Home / Top Story / Rehab stint ends in tragedy for oxy-addicted bouncer

Rehab stint ends in tragedy for oxy-addicted bouncer

Freddy Carrasco had never tried heroin — until he went to rehab.

The burly Staten Island bouncer was 25 years old when he flew to Florida in 2013 for his second stint in a drug treatment program. A graduate of Tottenville High School, Carrasco was struggling with an addiction to oxycodone and other opioid painkillers.

Just a few months after he headed south, his parents, Nancy and Joseph, received an unexpected visit from an addiction recovery coach who was working with their son.

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“There’s really bad things going on there,” the coach told them. “You need to bring him home.”

It was only later that they discovered how bad — Carrasco had learned to shoot up from another patient.

The opioids dimmed Freddy Carrasco’s spark and drove him to steal from his parents. Wads of bills went missing from their wallets. Then jewelry started vanishing from their two-story home in Charleston.

The opioids dimmed Freddy Carrasco’s spark and drove him to steal from his parents. Wads of bills went missing from their wallets. Then jewelry started vanishing from their two-story home in Charleston.

(Obtained by Daily News)

“I was very, very, angry,” Nancy Carrasco said. “This place was supposed to be helping him.”

Freddy’s pain-pill habit started roughly three years earlier when he got into a serious car accident. The wreck left him with displaced and herniated discs in his back that led to sciatica. His doctor prescribed 20-mg. of oxycodone to be taken six times a day.

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Soon the pills took hold of Freddy’s life. He needed more and more to satisfy a rapidly intensifying addiction.

His doctor eventually refused to write him any more prescriptions. But Freddy wasn’t going to let that stop him. Like many other opioid users cut off from their supply, he started doctor-shopping.

Using this tactic to amass pills wasn’t especially difficult at the time. New York was still a few years away from enacting a strict prescription drug monitoring program that clamped down on the practice.

Carrasco's grave in Oceanview Cemetery

Carrasco’s grave in Oceanview Cemetery

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

Carrasco was by then enrolled at the College of Staten Island pursuing a degree in psychology.

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His parents noticed that he was slipping up in school. The one-time NYPD auxiliary cop seemed less interested in the things he always loved — the New York Giants, the New York Rangers, Al Pacino movies and the band Linkin Park.

Growing up, Carrasco had chutzpah.

He had always told his parents that he would get a tattoo on his 18th birthday. When the day finally came, the Carrascos received a phone call from their boy.

“Guess where I am, Ma?” he said as an artist was preparing to ink a tattoo on his upper arm, an image of Jesus alongside a lamb.

Staten Island opioid addict’s recovery thwarted by his sickness

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Carrasco learned to shoot heroin from a patient at the rehab facility where he turned for help kicking his pain pill habit.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

The opioids dimmed Carrasco’s spark and drove him to steal from his parents. Wads of bills went missing from their wallets. Then jewelry started vanishing from their two-story home in Charleston.

Joseph Carrasco knew well the irresistible tug of opioid addiction. The elder Carrasco had developed his own pain pill habit after breaking his hip in 2008.

“I was taking six pills a day, and the doctor was telling me it was OK,” Joseph recalled.

Freddy schemed to procure his father’s Percocet pills, telling his dad they were needed for a friend. Until Joseph realized what was going on, Freddy would actually dip into his father’s wallet to pay for the pills that he would then consume himself.

With the help of the addiction coach, the Carrascos got Freddy to agree to leave Staten Island for a Florida rehab.

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“I was very, very, angry,” Nancy Carrasco said. “This place was supposed to be helping him.”

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

It was the first of three trips to Florida for inpatient drug treatment programs.

“For the first time, we had an intervention,” Nancy Carrasco said. “The second time we kind of pushed him out the door. The third time he came to us and said, ‘I need to go get help.’”

Freddy’s condition grew more fragile after that second stay in rehab where he got hooked on heroin. He somehow managed to juggle part-time jobs at Pathmark and Costco while feeding his new habit.

“He was a functioning addict,” Joseph said. “He was working and trying to make it look good.”

That didn’t last long.

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Nic Carrasco Jr. is the nephew of the late Freddy Carrasco.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

Cheap heroin was flooding the streets of Staten Island. After less than a month, Freddy approached his dad and pulled up his sleeves, revealing track marks on his arms.

“I’m in trouble, dad,” he said. “I gotta go back (to rehab).”

Freddy was doing well in his third stint in treatment. But he was forced to leave early because he turned 26 and was no longer permitted to remain on his parents’ health care plan.

Joseph was working as a nurse assistant at a nursing home while Nancy worked part-time in the produce section in Pathmark. The Carrascos tried as hard as they could but they weren’t able to come up with the $ 560 a month, enough to pay for health insurance to keep him in treatment.

Freddy returned home in April 2015. Freddy looked good upon his return, but he struggled to find work.

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Carrasco’s mom Nancy stands in his bedroom in July, over two years after his death.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)

On May 5, 2015, his parents left the house about 1:30 p.m. to run an errand. Freddy, then 26, stayed home with his older brother and 3-year-old nephew. He told his parents that he wanted to take a nap.

Not long after they returned home, Nancy found Freddy lying on the floor of his bedroom. She screamed and Joseph came running.

“I gave CPR to my son for 15 minutes,” Joseph said. “I knew he was gone but I just kept on going.”

Freddy’s parents remain haunted by a series of hypotheticals that will forever go unanswered.

If only he was able to stay in rehab the third time.

If only he never went to rehab at all.

“Who knows?” Joseph said. “He might have still been on pills instead of heroin. You question yourself all the time and the decisions you made.”

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