The drug dealer I thought I hated

by Jenny Derr

I attended a program at Godwin High School this week, which was organized by Project Purple, of which I am a member.  The ORBIT program, which stands for Opiate Recovery By Intensive Tracking, is a Henrico County Sheriff’s office initiative, which serves to help inmates battling addiction to opioids.

This particular program is called In Plain Sight, and the residents of the program set up a typical teen bedroom on the stage and then ask members of the audience to come up and see if they can find the 50 items related to drug use, … Read more...

I didn’t want Billy to be the ‘poster child’ for heroin addiction

by Jenny Derr

Note from Anne Moss: I wrote this post, Going to Jail, prior to my visit and presentation on hope to the HARP, heroin addicts recovery program, in Chesterfield, VA. On that post, Jenny, in addiction to some others, posted comments I made screenshots of and shared in my presentation to the ladies in the program. I wanted them to know they mattered and made a difference. 

A couple of weeks after Billy died I received a letter that was in a Hope Church envelope. Inside was another envelope with a department of corrections stamp. I was having … Read more...

Nar-anon saved my sanity

by Jenny Derr

In June of 2014 I wrote an email to a blogger friend, who had a pretty wide network. We had just taken Billy to another treatment facility and I was feeling pretty alone and sad.

Here is an excerpt of the letter I sent:

“I have really been thinking of your Widen the Circle post, as I think it means not only to open your circle when you are with others, but don’t we need to open our circle ( ourselves) even when we are alone? My sweet Billy is in Rehab. He was doing ok but

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Collateral Damage

by Jenny Derr

The Derr Family

The effects of substance use disorder are so widespread, it truly is like throwing a brick in a pond – the ripples seemingly keep coming, a new one appearing as another moves out. That’s how the loss of Billy feels.

I often think of those beyond our immediate family who loved him and who are also impacted like the many ripples of this loss.

When it was confirmed that Billy died as a result of an overdose, it was so important to me that I tell the ones to whom he was closest. … Read more...

Billy Derr’s Story

By Jenny Derr, his mother

In April of 2016, our 24-year-old son, Billy was visiting us in Richmond. We had a good weekend–he was engaged, laughing, and spending a lot of time with us, which is not the typical behavior of someone in active addiction.

He had relapsed in October 2015, after a year and a half of sobriety, and seemed to be back on the right track. He was enrolled at Boston University taking two classes and he loved living in Beacon Hill. He flew back to Boston on a Tuesday morning, I took him to the airport, … Read more...