Father’s loss inspires mission to prevent drug overdose deaths
Steve Grant creates Chris & Kelly HOPE Foundation, writes book
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - This year, Red Ribbon Week, a national initiative aimed at preventing drug use among young people, falls one week after anniversary of when Steve Grant lost his son, Christopher.
Christopher Grant, 21, died on Oct. 17, 2005 from an accidental overdose of cocaine and methadone.
“(He was) addicted for eight years and ultimately died in our house after five rehabs,” Grant said. “I found him. I thought he was sleeping but he was dying.”
Tragedy struck again five years later when his younger son, Kelly Grant, died from a heroin overdose at the age of 24. His father found him lying on the floor in December 2010. Grant said there was a band around his arm and a needle lying next to him.
“(It was) that unfortunate portrayal of a drug addict,” Grant said. “It was not a pretty scene.”
The loss of his sons inspired Grant to do what he could to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy. He founded the Chris & Kelly HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit that supports programs and people battling addiction. He also wrote “Don’t Forget Me,” a detailed account of his sons’ struggles with drugs.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Chris & Kelly HOPE Fitness Park. The eight-station exercise park sits between the Swamp Rabbit Trail and White Horse Academy, a residential treatment facility for adolescents struggling with substance abuse.
“The purpose was for those kids at White Horse Acaedmy to come down the hill every day in the morning,” Grant said.
The Phoenix Center ran the cost-free program but has since switched to only offering outpatient services for adolescents.
According officials with the Phoenix Center, the McCord Center in Orangeburg County is now the only residential treatment facility for teenagers in South Carolina.
When Christopher sought treatment, Grant said McCord the only facility of its kind back then too. However, there were no available spots for his son.
He said South Carolina needs more facilities like this because they could make a difference earlier on in a young person’s recovery.
“When you’re 24, you can decide if you want to go...(and) leave,” Grant said. “When you’re 14, it’s very hard to leave. It’s almost impossible really.”
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