Larry and Sue Grogan smile when they think of how proud their son, Paul, was after completing the Keys to Recovery Program at Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines.
While struggling through middle and high school, Paul Grogan began using drugs and became addicted to heroin. The hospital's recovery program got Paul clean for "a good, solid year" and restored his hope for the future, his parents said.
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"He said to me, 'Mom, I feel so good,'" Sue Grogran said.
Then Paul's best friend died of a heroin and morphine overdose, and a short time later, he witnessed a stranger's violent suicide in Oklahoma, sending him into a deep depression and back to drugs. His parents said he was never the same after that.
Paul Grogan, 26, died of a heroin overdose Nov. 11 at the family's Glendale Heights home. His parents say Paul, a Glenbard North High School graduate, was an extremely bright and sensitive man who loved kids, reading science and philosophy books, and was deeply loyal to his friends.
He was fascinated by the biology of addiction, which is why donations in his memory were directed to Narcotics Anonymous World Services.
"What Paul would want is more brain research to understand how you can override these receptors once you get addicted," said his father, Larry.
Paul may have seemed tough and closed on the outside, but his mother said those who really knew him knew he was a marshmallow on the inside.
"He had the biggest heart," she said.