Idaho father speaks out after losing his teenage son to heroin

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) - Charles Peyton Chambers was a heroin addict but wanted help. His family was hoping the 19-year-old man was about to turn his life around.  But before he crossed that bridge to recovery, Chambers passed away from a heroin overdose in October.

Days before he was supposed to leave for a Salt Lake City rehab center, police found Chambers had died from a heroin overdose. His death left a gaping hole in his family and friends.

Growing up Chambers loved the outdoors. His dad, Charles Chambers, Sr., fondly remembers spending time together white-water rafting. Barely a year out of high school, the Boise Brave, shot up and overdosed on heroin. Chambers was dead at 19. 

"You're not invincible. That drug is so much stronger than you, and it doesn't matter what color you are, what age you are. It will take you down," said Chambers' father.

Charles Chambers, Sr. says his son's appetite for drugs was intense. It started with him snorting highly addictive prescription opioids. When that rush faded, he started shooting up heroin daily. According to Chambers, his son was on a slippery slope, and he says he was dead less than 100 days after he first experimented with opioids.

"There was no downward spiral it was like a giant slide, straight down," explained Chambers, Sr.

Doctors at Boise's Saint Alphonsus Hospital say the time it takes for a person to become addicted varies. But it can happen in just weeks, and then the only thing that matters is their next fix.

"Their euphoria and their feeling of high and relaxation is wearing off and that's what they are looking for by using so close to again," said Dr. Kari Peterson an E.R. physician at Saint Alphonsus

Ada County (Idaho) prosecutors charged 29-year-old Tommy Basco in connection to Chambers’s death. Saying when he overdosed, Basco tried to revive him by giving him an ice bath and meth. He's now facing charges for failing to report his death.

Doctors say what could have saved Peyton's life is the drug Naloxone. E.M.T's and many police officers carry it with them; it's even available without a prescription. But Chambers's father didn't know about the life-saving drug and neither do many others.

“It's also helpful when we see patents in the emergency department we know have opiate addiction issues we can be prescribing naloxone to them just to have.  Just getting the word is the biggest," said Dr. Peterson.

But Chambers never made it to the hospital, and his dad is wishing he could hear these words: "I love you so much I was always proud of you, even when you thought I wasn't. I was proud of you," said the elder Chambers.  

Basco is expected to be in front of a judge on Dec. 1. His bond has been set at $100,000.

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