Back on, Saturday October 15, 2014 I received a call from our younger brother Michael. I said Hello, and next thing I heard,”Kathy, Steve is dead.” John was our brother’s legal name but we referred to him as Steve. I yelled in the phone to my brother, and was in shock. My daughter Tara came to get me – to take me to where John’s body was. The (Coroner) had not picked him up from his apartment yet. He had been dead for 3 days. I had talked to Steve only a few days prior in fact, I am certain it was just before he died. I made a habit of checking in with him as much as I could.
Back in July 1997, we lost our mother. Steve was very close to Mom. We were going through a lot at the time due to family drama. I got a call from Steve at 5:30am, and he tried to end his life by turning on the gas in his little one room place in Inglewood, CA. I went out to get him, and brought him back to our place in Redondo Beach. Steve said he wanted help – he was ready to get clean and sober.
Steve had been addicted to Methamphetamines for many years. After much checking, I got Steve into Clare Foundation in Santa Monica to detox. From there he went out to Burbank through Victory Outreach to a Sober Living Home. He did well. He really did good and even turned his life over to Christ. He was baptized at Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch. Georgian Blair, a friend of the family and I attended the services. Very proud of him.
Time flew by and Steve met Gilda. They would end up getting married and I was so happy for them. This was Steve’s first marriage. They met at a dance for people who were in recovery. Steve ended up hurt on the job – a job he loved. I am absolutely positive Steve did not tell the doctors he was a recovering addict. He ended up addicted to Vicodin. He relapsed.
Steve would sniff around for more drugs by going into the ER. Sometimes they would give him a script. Over time, they knew what Steve was up to. So what was left? Buying drugs (opioids) off the streets in South Gate.
Street addicts can get addicted to opioids in the wink of an eye. They often DO NOT tell the physicians they have had prior addiction problems. Are physicians mind readers? No. Was it my brothers responsibility to tell these doctors about his addiction to Meth at one time? YES. I call it personal responsibility. Steve kept a lot from me because he knew I would be angry. In the end- Steve’s kidney’s failed him and he died. I believe his years of abuse caught up to him sadly.
Thank goodness my parents were NOT alive to see Steve fall so hard. Many parents today are in denial. We have young adults over dosing on street drugs and opioids. You cannot mix these medications. Illicit Fentanyl and Heroin are two of the worse drugs out there which are causing many deaths. It’s not PRESCRIPTION medications as the Rummler and Mendell families would like you to think. Look, I am very open about my brother and REFUSE to blame Chronic Pain Patients. You see, I am a chronic pain patient. I have been on Fentanyl the pain patch since 2004-2005. I have RSD-Fibromyalgia- Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Degenerative Disc Disease but here is the deal – I take my medication in a responsible manner. I do not mix other drugs or alcohol w/ them. People who turn to drugs are usually hiding something deeper.
What is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA doing to fix this problem besides BLAME OPIOIDS and DOCTORS? You cannot force “RECOVERY” on drug addicts – they have to be ready to receive. Parents need to be there for their kids all the way. Don’t GIVE UP. Don’t blame doctors for what your kids have done either. Have to be tough.