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.

By Alexis Jetter from Reader's Digest | December 2010

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.

  • Your Comments

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/ANZ6PTVBF54SXG4C4A2MV7747U D J

      I have crused disks in my back and my left knee is worn out,  I am disabled because of this . I drove over the road Motor Coaches simler to Grey Hound bus lines. I was a indepent owner opeartor for many years working for myself .  As the years wore on I wore out the disks in my neck by constanly
      looking for trouble

      I do not understand but people in cars do not see you . I worked with many old school drivers who knew how to drive a million miles with out getting into a accident . Loading and unloading lugge bays kile my back and clutches with 1500 pound rated pressure plates wrecked my knee. I stopped driving in 2005 as thepain became un bearable .  I was prescribed Pain meds and only took them when of duty or not working . I retired in 2005 mainly due to  09 / 11 / 2001 killed the travel and tour industry but more importantly I was not able to drive as Ikilled my body . 

      I had a house for sale and one buyer wanted to see the bathroom and I was distracted by the husband . When they left all my Medcine for pain was stolen . This couplw was in there 40s .  When the house was being showed I kept my medcine in my Car Trunk.   One day a realtor said that she had a be back and asked if she would be able to show the house.  I did forget to put my medcine in my trunk . I said it will be okay.  I saw the realtor coming down the street and left for 30 minutes. 

      A older man and the realtor went in . I came home 40 minutes later and had a buyer at the start of the housing melt down . I went up Stairs  to my bathroom as I could not walk and once again I was robbed
      off my medcine . At closeing I bit my tounge but had the Sheriff show up and found out later after the papers where singed the realtor who was in her 50 s had one of my bottles in Her Pocket .

      This is just not kids stealing either . I did press charges and wonder how many other people did she steel from ? 

      Enough Said Dave