'Below Deck' Captain Lee Rosbach Calls on Congress to Make Change After Son's Opioid Overdose Death

Below Deck star Captain Lee Rosbach spoke before the U.S. Congress on Thursday to advocate for more resources to combat the opioid epidemic. Rosbach has been open about his son Josh's death by drug overdose and how it has impacted his family, and he has vowed to use his platform as a reality TV star to make a difference. This week, he was able to take a big step in that direction.

Rosbach was invited to speak with Congress' Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force by Florida Rep. John Rutherford. He told them the story of his son's long struggle with drug addiction, which fans may have heard in one form or another. Josh Rosback was prescribed opiates after an accidental injury and became addicted to them during his recovery process. He dealt with that addiction for two decades before he passed away in 2019.

Rosbach told Congress the heartbreaking story of being the first person to find his son after his death. He said: "I remember every second of that day, like a horrific devastating movie scene playing over and over in my head. Except it's no movie, it's my reality. The sight of my son on the sofa is the first image I see every day when I wake up, and it's the last thing I picture every night before I fall asleep. This is how I've spent every night and every day for the last two years."

Afterward, Rosbach told reporters from TODAY Health that speaking with the task force was cathartic for him. He said: "It was a hard day for me... I wasn't sure I was going to get through it, but oddly enough, I felt better after it was over, like some sort of therapy. Even though it was virtual, there was not a single person that was looking at their watch or going through their notes. You just had 110% of their undivided attention, because they actually cared."

The captain also said that he had waited quite some time to seek out an opportunity like this, fearing that he wouldn't be able to keep his composure during such a speech. However, he felt like he had a responsibility to his son and to other people struggling with addiction to tell his story. He also felt "humbled" by the experience of speaking to federal lawmakers.

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"I wanted to wait until I was sure I was strong, until I could complete it and actually finish what I started," Rosbach said. "And now that I've started, I know that I do have the strength, I possess that strength, to get this done and to make a difference. Whether we save one life, whether we save 10 lives, it's worth it. Somebody has to do something. This can't continue in the direction that it's going."

The most recent data from the CDC shows that the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdoses have only worsened in recent years - notably during the isolating times of the pandemic. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, please call SAMHSA's National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or text TALK to 741741.