September 01, 2009 —

If you are familiar with the Five Moms campaign, you are likely noticing something different around the site — me! My name is Misty Fetko, and I am jumping in to pick up where Julie Bermant left off in the fight against medicine abuse. Before introducing myself further, I want to thank Julie for her great work and dedication to the campaign. While Julie is moving on, she will always be a part of this incredible movement.

My story started over six years ago on a morning that changed my life forever. I saw an empty bottle of cough medicine in the back seat of my son Carl's car and got worried. When I rushed to his room and found the door locked, I became panicked. And the moment I realized that Carl was dead, I was left to wonder how this terrible tragedy could have happened.

As both a parent and a registered nurse, I had always looked for clues as to whether or not Carl was abusing drugs. I never found any typical signs of drug abuse in my searches that would lead me to think he was. I never knew to look for the warning signs of cough medicine abuse, however, and didn't even know this type of abuse was possible.

What I found out later was that Carl was abusing more than just cough medicine. He passed away in his sleep after ingesting a deadly combination of drugs, including Fentanyl, a prescription narcotic; marijuana; and dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough medicines.

I never want another parent to experience what I did that morning, and I hope that as a member of the Five Moms campaign I can use my experience to help create even greater awareness of this teen behavior.

You can expect a lot more from me in the coming months. I want to share what I've learned, what you need to look for to prevent medicine abuse in your home, and how you can talk with your teens to make sure they're not engaging in this dangerous behavior. You also can join me at the Stop Medicine Abuse fan page on Facebook. I look forward to working with all of you to make sure that parents across the country know that we can prevent this abuse and protect our kids... together!