My boyfriend died from a drug overdose

by Victoria Kiarsis

Billy Derr and Victoria Kiarsis

I met Billy Derr at a 12-step meeting in Boston in the fall of 2014.

Although I didn’t think much about him at the time and was even dating someone else, Billy had different ideas. He told me later that when he saw me for the first time, in my burgundy pants, tan booties, and leather jacket, he knew he’d make me his girlfriend one day. And that he did.

In May 2015, when I was single again, we went to a concert together with friends. He wooed me with his dance … 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...

Collateral Damage

by Jenny Derr

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. This was not … 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...