To the editor:
Ashley Grady was bubbly, irrepressible, athletic and she had friends who loved her. She was a tenth grader at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central. She was a friend of my son, who had recently driven Ashley and a group of friends to a movie to celebrate her 16th birthday.
When I got a text from my son on Dec. 21 to "come get me" during the school day, my heart sunk, thinking he had gotten into trouble or his girlfriend had broken up with him. Once I got him to the car, as we passed another distraught mom walking into the school, he told me that Ashley had not woken up that morning. News of Ashley's death was spreading throughout the school and being texted to parents in the community by their upset children. Lou just wanted to come home. He sat around for the day not doing much.
I asked Lou if it was possible that Ashley had used drugs and he said "Mom, I have never seen Ashley act like she was doing drugs, she never acted like she was doing anything like that." Over the next week, the community sadly celebrated her life with a candlelight vigil and her funeral.
Recently, the results of her autopsy were released. Ashley had accidentally overdosed on Oxymorphone, a prescription pain killer that had been prescribed to someone else in her household. The State Police stated that it was the tenth death from accidental overdose of prescription drugs in the troop precinct in the past two years, not to mention the emergency room visits by those who survived an overdose.
It is the responsibility of parents and other adults in the household to be accountable for their prescription drugs, to have them locked up and to dispose of them properly when they are no longer of use. It is not only your own children that have access to your bathroom or bedroom, it is your children's friends that come over to hang out, too, that have access. Prescription drugs should be treated like a loaded gun. Take a second to think about where your prescription drugs are right now - are they accessible to others? Should you put them in a safe place until you can properly dispose of them? There will be another prescription drug take back on April 28 at the Police Department in Lake Placid and the Town Hall in Wilmington
Be responsible. Divert the next tragedy. Lock up your prescription drugs. Dispose of them appropriately.
Coordinator, Lake Placid/Wilmington Connecting Youth & Communities Coalition