain after a recent hernia repair surgery but needed to return to his full-time job as a wheelchair van driver. A friend offered him an Oxycontin.
“And that was the beginning…” Deprill said.
That one pill led to more pills, to a strong dependence for more opioids, and on to a heroin addiction. His father had worked in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for nearly 50 years. He knew the signs of opioid addiction. He didn’t recognize it in his own son until Corey was arrested in 2009 for theft.
Corey promised his father, “I got this. I can handle this.” Deprill wanted to believe his son. Corey went to rehab twice but didn’t come clean until he ended up in jail. But when he disappeared for several days in 2011 and didn’t answer his cell phone, Deprill feared the worst. On June 25, Corey was found dead in his car, having overdosed on a combination of heroin and fentanyl.
About 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Around 8 to 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder and an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The opioid epidemic is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. And while it was difficult for Deprill to share the story of Corey’s tragic death, he said he did it in hopes he could help save lives of others who are struggling with opioid addiction.
“I was really scared to (share the story),” he told The Morning Call. “But once I spoke, I felt right at home.”
The Morning Call
National Institute on Drug Abuse