Intelligent, social, caring, honest, friend
Chris was the life of the party in every sense, he was a bright, caring, and outgoing individual that loved spending time with his friends and family. He enjoyed it so much that he usually took it upon himself to organize gatherings for his loved ones. Chris told stories in a way that made everyone laugh, a trait he inherited from his Grandpop who was one of Chris’ favorite people.
Chris was an excellent student who graduated High School with honors. He then went to Rutgers University in NJ, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice. While in college Chris worked for the county prosecutor’s office. He had always loved watching shows about criminal justice and cold cases and aspired to become a lawyer or criminologist himself one day.
After graduation he began work for the NJ State Government, offering legal support for the families of children who were in the system. He loved his job and decided to take the LSAT exam in hopes of pursuing a career as a lawyer. He had purchased his own home and life was looking promising for him. Unfortunately, four years after graduation he suffered an injury to his ankle which took him out of work for months. During this time, he developed an addiction to the medication that was prescribed to him during treatment.
His family history genetically predisposed him to addictive personality disorder, something his family only noticed once he had begun college. After treatment for his injury was complete, Chris continued to self-medicate which later led him to heroin use and criminal behavior, that resulted in doing time in prison, losing his job and having to move out of his home.
Prior to his addiction Chris was a highly dependable person who was always there to take care of his family and friends. “He loved children and dreamed of one day being a father and starting his own family,” says his mother. But his addiction changed him, and he began to hate himself for what he was putting himself and his family through. He tried every type of treatment he could, none of which seemed to be able to work in the long run.
Chris struggled to find his identity after losing his career path and worked a few different jobs during his recovery. But in December 2016, he relapsed and unknowingly used fentanyl which caused an overdose he would not recover from. Chris passed away two days before Christmas; and although it was a nightmare for his family it was a blessing for others. Chris was an organ donor and gave the ultimate gift saving three lives on Christmas Day.
Although Chris’ life was short, the impact he made on those around him continues to live on through his loved ones and those that hear his story. His mother, inspired and changed forever by her son’s life has since taken a vow to continue advocating to destigmatize addiction and to work to change the system that failed her son, so that no other families will have to endure what hers went through.
Christopher’s mother, Brenda Deckman, provided information for this narrative
May 14, 1981 – Dec. 23, 2016
Age 35, Lived with the disease of addiction 7 years.