When his son’s friends hanged themselves in a park by his house, Frank Lindine hoped the shocking double suicide would spur the 21-year-old to kick his oxycodone habit.
Instead, he relapsed.
His parents have taken away his car, forced him to take drug tests and barred his bad-influence friends from their home. Still he has failed repeated attempts at out-patient detox and has broken promises to commit to rehab.
For half a year now, this has been the cycle of life in the Lindine home as their only child tries to end his dependence on the highly addictive, narcotic pain relievers he copped at so-called pill mills, Lindine said.
“It’s an epidemic. I’m living it,” said Lindine, 54, an account executive for a computer company. “It’s just ruining thousands of families and young kids today.”
While the Legislature and cities try to regulate pill mills and keep new ones from opening, people like Lindine, substance abuse experts and health officials fear the ones already in operation have spawned a subculture of young people who are addicting and killing themselves in alarming numbers.
People in their 20s are most likely to show up in Florida’s Broward and Palm Beach counties’ hospitals with oxycodone-related emergencies—twice the national rate, according to a July report by the United Way of Broward County‘s Commission on Substance Abuse.
Many of them “may be showing up 10 or so years later at the medical examiner’s office because they’ve died of a drug overdose,” said Jim Hall, head of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University. He cites statistics that Floridians ages 35 to 50 are the most prone to die from oxycodone-related overdoses.
The Parkland father asked that his son’s name be withheld from this report. The son confirmed his father’s account.
“It’s not easy for me to sit here and tell you the story of what’s going haywire with my son. It’s not something that we’re proud of, but I want parents to know that their kids are in danger,” Lindine said. “These pain clinics are on every street corner in Broward and Palm Beach.”
“Everybody’s on Roxies”
Just after the July 19 hangings of Nikayla Baldomero, 24, and Joseph M. Brown, 22, friends described them as sharing a taste for recreational drugs.
It has not been disclosed what, if any, drugs Baldomero and Brown may have been using the night they killed themselves. Toxicology reports have not been released, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office sealed the files until the investigation is completed.
But on Brown’s memorial Facebook page, friends posted a link urging one another to sign an electronic petition to ban OxyContin, the time-released version of oxycodone.
Baldomero’s and Brown’s mothers did not respond to requests for interviews. Baldomero’s mother, Vivian, has said hospital blood tests showed her daughter had no drugs in her system at the time of the hanging.
Beth Maguire, who had known Brown since the fifth grade and considered him family, said over the last two years his drug use isolated him from her and other friends. As his “drug abuse” took hold, she said, Brown did not show up as usual to celebrate the last two Christmases and Easter with her family.
Maguire said she has watched “countless people” fight to get off Roxicodone, a brand-name version of oxycodone, and Brown told her he was committed to doing the same.
“He told us he was trying to be clean,” she said.