Each month, the Times profiles a Cape Cod resident who has died from opiate abuse in a series called “Lost to Addiction.” In the past 15 years, more than 300 people from the Cape and Islands have died of opiate overdoses.

MASHPEE — They say addiction hits without discrimination, and Nicholas Lawrence certainly proves that point.  Nicholas, 26, didn’t go to bars. He didn’t hang out after work, said his father, Jeffrey Lawrence, of Falmouth.  He had a dream throughout his short life to play professional golf. For a while, his aim was true.

Nicholas began playing golf at age 7. He competed on the Falmouth High School golf team, and worked at Falmouth Country Club and New Seabury Country Club.  He earned a sports management degree from Johnson & Wales University, followed by jobs as an assistant pro at Plymouth Country Club and The Golf Club at Yarmouthport.  When his work day ended, he came home, his dad said. He wanted to spend time with his family, said his sister, Jennifer Chagnon, who has two young boys.  “He was the best uncle ever,” she said.  Up until he died of a heroin overdose on Feb. 13, Nicholas had told his family he didn’t need that much help. He said he wasn’t like those other kids.  “We believed him to a certain extent,” said Chagnon, who is seven years Nick’s senior. She owns the Pink Polka Dot boutique and an event-planning business in Falmouth.  Nick attended two residential treatment programs. He received counseling and took Vivitrol, an opiate blocker that prevents the user from getting high on heroin and other opiates.

Unbeknownst to his dad, who drove him to get his monthly Vivitrol injections, Nicholas had failed his drug test in January, and so was unable to receive his Vivitrol shot. He died the following month.  “We all worried about that day, but never thought it would really happen,” Chagnon said.  Chagnon said Nick used oxycodone sporadically, but it turned into a necessary habit his final year in college. When he couldn’t afford the pills, he started with heroin.  “There were over 200 people at his service,” Chagnon said. “The young people from his college, even his college roommate, didn’t have a clue.”  Nicholas’ addiction was completely incongruous with the young man who just loved life, said his dad.  “We used to ski a lot,” in New Hampshire, Colorado and Utah, Lawrence said.  “He lived for family vacations,” Chagnon said. “We would do cruises.”  That’s how Nicholas envisioned his life, filled with family fun and luxurious vacations.  “He loved the flash,” Lawrence said. “He loved cars, vacations and clothes.”

Now the family hopes in some way to honor those big dreams with the Nicholas J. Lawrence Foundation, which will offer scholarships to recovering addicts pursuing college degrees. Eventually, the family wants to open a sober home, where people can safely get their lives back in order, Jeffrey said.  “I cry my eyes out reading the scholarship applications,” Chagnon said. “It’s sad and yet it helps us, too. Their stories are so similar to his and yet we can help them.”

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