Derrick “Strawberry” Cox shares his story. It is presented here to let others know they aren’t alone when they suddenly find out a loved one has turned to drugs and their realization that sometimes you can’t get through some tragedies alone. Help is out there and should be sought.


Strawberry is an Activist, Dancer, Model and Actor. He is usually the first to volunteer, and goes above and beyond what’s asked of him. He does not allow external influences to deflect him from his personal mission of spreading goodwill among all. Most important to him is being a Resource to all in the DMV area.


Cox is a proficiently advocate for the education of HIV awareness, Health and Preventive health, gay and lesbian civil rights and liberties and is an eloquent public speaker for political lobbying regarding positive aspects of the LGBTQIA community.


Cox volunteers with Ryan White as an individual living with HIV, Capital Pride, any LGBT community-based Organization, DC Black Gay Pride, Whitman Walker’s PR, Lead Mentor in WW’s Peer+1 Program for newly diagnosed and those living with HIV in the DMV area. While being a member of various boards, such as DC Council and Washington Hospital.


He is also Vice Chair of the DC Health Community Education Engagement Committee of (COHAH).


“The Situation: A few years back I found out my child, my son who was gay was doing drugs and it came as no surprise because the crowd he had chosen to hang around. Once he discovered that I knew, he wanted to talk about it. The date of this conversation kept changing until one day he just showed up, coming down off a high and because of his own insecurities and judgement we ended up fighting sadly.


Afterwards, we were able to finally have that long, overdue conversation.


I wasn’t mad at him just disappointed in a decision behind something he swore I didn’t have to ever worry about! I knew there was nothing good coming out of this and he was honest about not stopping but promised to slow down.

I was hurt, worried, and scared, but it was his life, and his decisions. Later down the line he got sloppy with hiding this information from his actual mother. She was not having it and refused to deal with it from past trauma. So, since he refused to take a weekly piss test while continuing to live with his mother, the newfound agreement was him coming to stay with me for a month. And, afterwards if he gave a clean piss test he could go back home!


He was able to achieve this goal but sadly soon after, 2 months down the line he went out with his friends who he believed was so important to him and over did himself! This ended in my child overdosing early the next morning, leaving his mother to find him in his bed. The paramedics did all they could, unfortunately it was too late!


We tried our best not to judge and offered all the help and support we possibly could, but he knew what he was doing and they were all watching out for one another. I tried to keep him entertained and his mind off those needs and desires with outings, games, traveling, cooking, hobbies, etc… But none of it mattered once we weren’t together.


There are organizations out here that are very good at what they do but you can’t force anyone to go, they have to want to go themselves and desire that change on their own!


Once I lost him I, myself did not want to speak to a professional at first because I’ve dealt with and accepted death all my life. Normally I handle my situations, accept what it is, or change it and move forward. Losing family and friends left and right came natural to me, but this was a different kind of pain. Something of mines, that I chose to cherish, nurture, and take care of was taken away from me. Speaking to someone was needed because I held so many accountable and I didn’t want to become vengeful and continue to carry the rage I had within. I still cry whenever the feeling or need for it comes. “We’re only human after all.”