Turning Tragedy into Awareness
The loss of my son to a combination of medicine and illicit drug abuse is an experience I do not wish on any parent. Looking back, I wish I had educated myself and, in turn, my son more about the dangers of all kinds of substance abuse, including over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse. I know I cannot go back in time, but I can make a difference today by ensuring other parents and teens get the information they need to stay healthy and safe. This is the reason I dedicate so much of my life to spreading the word about medicine abuse so other parents do not have to endure the pain I am experiencing.
A few weeks ago I had another opportunity to talk to millions of parents about medicine abuse. During the recent advisory meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the safety, benefits, and risks of dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many OTC cough medicines, I was approached by a few national media outlets to share my personal experience and talk about the work I have done, and continue to do, as a part of the Five Moms campaign to prevent medicine abuse. I certainly had concerns about sharing my family’s personal history, but the fact that CNN and The Today Show thought my story was important enough to share with millions of viewers—and millions of parents—helped alleviate my fears. Participating in these interviews provided me with an opportunity to reach out to parents as a peer and as someone who truly cares about this problem.
The outpouring of love and encouragement I have since received from parents and friends on my personal Facebook page, as well as the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook page, reminded me how important it is for me to share my story. I am honored to join the other Five Moms in this mission and, as I talk about my past and my loss, I am thankful I have the support of the Moms and the parenting community. It is such a strong reminder to know that we have wisely invested time in a cause we firmly believe can change the lives of so many others.
I know there is still more work to be done, but I am proud of what we have accomplished so far. While there is no quick-fix, I am ready to move forward and continue spreading awareness. I hope you will join me.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your encouragement and support.