Longform

Generation Rx

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Six of Luke's longtime friends served as pallbearers at the funeral. After Tina told Sondra the name of one of Luke's suppliers, she was shocked to find the dealer's signature in the funeral home guest book.

Luke's drug-using friends were there, too, and some of their lives have changed. In the last 12 months, Shelley has moved to a university out of state. Using journal entries from their month together, Shelley wrote a short one-woman play about falling in love with Luke and then finding him dead and performed it for her theater class. She no longer takes any psychotropic medications. "When I stopped abusing my prescription drugs," Shelley says, "I was able to stop using them [altogether]."

Most of Luke's friends say they've stopped using illicit medications. "None of us ever thought the pills were that dangerous," Christopher says. "I didn't want to be part of it anymore."

Corey says he's stopped smoking pot but still does Percocet. "I think we're all more cautious," he says.

Jason was scared, but also angry. "It seemed like such a waste," he says. "It scared me, and it still does. I have a lot of friends who are doing what he was doing. They moderated it at first. But Luke understood. Moderation isn't possible."

Anthony feels like he grew up a lot in the last year. "It was like I left 'La La Land'--drugs are fun, they won't hurt us, we're so young--and realized death was real," he says. "I think about Luke every day."

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Glenna Whitley

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