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.
We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
Click for FREE GIFT
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
On a monthly basis the Palm Partners treatment program offers an opportunity for the families of patients to attend events and therapy over the course of an empowering and productive weekend. There are a series of work-shops and group activities they can participate in, and loved ones are always welcomed and encouraged to get involved in their loved ones treatment process.
Countless mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives have taken this chance to not only support their loved ones in this stage of their recovery, but also to learn more about the disease of addiction, which often is an enlightening and life changing experience.
After a weekend full of exciting challenges and intimate counseling, families have so much to say about the Palm Partners family program, so we have given them a chance to share those thoughts in hopes to inspire others.
The parents of one patient recently attended the family program, and chose to share with us a few words on how much of an impact it has made on their part in their loved ones recovery.
I learned that most of my thoughts about addiction were very wrong. You [Palm Partners] helped me have a better understanding. If I lived in Florida I would come monthly for this program.
I am hoping I will be able to feel as hopeful and confident at home as I do while sitting here with all this feedback and support,
Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and your time.
I showed up not knowing a lot about the disease. The information I got was extremely helpful. The way the brain works with the drugs, the way we think, the way our state of mind means so much.
The information I was given, is now my responsibility to apply. Setting boundaries for myself and our family. Stop trying to fix things. I am also overwhelmed with it all, but I know I have the strength.
Thank you, Dug and Heidi
Some families need to learn how to set boundaries with the ones they love while they are in treatment, and while that is not always easy, there is a healthy and constructive way to go about creating those expectations, and the Palm Partners family program is all about making the recovery process a team effort, but also an enterprise for each individual.
Families suffer when their loved on suffers, and it is equally as important to learn how to take care of yourself and know what support is available to you.
So if you’re considering whether or not to get treatment, take into account what resources are available for those closest to you to get involved in your care and rebuilding your future. The Palm Partners family program is an incredible way for you to let your loved ones be part of that growth so you can nurture one another. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
New Drug Law For Pregnant Women in Tennessee
New Tennessee pregnancy law has apparently claimed its first violator. This month the state of Tennessee has issued a new law allowing for a pregnant woman to be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant if her infant is harmed or addicted to the narcotic upon delivery. A drug addiction mother can also be charged with homicide if the baby dies at any point.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed the new piece of legislation back in April, and the governor said himself that the intent of the new law is to give local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office another powerful tool to address the growing concern of illicit drug use among pregnant women through giving them the necessary access to drug treatment programs. The new law is supposed to be designed to allow any woman charged to enter into a substance abuse treatment program before giving birth as a defense, and hopefully she will be able to successfully complete the program afterward.
Republican state Representative Terri Lynn Weaver sponsored the new law. When the bill was first being brought to fruition he was quoted as saying,
“It would just seem to me that any society that puts value on life would agree that these defenseless children deserve some protection and these babies need a voice.”
But perhaps what Weaver is unaware of in the vast amounts of fear and stigma surrounding mothers who struggle with substance abuse while pregnant, and how hard it can be to seek treatment.
The First Arrest
Just recently local deputies in Tennessee said they received a call from the Department of Child Services after a baby girl was born at UT Medical Center and after being tested she came up positive for meth. The 26-year-old mother was arrested, and informed of her charges as she was actually being discharged from the hospital.
The young mother is Mallory Loyola. Loyola has had a history of meth-related arrests in the past, and now she is the first woman to be charged with assault under the new Tennessee law that is directed at mothers who take drugs while pregnant. Mallory Loyola was released later on a $2,000 bail, and has been charged with a misdemeanor.
The Sheriff of Monroe County Bill Bivens stated recently that Mallory Loyola had later admitted to smoking meth just days before she had gave birth to her daughter. Sheriff Monroe insists that he hopes the arrest will set a tone for the future in the area. Officials and law enforcement expect it will deter other women from committing the crime and endangering the lives of their children who have not yet been born. The sheriff was quoted as saying,
“Hopefully it will send a signal to other women who are pregnant and have a drug problem to seek help. That’s what we want them to do.”
Opposing Opinions on the Effects
As good as the intentions may be, not everyone in Tennessee believes that this is the best course of action for the war on drugs to take. The law recently came under fire with local and national critics claiming it would have the opposite effect of what lawmakers are hoping to accomplish. Those opposing the new bill say it will greatly deter and intimidate drug-addicted pregnant women from getting the help they need.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has stepped up to lead the efforts in combating the legislation. Tennessee ACLU challenges the law, which they said raises “serious constitutional concerns regarding equal treatment under the law.”
Thomas Castelli is the legal director of the ACLU of Tennessee, and in a statement to the presss he had expressed a strong opinion on the opposition of this new policy,
“This dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges. By focusing on punishing women rather than promoting healthy pregnancies, the state is only deterring women struggling with alcohol or drug dependency from seeking the pre-natal care they need.”
So at this point, the law has already taken effect, and surely there are more arrests on the way, which brings the question as to how will this affect the mothers who currently struggle with substance abuse? Will they feel more prompted to seek help and medical treatment, or will they become more terrified of the implications of seeking treatment? Will this new law truly be making a positive change in the way substance abuse and addiction is being addressed in Tennessee, or will there only be greater complications as a result of these scare tactics?
Mothers and fathers battling substance abuse and addiction experience the suffering in different and intense ways, and so do the children of addicts or alcoholics. But that suffering can be avoided and recovery is possible with the right treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By: Cheryl Steinberg and Nicole Armstrong
The following interview was given by a woman – a mother – who has been around both addiction and recovery most of her life. With one daughter in recovery and another on Suboxone maintenance, we at Palm Partners thought getting a parent’s perspective on the disease of addiction and recovery could be helpful for other parents.
Our interviewee asked to remain anonymous so we’ll call her Susan. Susan grew up in a two-parent household with an older sister. Their father was an active alcoholic and addict for much of her upbringing but now has 30 years of sobriety.
A normie, herself, Susan later married a man who would later die from the disease of addiction. They have two daughters.
Palm Partners: What is your family history with addiction and alcoholism?
Susan: I was raised by an addict and I married an addict and then I raised two addicts. So it’s been a world of experience, so to speak. When I was young, I can remember my mom became active in [Al-Anon] and when I was about 13 years old, she would take us – me and my older sister – to Alateen meetings; even then I didn’t fully understand even though I was given information about the disease. It didn’t really register.
Do you think that addiction is hereditary?
Yes, I definitely think that addiction is hereditary – (jokingly) no, we just got a cursed family tree!
Do you go to any support groups, such as al-anon and was it helpful going to these groups?
I’m not actively attending meetings now but yes I did find it very helpful. For one, I find it very comforting to be able to sit in a room full of other people who I don’t need to explain what’s going on with me to because they understand. Someone can say something and I can totally relate to them and they can totally relate to me.
Do you think the environment contributes to addiction? What’s your opinion on Nature vs. Nurture?
I think [environment] has some effects but I wouldn’t say that it makes you or doesn’t make you an addict; I believe that it is in you. I was exposed to addiction as a child and I went the other way and didn’t become an addict, I became the person who takes care of the addict – the co-dependent. I do believe being in a household with addiction has its affects but does it make you an addict? Absolutely not.
What’s your advice to parents with a child who is actively using?
Go to an Al-Anon meeting and learn all you can about the disease and get support. Also go to an open AA or NA meeting, I found that to be very enlightening.
How did the rest of your family react and deal with addiction?
My sister – since she is less knowledgeable of addiction – her reaction a lot of the time can be anger. My parents always are very supportive and sometimes can be a little co-dependent with me even with all their knowledge. With my husband[‘s addiction] it was very clear cut with getting him well and with my daughters it definitely almost became a NEED for them to be fixed by my father. It became much more important, not sure if that was because of my husband’s death or because he is an addict, too. Almost as if [my dad] felt like it all started with him and spiraled from that; like in some ways he had guilt about it.
Is it an open topic in your family?
Yes, very much so.
What is your experience with a child in recovery and one not in recovery?
Because I believe in recovery and I believe in the program and that it works – I’ve seen it work – that is my wish for both of my children. I try not to judge and as long as I don’t feel one of them is using; I try to be supportive. But because I have seen what recovery can do to transform someone and change their life, that’s what I would want for both of them. I see my recovering daughter and I see the changes in her life, then I see my other daughter and I see some changes in her life but I still feel like she struggles and I don’t [think that] she’s totally happy; I feel that that’s because she hasn’t fully dealt with everything and doesn’t have a proper support system. I feel that is crucial to being able to succeed.
What makes you different?
I’m different when it comes to chemicals, I don’t have that in me. I am the other side of the coin; I am the one that tries to fix [others].
When did you know it wasn’t normal and it had become a problem with your husband and then your children?
With my husband, in some ways I feel like I always knew. I remember going to my first Al-Anon meeting and listening to the other women talk and how they laughed about what their addict was doing and they seemed okay with it and I thought they were crazy. I remember leaving thinking they’re crazy and I’m not going to be one of them. So I went home and was miserable again for a few more years until I went back and thought they’re onto something here and I finally accepted what I already knew.
With my oldest child, I have to honestly say I don’t know how I didn’t know, but I did not know. I must have been living on a cloud or something but, I had no idea and when I found out I was shocked. With my youngest child, it wasn’t until my oldest child entered rehab that I noticed she had a problem [too]. When you have two active addicts, one is always worse and the worse one ends up making the other one look well. When one was really bad, I didn’t notice problems with the other and vice versa. And I think that’s a big problem for people with two children who are addicts.
What are your thoughts on allowing children to experiment with drugs, knowing the family’s history with addiction?
I think the only way that a parent would be okay with that would be because they didn’t have enough knowledge about the consequences.
Do you recommend parents allow kids to drink at home and be open about it?
In a household of people who aren’t a family with a history of addiction, I think that’s okay. I think if a child can see how a normal person interacts with drinking that it can be healthy for them to see that. But that would only work for someone who doesn’t have addiction issues.
What was your best resource when your kids needed help?
My father, in some ways he was probably my crutch because of his knowledge and experience [as a recovering alcoholic/addict].
How do you feel about being the go-to person for help with addiction?
It makes me feel good. It’s nice to be able to share my experience in a positive manner to be able to help other people. With this disease and being a parent, I’ve always felt like when you’re making decisions so many times what feels like is the natural response as a parent, isn’t the best response dealing with an addict. And that is a hard thing for a parent to come to grips with so if I can help them with what I’ve already learned, then that’s a nice feeling.
Did you turn religion or a higher power to cope with everything?
I pray more now and that’s something I didn’t do before. Not religion so much but more of a higher power type of thing.
Did your children have a religious upbringing?
What’s your take on AA and fellowship?
I fully believe in the program of AA and the benefits that can be achieved by going to the meetings and working [the] program. In my experience, it is what appears to make the addict be able to live a happy and healthy life.
What is your take on Suboxone?
For detoxing, I find [Suboxone] to be very beneficial. I believe that it can be beneficial in maintenance related issues in some cases, but I feel that it would really need to be closely monitored because you are dealing with addicts.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. Palm Partners can help.
Our parents love us to death and would do anything for us. Moms are especially connected to us for obvious reasons and when we break her heart, as we often do in addiction, she’s left with a million questions and no answers. Our moms want to see us happy, healthy and living a productive life. In addiction we are not happy, healthy or being productive. Our lives are in shambles and so are the lives of our families. Addiction is a family disease so everyone is affected by our actions. We are not the only ones feeling hurt, lost and neglected.
Here are 7 Questions Mothers of Addicts Ask:
1.) Why won’t they just stop?
One of the most common questions mothers of addicts ask is “Why won’t my child just stop using drugs and drinking?” It’s torturous to watch your child destroy his or her life. You can’t understand why they can’t just stop using and drinking when it is obviously hurting you. You may think they don’t love you. The truth is that it is possible for a person to be addicted and love you at the same time. The two are not related. When someone is addicted to a drug, they cannot just stop. It is a need, not a choice. Nothing, not even the risk of losing his or her family, is enough to stop them. They may really want to stop; they may hate themselves for the harm they are doing, but until they reach out for help, they will not be able to stop.
It is important to remember that drugs and alcohol are not the problem, they are the solution. Until your child has another solution, they will not be able to stop using drugs and alcohol. Taking away the drugs and the alcohol without another solution can actually make matters worse for the true addict. They do not know how to manage life on life’s terms. Until they learn a new way to live, they will not be able to stop using drugs and alcohol no matter how much they love you.
2. What can I do to help? How can I make them stop?
Unfortunately, you cannot force your child to stop. Until he or she is ready, you will not be able to force him or her. Usually an addict needs to “hit bottom” before they are ready to reach out for help.
What you can do is stop enabling your child to continue using drugs and drinking. Some mothers mistakenly think they are “helping” when they are actually making things worse.
What is the difference between helping and enabling?
Simply put, when you help an addict, you are doing something for them that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling an addict is doing something for them that they could and should be doing themselves. Enabling creates an environment where the addict can continue his or her destructive behavior. Enabling is the worst thing you can do if you want to help an addict.
Enabling behaviors can include:
- Calling in sick for an addict because they were too hung-over or drunk to go to work or school…
- Making excuses for an addict’s drug use or behavior…
- Lying for an addict…
- Bailing them out of jail…
- Paying their legal fees…
- Paying an addict’s bills or loaning them money…
- Giving them several “second chances” to change their behavior.
Are you enabling an addict?
Let your child know that you will be there if he or she decides they want help, but you will not continue to enable them to destroy their lives. Sometimes attending support groups like Al-anon and Family Anonymous can help you differentiate between helping and enabling.
Still not sure if you’re enabling your child? Check out this guide: Parents’ Guide to Drug Abuse: Signs You’re Enabling.
Stay tuned for 7 Questions Mothers of Addicts Ask Part 2.
If your loved one is in need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135