Father who lost son to heroin overdose encouraged by HOPE Act

Father who lost son from heroin overdose, encouraged by Hope Act
Josh McBride (Source: McBride family photo)
Josh McBride (Source: McBride family photo)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington resident Bob McBride picked up his son, Josh, at a treatment center on May 12, 2016. The two spent the day together, went to the mall and enjoyed a few laughs, all before the unthinkable happened.

"We went home and had a great evening and I found him the next morning," Bob said.

He found Josh lying dead in his bedroom. Josh had been battling addictions for the past decade and that night, it all came to a devastating end.

"To me, I think the saddest thing is, he didn't get to experience the life I know he wanted," Bob said. "It got cut too short."

Bob hung on every word as leaders unveiled the HOPE Act in Wilmington Thursday with special attention to the phrase "death by distribution," a new crime that, under this proposed bill, would have dealers facing stricter punishment if they sell drugs that cause a person's death.

"If Josh's case gave fuel to the fire and helped this effort, then that would be all he would have wanted, I think," Bob said.

District Attorney Ben David addressed the McBride family directly as they initially charged his dealer, Aquan Richardson, with second-degree murder for Josh's death.

"In my mind, it was truly indisputable the evidence they had," Bob said. "They communicate all day through text messages. Come to find out, Josh had bought drugs from Aquan while we were at the mall together."

While Richardson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drug charges, David acknowledged Josh's case spearheaded the effort for tougher laws for those who cause a death through the drugs they sell.

"You have lost in ways we can't even begin to fathom. Josh was someone's baby. Everyone who dies is, and we are going to treat victims as victims and drug dealers as drug dealers, the defendants that they are," said David.

For the McBride family, a harsher punishment won't bring Josh back, but perhaps this new bill could save another family from a broken heart.

"It gives me hope for the community and other families," Bob said while fighting back tears. "I don't want anyone to go through what we have gone through."

Richardson was sentenced to 91 to 152 months in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of possession with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school/childcare facility and sale or delivery of a controlled substance.

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