Saturday, October 22, 2005

Recovery is an ongoing process

Robert Shapiro, most widely known as part of OJ's dream team, endured what is probably the most difficult experience when his son Brent died early last week. Brent was a 24-year old recovering drug addict who'd been a clean & sober for 18 months. After he stopped using drugs, the younger Shapiro had been making dean's list, gotten engaged and planned to go to law school. All of that changed last Saturday night when Brent went to a party and fell of the proverbial wagon by drinking 2 shots of Jagermeister & downing half a tablet of MDMA (more commonly known as ecstasy). The acute effects of MDMA are seen within 30 minutes and peak effect occurs about 90 minutes post dosing.
As I know the story, he took a half of ecstasy tablet at about 11:30 at a party that he started to get violently ill about one o'clock or 1:30, projectile vomiting, that there was somebody there that claimed to be a medic that said his vital signs are fine. He probably just had too much to drink, which he hadn't.


He had two shots of something called Jagermeister. But what happens with an addict, Larry, is anything lights the fuse and once that drink of alcohol was in his system that fuse for the disease was triggered and that made him vulnerable.

He got sick. They didn't recognize how sick he was. He started to vomit. He was told if they just took him home and he got sleep, he'd be fine. Seven o'clock in the morning he was turning blue. [Robert Shapiro on Larry King Live]
Brent's fiancee called his father to tell him Brent wasn't breathing the next morning (he was already cyanotic, so he'd been severely hypoxic/anoxic for some time). Brent was brain-dead by the time the paramedics got him to the hospital.

Robert Shapiro has long been a proponent of advanced directives; ironically, his son didn't have a living will. The Shapiro family had to make decisions about withdraw of life support and organ donation while while they were still reeling from the shock of a situation they hadn't anticipated in 18 months. In memory of Brent Shapiro, Legal Zoom is offering living wills at no cost through-out the week-end.

For some people even casual experimentation can lead to addiction, for some people their very first experiment with drugs can be the last thing they do, and some people struggle with sobriety for the rest of their lives. There are no socioeconomic barriers to drug addiction or the financial, physical or emotional damage they can cause (both to the addict and the addict's family). Recovering addicts will tell you that you're never cured, they will always be a recovering addict. It's common for people to fall off the wagon multiple times during the recovery process; there are two ways for the next fall to be the last. Unfortunately for the Shapiro family, Brent's fall had the undesirable outcome. The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Awareness was set up so other people don't have to know the Shapiro family's pain first-hand.

Tags: ;

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: