Thursday, September 12, 2013

End Medicine Abuse

Listen To Your Mother  has joined forces with The Partnership at to host an exclusive blog tour, to follow the live-streaming event of readings on September 10.

We invite you to join us today, Thursday, September 12, as 11 women discuss the epidemic of medicine abuse -- a health issue that is a concern for all of us. Read the original stories on their blogs today and hear them read live, sharing in what we know, and how you can help.
These readings feature new and original work about each of the women’s personal connections to addiction, substance use, and/or what they want children to know about the medicine abuse epidemic through powerful story-sharing. The following is my contribution to the #EndMedicine Abuse project.

* * * 

Growing up, there was no "talk" about drugs, drug abuse, or alcohol use in my home. My family was one of tight lipped understanding of what was acceptable or not. It was behavior based on fear, and though we might have done what was expected, sadly, there was no closeness.

My single parent mother wasn't comfortable bringing up issues that were hard, difficult ones to cover. Where do kids find knowledge and understanding, if it's not offered at home? We get it from school programs, yes, but where is the trust of someone you love, in that information?

I have talked to my teenagers about drugs. I began telling them when they were in the 6th grade. I didn't fear that they'd roll their eyes and sigh, bored at what lecture mom had to give because you kow what your kids will listen to?

Stories from real life.

The kind that are scary and uncomfortable to hear. And even more uncomfortable to tell, because of their truth.

When I was a teenager, there was a girl in my neighborhood, who after being out of school after a week of whispered rumors that her boyfriend had overdosed on her mother's prescription barbiturates, came back, to say that yes, her boyfriend at 17, had died.

The girl had often joked about her mother's medicine cabinet looking like a pharmacy. Her boyfriend got curious one day, and tried the pills. In the beginning, one pill at a time was fun enough. He soon though it would be more fun with two. And then four or more at a time became the amount of fun he needed. The pills didn't feel dangerous to him because they came from a Doctor.

When four at a time didn't get him as high as they used to, someone at school told him that if you take the pills with cough medicine, it would be a real wild ride. The girl was too scared to try that with him, but she was even more scared to tell him no. Her mother never checked on her cabinet full of prescriptions, new and expired, there were so many bottles, she never noticed what bottles had what pills missing, and they were all within such easy reach. One afternoon, with no one home at the girl's house, he took the red pills with yellow pills, and a bottle of her little sister's prescription cough medicine. He died that day.

No one believes that a tragedy will happen, especially if it's not talked about.

My children know this story to the point that they know the color of the girl's eyes. They know how that boy is forever 17. They know the names of the prescription drugs he took that day and of how prescription drugs killed him.

That boy is forever 17. And I will forever see the much too young girl's grey eyes stark against her face made ghostly white from grief, on the day I first saw her after her boyfriend died.

If you heard of a way that you could earn 50 cents on a dollar, you'd take it.

If someone told you that they knew of something that could give you a 50 percent chance of keeping your children safer, you'd say, "Tell me what to do."

Children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message at home. 

50 percent less. Just by talking to them.

Talk to your children about prescription drug abuse. Lock up your medications and keep them out of reach, discard your unused and expired ones. Tell your children that coming from a Doctor doesn't mean they're safe -- they're prescription for a reason. Don't wait for them to ask you to talk. You tell them you want to talk.

It's never too early to start the conversation.

* * *

I am proud to be among the voices listed here, who are contributing their stories to this important project to EndMedicineAbuse. Please visit their blogs today to read and hear their story:

Janelle Hatchet –
Brandi Jeter –
Sherri Kuhn –
Heather King –
Lyz Lenz –
Judy Miller –
Lisa Page Rosenberg –
Alexandra Rosas –
Ellie Schoenberger –
Zakary Watson –
Melisa Wells –

Videos of live readings can be seen here:
Part I
Part II
Part III

 This live event, blog tour, and post are sponsored by The Partnership for, LTYM’s 2013 National Video Sponsor, working together with in an effort to #EndMedicineAbuse.

THANK YOU all so much for your attention to this crucial project.

Let's pledge to do all we can to keep our kids safe. Learn more and take the pledge to #EndMedicineAbuse at


  1. Thank you for this. So tragic. And real. Yes, we had to buy a safe to store all medications, even cough medicine. Now that my teenager is gone (I hate even writing that), I recently realized that we could keep cough medicine in the bathroom cabinet again, which suddenly seemed odd.

    1. I thought the same thing as I read it "I'll bet she can't even believe she's writing that. And arrived at the point of being able to write it."

      Thank you for that, for choosing me, to re enter the world. You're doing some incredibly hard work, being here, and this makes me love you.


  2. So very sad and so real life. I have kids in college. One takes a controlled substance for ADHD. He knows to keep them hidden and never talk about it but once, just one time, he left his clothes locker unlocked. Someone had stolen half of the brand new bottle. He was livid that he didn't have meds for school. Weeks later, a girl at a party snorted a ground up version of the medication (probably not my son's but who knows) and was found passed out, after midnight, on a fraternity lawn. So many more awful things could have happened to her. We were all sad for the stupid mistake she made by accepting drugs from someone.

    1. This is the point exactly, Gina. You are so right. Vigilance, care, awareness. Thank you!!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this.


  4. Oh my god. I have goosebumps all over my body. What a tragic waste.

    I'm SO GLAD you wrote this post ...... as someone who has a very full-on history with illicit drugs, I tend to look at prescription drugs as "safe."

    But they're not. Thank you, beautiful woman. I adore you and everything you stand for XXXXXXX

  5. Alexandra thanks so much for this powerful piece. I am so careful to talk to my kids about drug and alcohol abuse, but I have to admit that I have never included prescription medicine in my list of substances!!! Thank you for changing that!! xo

    1. Thank you for t his, Kathy. It's so important, and it fills me with gratitude, that as a parent, you have found something here that you can use. Thank you so much.

  6. This made me want to throw up.
    Empress, you don't even want to know how many pills are in my cabinet. Arthritis, muscle relaxers, narcotics, anti-psychotics, anti everything that is wrong with me. My son knows that they are there (and very far out of reach) and I explain to him every single time that if he even thinks about touching them, he will die. Yup. Blunt just like that.
    We had the talk about drugs and he's only 4.
    What a shame that the boys life ended like that.

  7. My Dad paid my sister and I $100 a year not to smoke cigarettes. I was so afraid of my dad that I didn't. My sister was caught smoking a cig behind our garage at 16. And she was the good kid! Fast forward into our 20s and we both ended up smoking.

    I think parents can only do so much in counseling kids, but it's the world that changes us, not our families.

  8. I will share this. It's too important not to.

  9. Such an incredibly sad story... but an incredibly important one to share. I love how honest you are with your boys and with us. XOXO



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