By P. Berman, A. Hosack & K. Hecht
Davy don’t. Davy stop please stop. NO!
Larry is having a nightmare. He is at the end of a long, dark alley. At the very end is a 13- year-old Davy, about to shoot up what will be a fatal dose of heroin. Larry is running down the alley towards Davy, trying to reach him before the needle enters his arm. Larry is trying to yell at the top of his voice, but it is coming out in a whisper that Davy couldn’t possible hear.
Where is Claire? Why didn’t she keep Davy away from drugs?
In the dream, Larry’s drug business was now outside the school where Davy was attending. Davy would come up to the booth and say the password, but Larry would refuse to give him anything but a tee-shirt. Davy had begun to swear and threaten Larry, having no idea he was fighting with his father. Davy was smart, wanting drugs and not getting them, he lied his way onto the wrong bus and made his way to another middle school and was going to try and buy drugs there.
Martin oversaw the drug booth at this school. He recognized the password for Larry’s booth and didn’t believe the excuse Davy used for coming to a different school. He told Davy to bug off – suspecting him of being an informer for the police. Davy was tired, feeling angry and guilty. He was the only one on the middle-school football team to be a drug virgin; he couldn’t take the teasing anymore. He pushed thoughts of his mother and the Carsons to the back of his mind, he would take drugs just once, just to get the guys off his back, then he would never do it again. His family would never know; he would wait till the drug wore off to go home.
Davy’s plan was in place, he had the money, he had the password but then first Larry, and now, Martin was standing in his way. Davy lost it, he intentionally said everything he could think of to insult Martin. Furious but in control, Martin heard him out in silence, demanded way too much money, got it, and gave Davy the amount of Heroin he had paid for. Martin had no idea how experienced with drugs Davy was. He didn’t care, in that moment, if the kid overdosed or not. Proud, Davy walked off with what would be a lethal dose of heroin.
In the nightmare, no matter how fast Larry ran, he never got closer to Davy until it was too late. He watched in horror as his son inserted the needle in his arm and injected the heroin into his blood stream. Larry saw Davy’s look of surprise – he dropped the syringe and sat down hard on the alley floor. Larry reached Davy and could see he was loosing consciousness. He tried to shake him awake. Heroin acts as a “depressant” on the nervous system. Davy’s breathing had slowed way down and had become very shallow. His blood pressure was very low and his eyes, while open, didn’t seem to be reacting to Larry shaking him.
Larry knew that Davy was overdosing and that he needed to get Davy’s adrenaline pumping so that his heart would keep beating while Larry called for help. He slapped Davy hard on the face. Davy’s eyes blinked but then closed. Larry slapped him again, but Davy’s eyes didn’t open. Larry stopped trying to wake Davy up. He grabbed his phone and called 911. It seemed to take forever for someone to answer. “Please help me, my son is overdosing on heroin. Please come quickly or he’ll die.” From what seemed very far away a voice asked, “Where are you sir?”
Larry could barely think- his heart was pounding. He looked wildly around. Nothing looked familiar- he couldn’t even hear a sound coming from anywhere that he could identify. He shook his head violently trying to think. “Where are you sir?” the voice said again. At the moment, Larry realized two things, he didn’t know where he was, and Davy had stopped breathing. Larry dropped his phone, hugged Davy’s limp body, and begged God to bring Davy back to him.
The Centers for Disease Control does not record deaths by every specific drug. However, deaths from heroin and other related Opioid drugs has increased rapidly in recent years. There was a 26% increase in Opioid overdose from 2013-2014. It may be that the increase in deaths is due to these drugs being combined with fentanyl, a Schedule II drug. This drug is legal when prescribed by a physician and has significant benefits for those with severe pain problems; however, its use must be carefully monitored as it is highly addictive. Drug users may not realize when the illicit drugs they bought have been laced with Fentanyl (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm).
There are effective programs available for preventing drug abuse by children and adolescents. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has identified 16 principles that underscore these effective programs. One is to enhance the emotional support parents provide to their children and adolescents. Davy receives a great deal of emotional support from Claire and the Carsons, this makes it less likely he will develop the deviant attitudes that are risk factors for developing drug and alcohol problems. However, exposure to drugs is everywhere. Adolescents take make more risky choices than adults and are more susceptible to peer pressure; anyone’s child or teen could be the next victim of drug overdose. The sixteen principles of effective prevention programs can be found at: