On Friday his mother, Loretta Gabriel, spoke of her pain at losing her son to addiction.
“My husband and I, his brother, Jack, and all of my family and so many people have been so devastated by the loss of Sam,” she said.
“As a parent who’s lost her child, this gives me comfort.”
Ms Gabriel welcomed the state government’s announcement that it would open a second safe injecting facility in Melbourne.
The government last year commissioned an independent review of the existing facility, based at North Richmond Community Health.
The review, led by drugs expert Professor Margaret Hamilton, was expected to consider whether to extend the trial for another three years, or to close the centre.
But so overwhelmed was the North Richmond centre by demand, Professor Hamilton recommended the government open a second centre.
The prospect of more support for addicts also came as comfort to Nicholas Meadley, who last year buried his 38-year-old son, Sam, on Sam’s birthday.
“He was a beautiful boy,” Mr Meadley said. “Everyone loved him. He was so full of charm.”
Sam had used heroin for 20 years before his heart suddenly gave out.
When Mr Meadley cleaned out his son’s room, he found a poem Sam had written, which described having been resuscitated three times at the safe injecting room.
The last line of the poem read: “An overdose never needs to end a life.”
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Bianca Hall is City Editor for The Age. She has previously worked as a senior reporter, and in the Canberra federal politics bureau.