Tag Archive: Death

While the totals still seem extremely high, St Louis County in Missouri has seen a reduction in deaths.

This is the second straight year that the death total from heroin has declined,

Read more about the story and the totals by clicking HERE.

What started out as a night of drug fun with friends, ended with an 18-year-old’s death.

Now one of the friends who secured the drugs for the kids to experiment will spend the next 12 1/2 years in prison.

A federal judge sentenced Wesley Sweeney for providing a synthetic compound that resulted in death of one buddy and the hospitalization of another in Grand Forks.

We first told you about this story back in June.

Prosecutors charged 11 people in the wake of the Grand Forks synthetic drug conspiracy, Sweeney is the first to be sentenced for causing death and bodily injury.

Sweeney admitted buying two hallucinogens on June 10 from Adam Budge, and then providing the drugs to Bjerk and the 15-year-old. The friends pooled their money together to use drugs, and Sweeney was the one who purchased them.

About 5:45 a.m., June 11, Bjerk was found dead on a nearby lawn. C.J. and Sweeney, who also took the drugs, were found nearby, disoriented and incoherent, and were hospitalized.

A plea deal spared Sweeney from the 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers has identified Andrew Spofford, 22, as the “hobby chemist,” who bought chemicals from Europe, Asia and Houston to make the hallucinogens.

In less than a week, the drugs killed two and led to serious health issues for a handful of others, including juveniles.

Elijah Stai was the other person who died. He was 17-years-old.

The courtroom was emotional, as families of Sweeney and Bjerk, once close friends, were now were torn apart by the tragedy.

Keith and Debbie Bjerk said they warned their son to stay away from Sweeney last spring because they saw him as a bad influence with a criminal record. But their warning wasn’t enough.

Christian questioned why he had to stay away from Sweeney. Bjerk said during his statement. “I think we all know why now.”

But this was a night out of drug fun for all involved. Sweeney’s family maintains that their son was not a criminal but a drug addict, and he was merely the guy who was able to get his hands on the drugs.

They also maintained that their son was lied to, regarding the exact substance.

Sweeney’s attorney, David Dusek, told Erickson that Sweeney did not sell any drugs to Bjerk or C.J., but took the drugs himself, too, in a tragic “nightmare,” that started with three friends partying.

Sweeney put the powdered hallucinogen in “lines” on a table and offered it to anyone, ingesting some himself. “He didn’t encourage anyone else to take it,” Dusek said.

This is a reminder to parents and kids the nature of the responsibility regarding obtaining drugs and alcohol.

The kid who merely makes the run, could be the kid that pays a steep price.

In this case, nobody lost more than the Bjerk family. They lost a son.

But now the Sweeney family will to spend the next several years waiting for their son to be released from prison.

Whether it is with alcohol or drugs, teens need to realize the severity of their actions.

Teens often do not think of the health consequences when buying or using drugs. They may fear the legal consequences, but they are thinking possession busts only.

There’s no way Wesley Sweeney envisioned that he’d be facing 20 years in prison when he made that drug run.

Our thoughts are with all of the families involved in this terrible tragedy.

If you have not read the in-depth report by Scott Glove and Lisa Girion regarding the prescription drug related death in Southern California, it is well worthwhile.

Adults aren’t the only ones dying from prescription abuse. Teens are dying too.

The investigation attributed a number of deaths related to prescription drug abuse, and a eye-raising portion of those deaths were connected to just a handful of doctors.

Today, an Editorial in the Times focuses on a plan on Sen. Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) that would require the coroner to not only list all prescription drugs found during an autopsy in drug related deaths, but report the doctors’ names.

This would allow the state to focus on doctors who lose multiple patients to prescription related deaths.

You can read that editorial HERE.


Legal prescription pills are killing people in this country regularly.

More people die from legal prescriptions than heroin and cocaine combined.

It’s a trend that isn’t getting any better.

A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription drugs in four Southern California counties, the deceased had a doctor’s prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death.

Reporters identified a total of 3,733 deaths from prescription drugs from 2006 through 2011 in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.

An examination of coroners’ records found that:

In 1,762 of those cases — 47%— drugs for which the deceased had a prescription were the sole cause or a contributing cause of death.

And it may have to do with where the pills are coming from.

Read more on this fascinating investigation piece by Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, by clicking HERE.


Florida, long known as one of the major states where prescription drug abuse is rampant, is making strides in the battle. For the first time in 10 years, prescription drug deaths dropped in the sunshine state.

The total number of prescription drug related deaths in 2011 was 2,539 deaths, according to the Deceased Persons Report.

That’s down from the 2010 total of 2,710 deaths.

Officials say oxycodone presence decreased by 10.7 percent and related deaths dropped 17.7 percent when comparing numbers to 2010.

State officials credit Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts in 2011 to create Statewide Drug Enforcement Strike Force teams.

Florida law enforcement leaders cracked down on doctors and pharmacies from overprescribing dangerous drugs.

We are learning about two deaths that occurred by attendees of the EDC.

Both deaths happened away from the festival site, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

EDC organizers say they don’t believe the deaths will hamper plans for another event next year.   And they should be right.

These deaths can’t be blamed on the EDC.   They aren’t putting guns to people’s heads and telling them to drink excessively or abuse designer drugs.

One of the deaths was a 31-year-old man believed to be intoxicated who wandered out in front of a truck.

The other death was a woman, 22 years old, who fell from her 27th floor hotel room balcony.

Family members spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

They reported that Emily McCaughan suffered paranoid delusions after taking ecstasy.

“Damn it, they (drugs) are just killers every single time,” family spokeswoman Mignonne Walstad told the newspaper. “Emily wasn’t a drug addict, it was just a tragic accident.”

McCaughan’s father, Richard, said he can’t believe his daughter would have used drugs and he suspects foul play may have been involved in his daughter’s death.

Concert promoters put on a show and they staunchly are against any drug use at the festival.    But anyone who goes knows that there are a substantial number of people who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

These victims weren’t teenagers, but it goes to show you that if you know that your young adult son or daughter may be attending a music festival, you may want to talk to them about the dangers of drugs.

Whether the drugs are legal or illegal, the conversation needs to take place about abusing the substances.

It’s a tragedy that two lives were lost at the Electric Daisy Carnival.

Nearly 400,000 people attended the event, and many of them enjoyed the event safely.

Festival promoters make the environment safe for concert goers and artists.   The Saturday night event of the 3-day festival was shortened due to wind danger concerns.

Hopefully the next event will be death free, and some discussions at home could help prevent those tragedies from occurring.

Our hearts go out to the families of those victims.

Sadly, it comes as no surprise hearing the news over the weekend of
Amy Winehouse’s death.   Her mother had predicted it.   Her father
resigned to the fact that she was slowly killing herself.   Regardless
of her actual cause of death (at the latest hour no drugs were found
inside the home), Winehouse punished her body with toxicity.

what to write today, since I didn’t want to be an immediate basher of
the recently departed, I couldn’t really top an article I had read.
Chris Willman posed the question, “Could Amy Winehouse have been saved?”

When a user will not listen to parents, siblings, the love of their life, a mentor, or strangers who will they listen to?

of rehashing what’s been said all over the globe, I offer you a good
read about the sometimes helplessness in fighting an addict.




The Box family today released a statement regarding the Oklahoma Sooner’s overdose and accidental death.

There is no greater pain than the loss of a child. The pain is intensified by knowing that the death of your child could have been prevented. Austin was a young man who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was grateful for his many talents, and felt he must always live up to his gifts. Two words he spoke often say so much, “Of course”. It did not matter who was asking, whether it be a fan asking for an autograph, or simply a stranger wanting to talk–the response was a smile and “Of course”. His greatest fear was letting down other people whether it was his teammates, coaches, friends, or family. In his twenty-two years of life, he never thought to complain because he felt he had been given so much.

Our son endured many injuries during the last seven years of his life, most of them required surgery. The last was the most frightening for him. In August of the 2010 season, he had a disc rupture in his back, and he lost the feeling in his left foot. We were certain his career was over. As always though, he battled back when he saw the team needed him. Willing his battered body back to the field where only the most elite do battle. It is with much sadness; we look back and see that recently Austin had turned to other methods of managing his pain. Methods that we hope if others are employing, they will see this tragic accident as a message and think about the consequences. Our greatest regret is that Austin did not feel he could share his pain with those who loved him, and those he touched. He chose to suffer in silence rather than to feel he let someone down, or hurt his family.

We will forever love, honor, and cherish his memory. Thank you to all of those who have shared stories about how Austin touched your lives in a positive way. We are comforted by the knowledge that God knows what is in a man’s heart. Anyone that knew Austin would give testament to his pure heart. The love and pride we feel for our son cannot be diminished by the cause of his death. He gave us so much joy and so many wonderful memories. He will forever be “Mommy’s baby” and “Daddy’s little boy”.

With much grief and sadness,

Craig and Gail Box


Our hearts go out to the Box family.   Hopefully this serves as a reminder to all parents to closely monitor their loved ones.   Perhaps we can prevent tragedies, like this one, from happening again.








The warnings have been here for years.   More and more children are turning to prescriptions to get high.  Many think it’s only a pill here and pill there.   But one family is sharing it’s grief in this report by News 3 in Wisconsin.

Hear their story here:

A user’s pain is an entire family’s pain.   If you are using drugs, get help.   For more information go to Myteensavers.com