Lauren Bradford

Lauren Bradford was beautiful. Smart. Loving.

She had a gift for seeing when someone needed a boost and giving it to them. She helped kids struggling with classes at Nauset Regional High School. She befriended those outside the mainstream.

She cared. Lauren loved animals. She kept a pet mouse named Chubby, rescued from a pet shop where it was destined to be snake food.

She hoped to be a clinical psychologist someday.

This is what Paul and Nancy Bradford, of Harwich, see when they look at photos of their daughter.

But Lauren had a secret. She loved to get high.

Snapshots are all the Bradfords have left of Lauren. Her secret took her life in February 2010, when she overdosed on a bad batch of heroin.

She was only 18.