When Tommy died, we had absolutely no clue that it was from an overdose. He died in early August, and we found out what killed him four months later! And we didn’t get the official coroner’s report until a year later! We had tons of support when he died, and the stories we heard about his personality and character were wonderful. In the background, I had access to his phone and discovered he had been using drugs socially for quite a while and that it got much more serious after he hurt his back playing baseball and sunk into depression. Yet I still had no idea what could have killed him. His friends who were supporting us emotionally as we were them gradually provided some third- and fourth-hand stories about the pain killer he had gotten from somewhere .. The internet? Drug dealer? We still don’t know and most likely never will.
When we learned that Tommy had died of an overdose, I wanted to warn the world that this could happen. Steve was much more conservative and was worried about the stigma that would be placed on Tommy. I wanted to save lives; he wanted to save Tommy’s memory. But I couldn’t hold it inside. We told close friends and family and of course, as many of his friends who were in contact with us. And I found the more people I told, the better I felt about getting the truth out there. I felt people needed to know how these illegal drugs are being modified and have become deadly. I found that I only got even more support and no negative vibes from anyone. Steve eventually agreed with me, and now tells people that ask the truth as far as we know it. Even as I read about (Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher) Tyler Skaggs’ mysterious death, I knew it was remarkably similar to Tommy, and there was a lot of speculation and anger. Again, it took a couple of months for the final report showing that he, too, died of an “accidental overdose”.