Captain Lee Rosbach is doing his part to help those struggling with addiction after losing his son to an accidental drug overdose.
During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Monday, the Below Deck star, 71, revealed his plans to open a new addiction rehabilitation center at sea. He said the facility will be housed on a 470-foot barge capable of hosting 200 patients at a time.
Rosbach said his program won’t just be focused on detoxing from substances, but also on how to be successful in life once patients get sober.
“We’re also converting it into a vocational rehabilitation center so that not only do we try to get them clean, but we try to get them back into the mainstream of the community with an ability to make a living,” he said. “Usually when they get out…they’ve burned all of their bridges when it comes to employment because of drug use, and they have nothing to fall back on. So, you can’t really just kick them back out into society and say ‘Hey, you’re on your own.’ “
“We want to give them something viable that they can count on, and they can go out there are be productive members,” he added.
Rosbach’s son Joshua Lee Rosbach died in July 2019 after battling addiction for 20 years. Josh was 42 at the time of his death.
Cohen praised Rosbach for using his platform to advocate against the opioid crisis.
“It’s incredible that I get this opportunity because there are so many parents out there like [my wife] Mary Anne and I who have lost – not only parents, but husbands, wives, the list is endless – that just don’t get a voice,” Rosbach responded.
Captain Lee Rosbach/Instagram
Last week, Rosbach gave an impassioned speech in front of Congress about the importance of ending the opioid crisis in America.
“I’m not here because I’m a doctor, a statistician, or psychologist. I’m simply a dad who’s lived through the horrors that come from the opioid crisis that’s devastating our nation,” Rosbach said. “I didn’t agree to be here today to make anyone feel all warm and fuzzy. When I’m done, it’s my hope you’ll have a very different view of this crisis that’s so tremendously misunderstood.”
During his emotional testimony, the reality star recalled his final days with his son.
“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,” he said. “This is how I’ve spent every night and every day for the last two years. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine finding someone you love more than your own life itself dead and cold on their couch?”
“I have crystal clear memory of that day. Josh was unique soul. There was no one who met him that didn’t like him. Handsome, charming, all of the things that a parent can say with pride and a smile when they talk about their child. I could go on for hours about what a great person he was. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact he had demons that eventually killed him. It’s not a very nice story, his journey with the drug that took his life.”
Since Josh’s death, Rosbach and his family have continued to honor him in special ways. At the Awaken Recovery Center in Greenacres, Florida, a scholarship was created last year in Josh’s name providing free in-house treatment to someone of Rosbach and his wife’s choosing, so that they can have a chance to keep another family from suffering the same tragic loss.
Josh is survived by his parents, sister, brother, nieces and nephews and numerous aunts and uncles.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.