Were Drugs a Factor in These Deaths?
Posted by Childress on August 2, 2006
[Note: Many friends of Derek and Raymond have questioned this post and its earlier title, which I since have changed. The original title, “Drug life leads to deaths,” came from this article’s references to Derek’s drug use and does not refer to Raymond; hence, the singular “Life” in the earlier title. Subsequent investigations show that drug use may have had nothing to do with Derek and Raymond’s deaths; see update and second update.]
Sometimes it’s not the drugs that kill you. It’s the people that a drug-oriented life cause you to hang out with. That may have been the case here — although the story is still developing as the updates above make clear. The St. Petersburg (FL) Sun Times reports:
Derek Pieper told his friends he was going to stop.
In the past few months, the 17-year-old Wesley Chapel boy had dabbled in marijuana, Ecstasy and Xanax, said Dakota Summerton, who dated Pieper last year and remained a close friend. He recently promised to stop using the drugs, Summerton said.
But friends suspect he didn’t. After Pieper and another teen were shot to death in Trilby early Friday morning, those friends wished they could have stopped Pieper themselves.
“He started hanging out with the wrong group of people,” said Summerton, 17, who attended Wesley Chapel High School with Pieper. “He started hanging out with druggies.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Doll would not comment on the investigation of the crime that left two teens dead on a country road, but other comments on the popular social networking Web site MySpace suggest that Pieper’s life had changed direction.
“He made some bad choices the past 6 months, and I was hoping he would grow out of it, I thought he was smarter,” wrote one teen who said he was Pieper’s neighbor.
While Pieper had tried “typical teen drugs” within the past year, it was “nothing hard like crystal meth or anything like that,” Summerton said.
“I just wish I could have turned him away from his bad ways sooner. And I couldnt,” wrote another neighbor.
Summerton said she was also close friends with Raymond Veluz, 18, who was also killed Friday at Trilby.
She said Veluz also attended Wesley Chapel High School, and had fewer friends than Pieper, but was very close to them.
“He was into writing a lot,” Summerton said. “That and techno music.”
Summerton said friends are trying to piece together what happened, and rumors are circulating about how the two died.
No matter what further investigations reveal about this terrible crime, one thing is clear: The perception that ecstasy and presecription drugs are just “typical teen drugs” and nothing to worry about is false. Kids need to understand the concepts of things going wrong, of addictions happening, and of people who deal drugs not being trustworthy.