A combination of heroin and cold medicine known as “cheese” likely killed ninth-grader Fernando Cortez Jr. the first time he used it.
He was a good kid on a short leash, his father said, not a kid who did drugs.
But on the night of March 30, a Friday, Cortez went with his sister to her 19-year-old boyfriend Deleon Juan Vanegas’ house in east Dallas. There, police said, the older teen broke out some “cheese.”
“They did the drug, went out and got some more, and did it again,” said Fernando Cortez Sr., recounting what authorities told him about that night.
“My understanding is that he was complaining about a stomachache and feeling sleepy. Instead of taking him to a hospital they put him to bed,” said the father, a land surveyor. “He never woke up.”
Cortez’s sister told police she found his body the next morning.
The 15-year-old who loved football and who traveled away from home only once in his life, on a tour of Texas, is one of 21 teens killed in the Dallas area over the past two years by a drug officials call “starter heroin.”
Since it appeared in August 2005, “cheese” has taken off among Dallas middle school and high school students, particularly Hispanics in the northeast part of the city, police and school officials said. It has spread to other neighborhoods, addicting children from a variety of backgrounds, and treatment providers say they have received calls from parents of children as young as 9 who have used the drug.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRONICLE: http://chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4935295.html