In March my brother died of a prescription drug overdose. Oxycontin killed him but he was also abusing xanax, cold medicine, and any other prescription drug he could get. Please don't think I'm telling you this to get sympathy. Rather I'm trying to raise awareness of this problem because I don't want to see other families go through this. Prescription drug abuse has become such a serious problem and it's not getting much coverage. There are millions of people who have an addiction that's nearly impossible to kick. Studies show that 1 in 5 young adults misuse or abuse prescription drugs. I don't usually believe statistics but there were five kids in my family.
I'm not asking you to join an organization or donate money but to educate yourselves and your children on the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Treat them like you would a gun. Teach your children that they can be dangerous if not handled correctly and then hide them and lock them away.
I made a video in honor of my brother with information about drug safety. I wanted people to see that we weren't the type of family who came from inner city slums or that you see on Jerry Springer. We were a regular middle class, suburban family like most of you. Jared went to church and participated in boy scouts. Victims of prescription drug abuse mainly come from middle class suburban families.
I've included links to reputable drug prevention sites in the info section of my video. I tried to consolidate the best info on prescription drug abuse because I know there's a lot of information out there and it's overwhelming. Please take a few minutes to learn about it and then teach it to your kids.
Thank you for sharing that. I truly mean that.
Our family is going through something similar and I am forwarding the link for your video to them.
My heart breaks for you and your family. I cried watching the video because I can feel the pain.
What's harder to understand is, the doctors are aware of the addictions and continue to prescribe the narcotics. In our case, I have personally told the doctor involved of the addiction and they still write the perscriptions out!!! What can we do then?
A sad shame.
I went to a funeral just after Thanksgiving for my DH's good friend. He died of prescription drug overdose and leaves behind a 3 1/2 year old.
DH and I still can't wrap our brains around it. He was also buying them on the net from other countries and they came through the mail.
I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for posting this.
Thank you. I know, the regulation of these drugs is just so loose. I understand the helplessness and frustration that comes from watching a family member self destruct. Prescription drug addictions are very, very difficult to kick. They'll give up anything for the drugs. We convinced Jared to go to rehab a couple of months before he died but the way rehab works is that if they check themselves in then they can check themselves out whenever they want, which is ridiculous. Jared didn't make it through the day before he checked himself out to get high. I'm afraid the only thing to do is to get a judges order to force them to complete rehab because there's no way to reason with them until they're sober. I'm sorry for your family. I hope they can make it through this. And I'm sorry for your loss as well Mkolmar. His poor child.
so sorry for your loss. the youtube video was just lovely...i'm sure your brother is quite proud of you.
Thank you Dailey.
Thank you so much for sharing this video with all of us. You're brother was such a vibrant, handsome young man.........I can't imagine the pain that you and your entire family are feeling.
It made me cry as I was watching it..........it's just such a sad terrible thing.
I'm so very sorry for your loss, I will keep you all in my thoughts.
Thank you Deb. I wanted to encourage people to learn more about this because I didn't research it until after Jared died. I knew he had a serious problem but had no idea how to help him. I felt that he would have a drug problem the rest of his life but it never crossed my mind that he would die from it. He didn't think would it kill him and we didn't think it could happen in our family but no one is exempt.
I am so sorry for your loss, but you are completely right about prescription drug abuse being swept under the rug!!
In 2004, my cousin overdosed on Oxycotin as well. She was only 23 years old, and she left her 2 year-old son without a parent (his father was a deadbeat). She and I were practically raised as sisters (at least, we fought like sisters).
Her abuse began in high school, after she fell from the top of the pyramid in cheerleading practice. She graduated in the top 10% of our class, was active in many different school activities, but she didn't go to college, because the drugs had already started taking over.
They found prescription pads at her dad's home (where she was living), and the doctor whose name was on the pad was later charged and convicted of selling those pads, for people like my cousin.
I really appreeciate you sharing this video with us. I am so sorry for you loss. I needed to be reminded to educate myself with what kids are getting into. We all think it will never happen to us!
That is just so sad. I'm glad the doctor was punished. I really hate Oxycontin. It's so hard to fight this when even doctors are flooding the country with it. I wish prescription drug abuse got more coverage. Before Jared died, we felt like we were the only ones going through this. Now I find that there are so many people suffering too but feel as helpless as we did. I can't let this go. I've never liked drawing attention to myself but this is one issue I feel compelled to fight for. Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe if enough of us do then others will start to see that this really is a problem that shouldn't be ignored.
Thank you Messybaker. And thanks for talking to your kids about it.
That was a beautiful tribute to your brother. So very sorry for your loss.
It is such a huge problem, but it doesn't seem to get the same attention/press as the illegal drugs do.
A life was lost, but an angel was gained.
Thank you Denise. I know he's getting the help he needs now. I know if he were here now he would be the one warning everyone about prescription drug abuse and how it was the worst mistake of his life.
My brother called me a while ago freaking out and mad. He went over to my mom and dads and my dad wasn't feeling well. My mom is the type to hang onto meds that are not completely used and use them at a later date. I'm talking many many years later. This drives me crazy by the way because she is no doctor but just guesses. My mom was trying to give my dad a couple Oxycontin pills to take the pain away. My brother smacked them out of her hand and flushed the rest down the toilet. My mom was wondering why he was upset and went crazy. He had to explain to her how addictive it is. She had no idea and had been giving it to him for a few days. I love my mom but I seriously could smack her upside her head for this! She's a smart lady but is just stupid when it comes to med's. She has the "It's medicine, how can it hurt you?" attitude. I could just scream.
good thing is my dad didn't get addicted to it, bad news is a family members mom is. She had surgery and they gave her pain med that she became addicted to for over a year. She's been off of them for months and now has seizures from abusing the prescription med and can no longer drive. Her first seizure was in front of her kids.
Wow. You know, the sad thing is that before my brother died I would have thought that was ok too. I didn't know what oxycontin was, just that it must have been ok if a doctor prescribed it. I'm glad you brother stopped your mom and let her know. How's that for role reversal. The majority of people think just like your mom, that it's ok to self medicate or give their medicine to others. The partnership for a drug free america just put out an article noting the alarming rise in Rx drug abuse and are going to be focusing a media campaign to make people more aware of it. Hopefully that will help because it's getting really bad. I'm glad your family member was able to quit but I'm sorry she has seizures. I had no idea it left after effects like that. Even more reason to discourage people from starting. I really appreciate you sharing your story. It helps to hear others experiences.
What a wonderful & beautiful tribute to your brother, as well as an eye-opener as to how prescription meds can often become more of a problem than what they were prescribed for. In the midst of your sorrow I hope you remember that your posting here, and your video, will most definitely save at least one life, and be a wake-up call for many others. As another poster said, your brother would be proud.
Thank you Sue. And thanks for reminding me of my goal. It's such a huge problem that I was beginning to get discouraged and overwhelmed. I'd forgotten that if sharing Jared's story saves even one life and one family from the same suffering, then it's served it's purpose.
The other thing about prescription drug abuse is that its not just a "poor" person drug. Lots of people wouldnt be caught dead buy crack from the dtreet corner and think its someone "different". My aunts sister in law became addicted to pain medication after being prescribed them post-surgery. She is a very wealthy dentist and I think it was an enormous shock to her and the whole family how quickly it takes hold. She is fine now but its changed her life such that she doesnt even drink coffee anymore because of its addicting properties.
You're absolutely right. It affects everyone, even the middle and upper class who would never consider buying illegal drugs. I'm glad to hear your aunt overcame her addiction. It makes me happy to hear recovery stories like that because they are so rare. Only a few percent of addicts successfully quit because prescription drugs are highly addictive. Most of them die.
Thank you all for sharing your stories. Please check out this thread I started that links to a petition to ban oxycontin.