Crotty's share story of personal loss
It was one year ago when Zach Crotty of Colden died from an accidental drug overdose. Now, his parents are speaking out on the anniversary of Zach’s death to talk about how the loss changed their lives and the steps they are taking to prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy. YNN's Mark Gruba has the story.
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COLDEN, N.Y. -- Suzanne and Mark Crotty still can't believe their son is gone. "We thought things were OK, but it just took that one time that he took too many pills and he's not here today," said Suzanne Crotty. As a teen, Zach Crotty had battled addiction and been to rehab, but his parents never knew the true depth of his drug habit.
"We figured it was growing pains, he's just growing up, he'll grow out of this stage of his life, this will change, I was like that when I was young or something, but that's not what happened," said Mark Crotty.
An accidental drug overdose took Zach's life on October 26, 2009. He was just 19.
The Crotty's grieved over their loss and then began a journey to try to understand how their son, who loved swimming and snowboarding, let drugs ruin his life. What they discovered was that he had abused prescription medication, and that he wasn't alone.
"It's the city, it's the suburbs. It's the rural communities. It's everywhere out there," said Suzanne Crotty.
The National Family Partnership says every year 1.4 million children and young adults begin experimenting with prescription and over the counter medications. The Crotty's decided to speak out, telling parents to lock their medicine cabinets, dispose of unused medication and if they suspect a problem, get professional help immediately. And don't ever think, not my child.
"Everybody thinks it's someone else's kids, never yours," said Mark Crotty. "That was us. It can be yours."
One year later, Zach remains present in the Crotty home. Pictures on a table recall happier times for the family. The Crotty's believe Zach wants them to find ways to help others.
"I think he's working in our lives from up there and giving us strength to help other people that are suffering from this affliction," said Mark Crotty.
On the anniversary of Zach's death there are private tears, but also a public crusade to pass legislation in his name. Zach's Law would create a statewide database for doctors and pharmacists to access, deterring people from having multiple prescriptions filled, just as Zach did in the months before his overdose.
"I just want more people to open up their eyes because I believe that if we all stand together we can make changes," said Suzanne Crotty.
Her husband agreed, "There are other people that are suffering from the same problem that my son had and we're hoping what we've done so far can help others so that they won't have to suffer."