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Vance County Youth Dies; Oxycontin Suspected

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VANCE COUNTY — Oxycontin is a prescription drug that does wonders for patients in severe pain, but it can also kill those who abuse it.

17-year-old Kevin Hardee's family describes him as a good, generous person, but, they admit the high school dropout had gotten mixed up with drugs.

"I worried every time he left the house," his father, Larry Hardee said.

"You're going to get yourself in trouble. You're going to end up behind bars or dead one," said Hardee.

A father's warning turned out to be prophetic last weekend, when witnesses say Kevin drank alcohol, smoked marijuana, and snorted the prescription pain killer Oxycontin.

Kevin was found dead in a car outside a Vance County home where he had been partying. According to his death certificate, he died from respiratory failure linked to a drug overdose.

"Let teenagers know there's nothing in drugs but death," Hardee said.

As Gale and Larry Hardee grieve, they hope other families will learn from their loss and understand that drug abuse is also devastating for those left behind.

"I expect to see him any day, just walk through the door, to call, but we'll never see that again. We don't know what else we could have done," Hardee said.

The Hardees are now pushing to have the person who gave Kevin the Oxycontin prosecuted. The Vance County Sheriff's department is investigating, but they are waiting on the results of the autopsy.


Cullen Browder, Reporter
Chris Ray, Photographer
Julian King, Web Editor

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