YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Westchester family has turned personal suffering into something positive.
As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, Justin Veatch’s parents have used his recorded music to reach young people and educate them about the dangers of drugs.
Veatch, of Yorktown Heights, died from a drug overdose in 2008 at the age of 17.
Stories From Main Street: Family Uses Teen's Music To Teach Others About The Dangers Of Drugs
There’s a hint of sadness in the songs of Justin Veatch. But they’re also hopeful, spiritual and soulful, Adams reported.
“When Justin died of an accidental drug overdose, it turns out that he ended up dying of sniffing heroin,” Justin’s father Jeffrey Veatch said.
LINK: Justin Veatch Fund
He said he found comfort in his son’s recorded music.
“It boggles my mind, it’s amazing. The music is out there, it’s inspiring other people, the message needs to get out there more,” said Veatch. “He was just an all around very talented young man and what a terrible loss. My hope is that his story, a message from Justin, will help other kids.”
Veatch has spoken to more than 12,000 young people about his son and the dangers of drugs.
“I never wanted to do this. It turns out that it was the right prescription for me. It’s cathartic. I can feel much better about Justin’s life because I’m carrying him forward,” Veatch told Adams “My mantra is if it can happen to Justin, it can happen to anyone. And he was a very intelligent, creative young man, very kind to his friends.”
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Veatch said the music strikes a chord. A British teenage named Olly had one of Justin Veatch’s lyrics tattooed on his ribcage.
“He loved Justin’s music. He heard what happened to him, he had to have that tattoo because it reminded him because he had had the same issues with drugs,” Veatch told Adams. “He had it to remind himself to take better care. And I told Olly, ‘you have a guardian angel in Justin.'”
Justin Veatch’s music has been sold in all 50 states and in 28 countries. The proceeds go to a scholarship fund for young musicians, Adams reported.
“It’s a wonderful thing to take the tragedy of this loss and turn it around and hopefully help someone else,” said Veatch.
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