Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Medical examiner confirms Palm Harbor teen's death was prescription drug overdose

PALM HARBOR — A medical examiner's report released Friday confirmed what many in the community had suspected.

Palm Harbor University High student Tyler Joseph Dobies, 15, died Feb. 21 of an accidental overdose of oxycodone and alprazolam, or Xanax, the report says.

Many in the community had linked Tyler's death and the death of another Palm Harbor University High student this year to overdoses of prescriptions drugs.

The other teen, a junior, 17, died in May, but the medical examiner's office does not expect to release that report until August.

Community members feared prescription drug use was far more widespread. Last month, Palm Harbor University High principal Herman Allen was so concerned that he held a campus meeting, a "Community Call to Action." About 200 parents, students and educators attended.

Heidi Wincek, whose daughter was a freshman at the school this year, says her daughter is not into drugs, but she's worried about others. She's heard that some students put pills on classroom window sills so that others in the next class can pick them up, she said.

"I guess kids are going to continue," said Wincek, 46. "Maybe, after a while, when parents feel strong enough, something good can come out of these tragedies."

In 2008, 15.7 percent of Pinellas County high school students reported using prescription pain relievers at least once in their lives, according to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey.

Last year, 402 accidental drug-related deaths occurred in Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office. Of those, 305 were attributed to prescription drugs. More than half involved people 36 to 55 years old, records show. Last year, three deaths of boys 15 to 17 years old involved prescription drugs.

Tyler Dobies' parents couldn't be reached Friday.

Tyler, who was born in Dunedin, was on the school hockey team and the Pinellas Sheriff's Police Athletic League hockey team. A Facebook page was set up to honor his memory.

"I choose happy," one friend wrote. "I choose to remember the good times and celebrate your life. I hope others do the same in your spirit, you would not want us to be sad, you'd want us to play hockey, celebrate, and rock out with our iPods loud! This we will do … for you!"

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Medical examiner confirms Palm Harbor teen's death was prescription drug overdose 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and ex-cheerleader Lynn Aronberg finalize their divorce

    Blogs

    In announcing that her divorce was settled this week, Lynn Aronberg said the reason for the split in part was because she supports President Donald Trump and her Democratic husband does not.

    Dave and Lynn Aronberg were married on St. Pete Beach in May 2015.
  3. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations

    Bucs

    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.

    2008

    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree

    National

    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  5. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]