"He enjoyed life. He would joke. He just had a lot of life to give in too short of a time with us."
WLOX sat down with Angie Johnson to talk about recent death of her oldest child--19-year-old Derrick Johnson.
Derrick was an honor roll student in high school, and should have started class at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Monday.
He's described as a good kid, but his mom began to notice a change his senior year...
"Friends were changing. Something was going on. Another year passed by and I had recognized more different people, different friends coming in his life and out. I asked him if there was a problem and I asked him about what he was doing, and he said he had smoked pot a little bit. 'But everybody does it, Mom. They all do it on the weekends and at the parties and its just something we do.' And I just wanted to tell him that one drug leads to another, and it may start with marijuana and alcohol , and its gonna lead to something else," said Johnson.
Despite repeated warnings from his family, Derrick's recreational use of marijuana eventually led to a combination of drugs that claimed his life.
Derrick died on Friday, after an overdose on soma, lortabs, and methadone - a combination of a muscle relaxer, a pain killer, and a drug used to wean heroin addicts off of heroin.
"I was aware and my eyes were open. There are parents that their eyes aren't open. And for those parents that their eyes aren't open, they need to be nosy, and they need to look. They need to put their arms around their children and hug them, and let them know that they love them. I don't want Derrick to die, or his death not help somebody else. I think if we can make children aware and the parents, I think we'd be better off," said Johnson.
Derrick's family and friends say there needs to be more resources available, like a "safe house", where kids and teens can go to talk about their drug habits.
The family plans to come up with a drug awareness video tape and other educational materials in Derrick's honor.