Special Report: Prescription Drug Abuse Part II
They're powerful opiate painkillers from pills to patches. And in the mountains of Haywood county around Waynesville parents feel misuse of prescription drugs is out of control.
"I'm Theresa Kuykendall. I live in Canton, North Carolina and my son Andrew Kuykendall died in 2007 from methadone."
"My name is John Chapman my son died in July of 2009 from chewing a Fentanyl patch."
Both John and Theresa are now willing to share their stories publicly to help other parents.
"I really wish he would turn himself in," said Peggy Phillip's whose son Joshua is a fugitive from justice.
"This is hard on the whole family. It's hard on the Sheriff's department, and it's gonna be hard on him. I'm really scared for his life."
"Joshua is 23 years old and he's been an addict for about nine years now and I believe he's using prescription drugs at this time," said Peggy.
"My name is Joan Robb and a year ago March, I lost my first born because he was taking prescription drugs."
Joan said her 40-year-old son Bill had become an addict.
"He had bad back problems and he saw this doctor advertising for pain control and went to see him and was prescribed all kinds of drugs. He tried to come off them," said Joan, but it proved too much. "He couldn't handle it. And he hung himself."
"I got the phone call that afternoon from my brother and it was the worst day of my life," said Theresa Kuykendall. "I'll never forget it."
Theresa's son Andrew had taken methadone pills. Methadone is used to wean addicts off drugs. Theresa believes Andrew wasn't experimenting but actually took the pills thinking they would help him get some sleep. She'd warned about many things but never thought it was necessary to talk with him about prescription drug abuse.
"I had no clue I had to warn him. I thought you had to take the whole bottle to die," said Theresa.
Father John Chapman knows his son John was experimenting. A friend bought two fentanyl patches from a Haywood county drug dealer for twenty-five dollars.
"He told him he had been in a car wreck and needed them for pain and he sold them to him(my son's friend)," said John.
"He gave one to my son and told him to chew it like chewing gum."
Fentanyl is an anesthetic.
"It was meant to be 72 hours of medication that's absorbed through the body through the patch," said John.
His son went to sleep and never woke up. His father keeps a chest of his son John's precious keepsakes and memories.
He also keeps a photo of his son's grave on his cell phone as a reminder.
"Kids today don't realize that this is final and how deadly this medication is," said John. "They think that it's a safe high a safe feeling because its prescribed by a doctor and it's made in controlled pharmacies, and it's regulated by the FDA and it's safe but (when misused) it's not."
Angie Treadway says her son Tyler experimented with prescription pills the night he died.
"He had taken xanax a couple of times and this was the first time he took methadone and percocet," said Angie Treadway, his mother.
Tyler had just graduated from Pisgah High School. Convicted drug dealer Brenda Childers supplied Tyler with painkillers. Tyler overdosed.
"He was in full cardiac arrest," said Angie.
Hospitalized for months, Tyler survived but he'll never be the same. His medicals bills now exceed a million dollars paid for by Medicaid. His mother remembers the bill for rehab in Charlotte.
"It was close to $500,000 for those five weeks," said Angie.
She says kids are stealing pills from homes.
'If you have medicine like that, make sure you keep count of it. Keep it locked away and don't tell anyone how to get it.
Even now there are tears for Theresa Kuykendall who wants people to know her son Andrew's story, hoping it resonates.
"Andrew was very outgoing, he enjoyed life. He loved playing basketball. He was just a good kid, and I miss him a lot."
*Tune in for the ongoing series of Prescription pill reports Wednesday and Thursday at 6pm.
by Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports