Teens and Prescription Drugs: Little. Legal. Lethal.

Nearly one in five teens has used prescription drugs to get high; one in ten high school seniors has abused prescription drugs in the past year. And that's just what they're willing to admit.

Tammi Lizotte and daughter Abi©2010 Jason Grow/Wonderful Machine
Whitney Lizotte was easily one of the liveliest people in her sleepy hometown of Berwick, Maine. Dishing out ice cream at the Dairy Delight, belting out songs from the musical Rent, or diving into social work classes at York Community College, Whitney, 20, lived boldly: She was impulsive, spontaneous, and bighearted.

So her silence on the morning of April 21, 2009, was unnerving. Whitney had spent the night at a friend’s house in nearby Dover, New Hampshire, playing video games and horsing around with two childhood pals. She seemed fine, the two young men said later. But at 11 a.m., one of them found Whitney lying on a mattress on the floor of an upstairs bedroom, pale and unnaturally still.

When he shook her, she didn’t stir.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Whitney, but there was little they could do: She had stopped breathing sometime during the night. Whitney was pronounced dead an hour later.

Detectives decided to get in touch with Whitney’s roommate, Brandy Sewall, 22, who had spent the night in the girls’ shared apartment in nearby Rochester, New Hampshire. Whitney had taken the shy, somewhat anxious girl under her wing, and they had become inseparable. Police hoped that Brandy, who had spent the previous day with Whitney, could shed light on what had stricken her.

But en route to the apartment, the detectives got a stomach-churning call: “Get there as fast as you can,” Dover police captain David Terlemezian told them. A relative had just found Brandy in the apartment bedroom, motionless and unresponsive. The officers sped to Pine Street, but they were too late. Brandy, a soft-spoken young woman who loved the ocean and the Boston Red Sox, had stopped breathing too.

The next morning, Dover police got yet another grim call, this time from a boardinghouse just up the street. Matty Rix, 19, an outgoing and popular former high school wrestling star, had been found dead in his bed.

“It was a terrible few days,” says Terlemezian, who directed the investigation. “You can’t imagine how bizarre it is to think you’re investigating one death — and suddenly there’s another. And then another.

“Now you have three dead, all young and all from southern Maine,” says Terlemezian. “You had to ask yourself: Are these cases related?”

It would take several more weeks for the full answer to emerge. When it did, families and friends in these close-knit Maine communities were stunned. There had been no suicide pact, no tainted street drugs, and no fatal intruder. Whitney, Brandy, and Matty had all accidentally overdosed on prescription drugs — legal, widely used, and extraordinarily dangerous.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.