Captain Lee Is Going to Washington: How Below Deck Star Honors Son's Legacy in Fighting Addiction

Captain Lee Rosbach continues to honor the legacy of his late son, Josh Lee, who died from opioid addiction. Now, the Below Deck star finds himself in "uncharted waters" speaking to Congress.

By Beth Sobol Oct 22, 2021 3:23 PMTags
Watch: What We've Learned About Yachting From "Below Deck"

Building a legacy. 

Below Deck's Captain Lee Rosbach will be traveling to the nation's capital to address an issue close to his heart: the opioid crisis. Lee lost his son, Josh Lee Rosbach, who was 42 at the time, to opioid addiction in 2019.

"They called my son's death an accidental overdose," Lee told E! News in an exclusive interview on Oct. 22. "It wasn't. It was an accidental poisoning. He didn't know there was fentanyl in the pill he was taking. Dealers just put it in there because it's cheap. They manufacture pills laced with fentanyl and they don't know what they're doing and people end up dead."

Harsher crackdowns on fentanyl regulation and punishment for those who sell it are two issues Lee plans to address when he goes to Washington D.C. next week on Oct. 28. Along with Florida Congressman John Rutherford, Lee will host a congressional roundtable with the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force.

Below Deck Season 9 Cast Photos

"I think you have to start at the place where people make the laws to have any effectual change," Lee said. In speaking to the task force about his own story, he hopes his celebrity status as a Bravo star will help draw more attention and urgency to the matter.

Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

"It's unfortunate that moms and dads scream from the rooftops every day and nobody pays attention to them," Lee added, "and it takes someone with a little status to help. Yes, I lost my son, but I'm only one of hundreds of thousands. We all hurt the same way. We belong to a club nobody wants to belong to and we'll carry that pain with us the rest of our lives."

He also plans to honor his son's legacy with a rehabilitation center that will bear his son's name.

"It's a rehabilitation center I've been working on that will be on the water, on a barge, that will be not just a rehab but a vocational center," he shared. "It will be able to accommodate 200 patients and when they finish the rehabilitation part of their stay—however long that takes—they will learn a skillset and leave with a vocation. The barge is already constructed, it's just a matter of getting the funds appropriated. It's a lot of red tape. Which is another thing. Lawmakers should do more to assist in getting these things done. Drug addiction shouldn't be political."

"The barge itself," he noted, "will be called the Joshua Lee."

Celebrities Who Got Candid About Addictions and Sobriety

Lee puts up with a lot of what he calls "crap" from his younger crew members on Below Deck, but he's grateful for the platform it gives him in helping to fight the opioid crisis. 

"No pun intended, but I'm in really unchartered waters," Lee concluded. "Going to Congress and pleading my case is a bit intimidating. But all the crap I've put up with in my life will worth it if I can get something accomplished."

Below Deck season nine premieres Monday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. on Bravo. 

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Peacock is live now! Check out NBCU's streaming service here.