A 22-year-old man facing charges in the drug overdose death of a man last year in the Annapolis Valley made a brief appearance in Kentville provincial court Monday.

Kyle Fredericks, of Kentville, was arraigned on charges of criminal negligence causing death and trafficking in a controlled substance in the death of Joshua Graves.

Fredericks was given time to get a lawyer. He will be back in court on April 30.

Graves, 21, died after taking a lethal mix of alcohol and Dilaudid at a house party in the Annapolis Valley on March 19, 2011.

His sister, Amy Graves, attended the court appearance along with her mother, Karen Graves, and grandmother, Gerri Scott. All three women wore pendants containing Josh's ashes.

Outside court, Amy Graves said she first experienced a sense of relief when  Fredericks entered the courtroom.

"Then it was a sense of disgust with his facial expressions — joking, laughing smiling. He looked right at me and smiled and waved, pretty much. So, he still doesn't get how serious this is and how much he's affected my family just emotionally," she said.

RCMP initially ruled that Josh Graves's death was an accident. But Amy Graves suspected police didn't do their job right and did her own investigation. She passed the information she had gathered on to police, who reopened the case and charged Fredericks.

Last week, the RCMP apologized to her.

"My biggest goal in all of this was to get justice for my brother,"  Graves said. 

She formed the group Get Prescription Drugs Off the Streets after her brother's death. She has been lobbying for better access to government-funded treatment programs in the area.

Graves plans to keep warning people about the effects of prescription drug abuse.