Blog Report

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Army Veteran Dies After Years of Huffing

Via the Idaho Statesman:

The Medical Examiner has determined that “toxic asphyxia” was the cause of death of 30 year old Aaron David Draper on August 23.

The article notes the man had started abusing inhalants in the Army, as a release from pain from a wound he suffered in a 2005 explosion in Iraq. “He couldn't kick the habit. He got married and had a baby, but he kept huffing to ease the nightmares he believed post-traumatic stress disorder caused. He quit, got divorced and started again.” In 2011 he told a reporter that he believed he would die if he couldn’t overcome his addiction.
Even after treatment at the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Boise, from April 2011 and February 2012 his arrest record shows 12 huffing related arrests. On one occasion police found him outside a Wal-Mart with dozens of cans of keyboard cleaner surrounding him.

His high school friend first noticed his problem when they “pulled up to the bar and his girlfriend was in sheer panic mode because she couldn’t find him.” He said he had a stomachache and was going to the store to get something for it.  They soon found him behind the bar, passed out after huffing keyboard cleaner. After that friends note his addiction seemed to worsen.

On August 22, his girlfriend dropped him off at the bus station. He was on his way to visit his high school friend. His high school friend texted him to say she would pick him up so he wouldn’t have to take the bus but it was too late. At 6:38 am a county worker noticed his body at the bus stop.

Officers found him “face down against a fence, his skin ashy and discolored.” The police report states that next to him was a can of keyboard cleaner and an opened wrapper for a two-pack of computer duster and the officer wrote "I observed that under the body slightly protruding from under the left side was second matching can. The second can appeared to be in the hand of the deceased."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aaron had moved to Nashville in 2012 and came to stay with me. Once he got here he had started to disappear, and several times called me from hospitals claiming he'd been mugged, or in car accidents. After a google search I realized what he was doing. I took him to AA meetings, and to rehab at the VA over and over.

He stole my car, and I received a call from the mental ward at the VA to come get my keys. Aaron made up stories about an IED explosion, and about other things that had supposedly happened while he was deployed. I keep in contact with his ex wife, and we've now realized that the stories he told as an excuse for his drug abuse were merely stories.

It broke my heart watching him go thru these things, but after six weeks of crying, begging him to stay sober, assisting, paying for his room and board, I simply had to remove myself from his world in order to keep my job and my home.

I met Aaron in 2004, and we'd stayed friends the entire time he was married. We dated on and off before his marriage, and the one final time after his marriage, up until I discovered how careless he was. I picked him up from at least six hospitals over a six week period. I'd reached out to his parents, and truly did everything I could to get him into rehab, and to be a friend. After dozens and dozens of lies, and him inviting another woman into my home, I had to walk away.

Addiction is horrible.... Aaron meant well, but he just could not beat his addiction. It still breaks my heart to know the pain he was in.