Ryan Troy Tripp Jr.'s friends looked up to him as the one who inspired them to stay on the right path of recovery.
"He was such a fighter," said Ryan's dad, of Buzzards Bay, who has the same name, "going to the gym and helping bolster his friends. When he died, some of them wanted to give up."
Ryan's own journal entries, written years earlier, show that Ryan understood his problems and hated his addiction.
"A 17-year-old high school student should be getting ready to graduate and go to college or starting whatever their plan for after high school is," wrote Ryan in a journal he penned while in a drug treatment program. "Instead I was off getting high, not going to school or work. Putting my addiction in front of everything else."
Ryan fought on for years after graduating from Mashpee High School, with many bright spots and small successes, his dad said.
Just a few months ago, he graduated from the Barnstable drug court program. He and his girlfriend moved to Andover.
In early April, Ryan posted on his Facebook page that he had a beautiful girlfriend, and, with her her 2-year-old, he had found the family he always wanted. "This is the life I've always dreamed of," he wrote.
A week later, on April 12, police found him dead of a heroin overdose in his Andover apartment.
His father met all his friends at his memorial service.
Now, plagued with insomnia and grief, the elder Tripp hopes he can help some of them.
Recently, he and his girlfriend spent an entire day calling more than 50 treatment centers to help a 22-year-old woman kicked out of her sober home.
When they found a bed, all the way in Tewksbury, they drove her.
She didn't want to go that far away at first.
"But I showed her a picture of my son dead, with blood all over his face, and she said, 'Let's go to Tewksbury.'"