No one loves harder than a mother, and the pain a mother feels when a child suffers one cannot even imagine. So when a mother loses a child, the hurt can do a lot of things. For some mothers, it pushes them to action, and that is exactly what happens to a grieving mom in Ohio who recently launched a battle against drug overdoses with a roadside billboard after the loss of her son.
Following the overdose death of her son, Lenora Lada paid to put up a billboard in the Marietta, Ohio to raise awareness about the Good Samaritan laws. She takes this action in hopes that other mothers may not have to grieve as she does.
Trey’s Life Mattered
The sign Lada bought shows a picture of her son, Trey Moats, and reads,
“His Life Mattered: No Excuse For Not Calling 911 or taking someone to a hospital,”
Trey’s mother had known about his struggles with addiction but had felt helpless as her 26-year-old child was unwilling to get the help he needed.
Then one day at 3:26 in the morning, she got a call from her son’s friends. Trey had been in a car with these friends when his lips turned blue as he overdosed, so they had driven him to another friend’s house to ask a mother there to perform CPR. But because they were too afraid to call 911, they called Trey’s mother instead and told her to come and get him. Lenora Lada states that by the time she arrived, her son was on the ground already gurgling.
By the time Lada arrived at her son’s side, it had already been 20-25 minutes. When she asked if someone had called 911, she was told by the other mother,
“No, I don’t want the squad and the sheriffs coming to my house again.”
Lada demanded that the daughter call 911, but Moats ultimately died at the hospital of multiple organ failures due to cardiac arrest and polysubstance abuse. Ever since that tragic and heartbreaking moment, Lenora Lada is determined to make sure people know that her son’s life mattered, as do the lives of other victims of overdose. The billboard also states:
“3/10 Mile could have saved Trey’s life.”
Lada believes a call to emergency responders could have saved her son. The sheriff’s report, however, states it is unclear if her son would have survived even if he was taken to the hospital. Local news reports that one coroner said Trey would have been brain dead, but another coroner did not seem so sure.
One thing is for sure though, Trey’s life did matter. And whether or not it was certain to make a difference, something more should have been done to try and save this young man’s life. That is why now Lada is also focused on raising awareness for Good Samaritan laws in Ohio.
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Good Samaritan Awareness
According to the Good Samaritan law:
- Authorities cannot prosecute anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose
- Protects the person overdosing from prosecution
- Immunity is only good two times
- The law is not applicable to people on parole
Ohio’s Good Samaritan laws also require a survivor of an overdose to obtain a drug treatment referral within 30 days in order to avoid charges. This measure is in place with hopes to show more people who do suffer from addiction there are opportunities to seek help.
The intention of Good Samaritan laws is to reduce the hesitation to get help from bystanders who witness an overdose. These laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with different interactions with other legal principals. But in essence, they are meant to prevent unnecessary overdose deaths by trying to take the fear of punishment out of the situation.
Lada also believes she would like part of the law to be changed, stating,
“I am asking for people to be accountable for not getting them help,”
What exactly that would look like is unclear, but for a mom who lost her son, it is an understandable sentiment. In many cases, there have been voices of support for charging drug dealers who sell to overdose victims with murder. So if this were to happen, what kind of punishment should someone face for not reporting an overdose?
Good Samaritan laws exist to help prevent deaths due to drug use, and there should be more of an effort to encourage people to report overdoses. Far too many sons and daughters are lost every day to drug overdoses. We should be taking every action we can to avoid more of the same. To defeat drug-related death requires prevention, education, and effective addiction treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, do not hesitate. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Denial not only affects the person with the addiction problem, it also affects those around them and, especially the addict’s parents. Even when the signs become impossible to ignore, no parent wants to admit that their child is an addict. The sooner you are willing to see what’s really going on, though, the sooner you can learn ways to cope. Here are 4 hard truths only parents of addicts understand.
#1. Parents Are Enablers
As parents, you only want what’s best for your children. And all through raising them, you were their #1 fan, cheerleader, and advocate – no doubt. But, although they’re still your children, they are also addicts. This is a game-changer. You don’t want to see your child struggling to eat or afford other basic needs but, by giving them money or allowing them to live with you, you are their enabler. What this means is that you will only prolong their drug use. They may never want to get clean but, as long as you’re footing their bills, they certainly have no motivation to even consider that their life has become unmanageable and perhaps might want to do something about it. Think of it like this, when you enable your addicted child, you are actually loving them to death. This sounds harsh but, it’s true. By feeding their habit, directly or indirectly, you enable them to continue using and, with every use there is risk.
#2. Parents Can’t “Fix” Their Children
Yes, treatment can be effective but there is no “cure” for addiction. You can send them to rehab but, unless they are willing to change, treatment might not “work” the first, second, eighth time around. This can certainly be frustrating, expensive, and crushing for a parent to deal with. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but, addiction is a chronic, progressive, relapsing disease. That means that your child might do well for a time and then might backslide. They might bounce right back or they might stay “out” for several years before trying to get clean again. There’s no guarantee for treatment and recovery.
#3. Your Child is a Liar and Maybe Even a Criminal
Another hard truth about being the parent of an addict is that your child is definitely a liar and even possibly a criminal. It doesn’t matter that you “raised ‘em right.” The bottom line is that drug addiction is a desperate and ugly disease that will have us do whatever it takes to support our habit. I come from a two-parent, middle-class household and I graduated college with two degrees. In the height of my active addiction, I had committed not only misdemeanors but also felony offenses. It certainly didn’t feel good doing those things but, I was so very desperate that I felt I had no other choice.
#4. You’re Dealing with Both a Child and an Adult
Although adults, your addicts are likely to think and act like children a lot of the time. It is said that drug use arrests the emotional maturity level of the addict at the age they began their drug use. So, for example, your addicted son or daughter might be 25 years old but, they started using drugs at 14 years old so, in many ways, they still think and act like that 14-year-old. This can be a very difficult concept to understand. Our world recognizes chronological age, not maturity level and, as the parent, you have to be able to do that, too. An addict can only operate in the “here and now” with no real reflection on the past nor any goals or dreams for the future. As the parent of an addict, you have to be able to see things in this way, too.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.