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Ex-cop who helped police with addiction dies in CVS parking lot

A 28-year veteran with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Terry Marvin used to bust drug dealers for a living. He later helped open a treatment center to help first responders with addiction problems.

Click to read the special report

But Marvin also battled his own addiction demons for years. On June 23, 2015, he died in his Chevy Camaro in front of a CVS pharmacy in West Palm Beach after overdosing on heroin. He was 56.

>>Heroin epidemic, hidden in shame, draws little action to stop the dying

>>Interactive Calendar: All the lives lost

“I knew Terry’s drug of choice was alcohol. How the hell did he get to heroin? That’s like leaping football fields,’’ his friend Sean Riley wrote in a blog post, “but with the disease of addiction there is no logic, excuses or explanations for the things we do.’’

Riley, a recovering addict and former cop, is president of Safe Call Now, a Washington-based hotline that helps first responders seek treatment for substance abuse.

>>Heroin scourge: 'Not a thing being done about it'

In his blog, he credits Marvin, whose wife is executive assistant to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, with helping turn his life around at The Recovery Team in North Palm Beach.

“I sent a lot of first responders to Terry for help and he got them sober and gave them their lives back. I will always be forever grateful for what he did for others and the lives he saved,’’ Riley said.

>>Full Coverage: Generation Heroin special report

“His smile was infectious and his laid back demeanor was fitting for South Florida, but his dedication towards first responders and getting them help was unmatched.’’

Marvin wasn’t the only person who worked at a local addiction treatment center but died of a heroin overdose last year.

>>What is addiction? Why some can’t give it up, others can walk away

>>Former assistant state attorney, a potential star, is lost to epidemic

Michael A. Beato was a rehabilitation administrator with The Watershed Addiction Treatment Center in Delray Beach. “Most lives saved!” he wrote next to a photo he posted on social media in late 2014 of an award he received for his outstanding work with addicts.

Beato overdosed a month later. He was 30.

“Unfortunately the disease took over and he used again after 5 years clean,’’ his brother James wrote on a gofundme page to help cover the funeral costs.

“He agreed to go back to (a) halfway house after using for just a few days, and when he arrived there, used one last time in the bathroom and overdosed. By the time police got there, it was too late for my brother. We lost the greatest person I’ve ever known.”

His family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Clint Parker, an addiction counselor, worked at Proactive Recovery Center in Delray Beach. He died Dec. 2 with fentanyl in his blood. He was 36.

The RECO Institute, a substance abuse treatment facility in Delray Beach, established a scholarship in Parker’s name.

Michael Incognito, who opened Way of Life Recovery in Lake Worth in 2012, died July 2 in a Marriott hotel room on Singer Island after overdosing. He was 29.

 >>How to recognize an overdose and save a life

>>Opiate, opioid, Narcan? Words to know about the heroin epidemic

“When he passed away, so many people on Facebook said, ‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Michael,’’’ said his mother, Diane.

She said Michael had his own addiction, starting with pain pills in New Jersey and then heroin. He sought treatment in California and Tennessee before coming to Florida, where his mother said he was able to get clean for a while.

He always helped people, even strangers. “He came to my house once and he had no shoes. I said, ‘Mike, why don’t you have any shoes?’ He said, ‘There was a homeless man. His feet were bleeding. I gave him my sneakers.’’’

In 2012, after he’d been clean for a year, Michael’s parents agreed to front him $20,000 to start a treatment center called Way of Life, Diane said.

“When he passed away, we said we’re going to keep running these businesses to help people,’’ Diane said. “He was good at helping people. He just had an addiction.’’

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