Parents Share Stories of their Child’s Drug Overdose in Effort to Save Other Lives

It’s a new online trend: Parents sharing photographs of their children in hospital beds – or worse – after they overdose or suffer life-threatening reactions to illicit drugs.

father posts image of son after heroin overdoseIn three of these cases, the teens or young adults were hooked up with tubes, wires to monitors, sometimes respirators. They were all – two young women and one young man – in comas caused by their drug use. The two women had taken Molly (the crystalline form of Ecstasy although it may actually contain other substances as well.) The young man was in a coma after he overdosed on heroin.

In the fourth case, a parent took a photo of his child just after he died of a heroin overdose and was delivered to a funeral home.

A Colorado Rave Almost Took One Young Life

Here is one of those photos, as published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. According to the story, this seventeen-year-old girl took Molly at an electronic dance festival in Colorado in September 2014. Was it a bad batch of the drug or was this just her reaction to taking it? Reports from the event said that the venue was oversold, overcrowded, hot and cooling water was hard to come by.

Ecstasy or the crystalline form of it, Molly, is a strong stimulant that increases body temperature and causes one’s heart to beat faster. The reaction to this stimulation can be seizures, high fever, organ breakdown and death.

young women afer drug overdoes

This young woman had to be brought back to life twice. Her pulse was 165 beats a minute at one point and her temperature was 108 degrees.

Medical care was able to bring her back from the edge and she has been recovering as did the other young woman who had a bad reaction to Molly.

The young man in a coma from heroin overdose was not as lucky. In October, on his nineteenth birthday, Matthew overdosed on heroin. Hospital personnel did their best but he passed away.

Why Do Parents Publish These Images?

It’s hard to image the pain and grief of these parents. At the same time, they are saying, “This must never happen to someone else.” They take a photo of one of the most terrible moments in their lives and they make the images public in the hopes that other parents don’t have to suffer the same fear and loss.

The father who published the image of his son in a funeral home said he made that image public out of guilt and grief. He’s quoted as saying, “I’ll spend the rest of my days on this earth racking my brain trying to figure out what I should have done differently.”

Preventing Further Loss of Life

How can we save these young lives? How can we prevent other families from going through these terrible losses? If a young person understands the risks very thoroughly, there is a better chance they will decide not to use drugs, even if those around them do. Narconon has created dozens of booklets and educational guides to help families avoid these deadly situations.

Understanding and fighting the abuse of synthetics
Fighting back against heroin abuse
Preventing use of and addiction to marijuana:
What you can do about prescription drug abuse:

Around the world, Narconon staff work day in and day out to prevent tragedies such as these through our drug prevention and rehabilitation efforts.  It is our hope and prayer that you never have to experience this kind of pain and loss.


About Sue Birkenshaw

Sue Birkenshaw has worked with Narconon in the drug prevention and rehabilitation field for nearly three decades and has extensive experience in drug education programs with both school based programs as well as broad public outreach.