Sept. 24, 2021 – If you have been reading The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a while, this story may sound familiar. Boccia wrote an editorial about the crisis of heroin addiction and the impact on her family back in 2013. A reporter wrote about her family’s journey in 2014. In 2015, Boccia shared her criticism of the criminal justice system with readers. Her son’s addiction and incarceration would launch her into a lifetime of activism, which she has pledged to carry on in his name, but that’s a story for another day. This one is for Daniel.

As a young boy, Daniel was friendly, and a huge jokester, said his mom. He enjoyed a range of sports, liked rescuing dogs and lived for holidays when the whole family gathered together. At 15, after dental surgery, he took 5 milligrams of Percocet, said his mother. But it turned into a habit. The first time he tried heroin, he didn’t like it, he told the AJC in 2014, but after the second or third time, he began using it regularly. He dropped out of high school, earned a GED in 2009 and enrolled in NASCAR Technical Institute in North Carolina.


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