Saturday, December 16, 2017
Health

Candlelight vigil honors the victims of drug overdoses

TAMPA — Lynne Knowles suspected for months that something bad was going on with her daughter.

Jamie dozed off at odd hours, slept too much and woke up too early.

One day, Knowles came face-to-face with the truth.

She entered a Walgreens bathroom and found Jamie, who had just graduated from high school, preparing to stick a needle in her arm.

"I was in shock. I actually went screaming out to the pharmacists to call the police. I thought they could make her stop,'' Knowles said.

Jamie, who started abusing pain pills before her junior year of high school, died of a heroin overdose in 2012 at age 23.

Knowles, president of the Hillsborough Chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education, or NOPE, spends much of her time these days trying to keep other students from starting down that deadly path.

She is one of the speakers scheduled to address the crowd at Hillsborough High School Thursday (Oct. 19) for the annual candlelight vigil memorializing victims of drug overdoses.

Participants will start gathering at 6 p.m. in the school's lobby, where more than 500 photographs of people who died of drug and alcohol abuse will be on display.

Friends and family members of those on the Memorial Wall are invited to write special messages to their loved ones.

"It honors not only the (victim) but also family members and friends,'' said Beth Butler, coordinator of the Hillsborough chapter of NOPE.

People concerned about the problem, along with those still actively struggling with addiction and people in recovery are invited, she said.

Butler, whose son is three years along in recovery from pain pill abuse, said that the stigma of addiction appears to be easing as more people come to realize that it is a disease and not the result of weak willpower.

NOPE's main mission is to reach out to middle and high school students with a powerful message delivered by friends and family members of victims, most of them caught up in the pain pill and heroin epidemic that has swept the nation.

"We know that we're affecting children; we know that we are helping them,'' Knowles said. "I know the presentation is powerful and moves children, and they do remember.''

She doesn't preach. She just explains what happened to her daughter and how devastating it was for her and the family. She tells about Jamie's life and reminds the audience that she now has only memories.

"I'll never hear her say, 'I love you, Mom,' ever again.''

And she tells them that two of Jamie's closest high school friends also died from overdoses.

Contact Philip Morgan at [email protected]

TAMPA — Lynne Knowles suspected for months that something bad was going on with her daughter.

Jamie dozed off at odd hours, slept too much and woke up too early.

One day, Knowles came face-to-face with the truth.

She entered a Walgreens bathroom and found Jamie, who had just graduated from high school, preparing to stick a needle in her arm.

"I was in shock. I actually went screaming out to the pharmacists to call the police. I thought they could make her stop,'' Knowles said.

Jamie, who started abusing pain pills before her junior year of high school, died of a heroin overdose in 2012 at age 23.

Knowles, president of the Hillsborough Chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education, or NOPE, spends much of her time these days trying to keep other students from starting down that deadly path.

She is one of the speakers scheduled to address the crowd at Hillsborough High School Thursday (Oct. 19) for the annual candlelight vigil memorializing victims of drug overdoses.

Participants will start gathering at 6 p.m. in the school's lobby, where more than 500 photographs of people who died of drug and alcohol abuse will be on display.

Friends and family members of those on the Memorial Wall are invited to write special messages to their loved ones.

"It honors not only the (victim) but also family members and friends,'' said Beth Butler, coordinator of the Hillsborough chapter of NOPE.

People concerned about the problem, along with those still actively struggling with addiction and people in recovery are invited, she said.

Butler, whose son is three years along in recovery from pain pill abuse, said that the stigma of addiction appears to be easing as more people come to realize that it is a disease and not the result of weak willpower.

NOPE's main mission is to reach out to middle and high school students with a powerful message delivered by friends and family members of victims, most of them caught up in the pain pill and heroin epidemic that has swept the nation.

"We know that we're affecting children; we know that we are helping them,'' Knowles said. "I know the presentation is powerful and moves children, and they do remember.''

She doesn't preach. She just explains what happened to her daughter and how devastating it was for her and the family. She tells about Jamie's life and reminds the audience that she now has only memories.

"I'll never hear her say, 'I love you, Mom,' ever again.''

And she tells them that two of Jamie's closest high school friends also died from overdoses.

Contact Philip Morgan at [email protected]

Comments
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — After months of tense negotiations and weeks of political impasse, the City Council on Thursday derailed a proposal that would have changed the ownership structure of the city’s largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.The 5-...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday.The shortage is particularly acute in four speciality area...
Published: 12/13/17
An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

Consider it America’s other prescription drug epidemic.For decades, experts have warned that older Americans are taking too many unnecessary drugs, often prescribed by multiple doctors, for dubious or unknown reasons. Researchers estimate that 25 per...
Published: 12/13/17
How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Published: 12/12/17
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Published: 12/12/17
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Published: 12/12/17
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17