Shannon was my little sister and I adored her from the day she was born. OK, maybe not the day she was born. You see, she was SUPPOSED to be a boy. I was geared up to have a little brother. My mom called me from the hospital and said I had a little sister and I was HORRIFIED! How could she bring another girl home? But the second I laid eyes on her, I was in love with her. I was a 14 year old girl that basically had a live doll to play with! Shannon was very smart and had the entire family wrapped around her little finger. All my teenaged friends loved her and even took her places after I'd left home. She had a very strong will and definitely lived "in the moment". At the age of 3, she snuck out with a purse in hand and walked down the highway near our home and said she "was going to a party". She loved glittery clothes, short shorts and the camera. She charmed every person she met, had the gift of gab, and adults were completely drawn to her! Shannon started experimenting with drugs at an early age and was never really able to give them up for very long. At the age of 33, she decided to try one last time to stop using. Her physician started prescribing Methadone for her back pain and at times gave her as much as 900-40mg tablets a month, which equates to 1160 mgs a day! He also prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxieties. It does appear that Shannon would "doctor shop" to get her medications, but, the prescriptions were ALWAYS filled by the same pharmacy in Washington state. On 1/6/06, this pharmacy filled the following prescriptions for my sister: Prozac, Vistaril, Paxil, and Xanax. They consistently filled her methadone prescriptions as well. According to my sister's autopsy report, the coroner states, “the pharmacy should have noted contraindications with the medications”. On January 10, 2006 my sister died alone in her home. She had been dead for 2 days before someone found her. She had just bought groceries and looked as if she'd been putting them away. It was ruled a “multiple acute drug intoxication”. Underlying cause of ingesting Methadone and Fluoxetine; both prescription medications, both legally dispensed by a pharmacy. My sister had survived heroin use, meth use, a stab wound, and numerous other things I'm sure our family was never aware of. But her death was due to LEGAL medications, legally prescribed by a physician, and legally filled by a pharmacy! There was not one illegal substance on her toxicology report. My sister's death has left a giant hole in my heart, and worse yet, my mom's. Shannon left behind 2 beautiful children, Kyle and Sierra. She had a short life, but from the moment she was born she lived life like there was no tomorrow...........maybe she knew something we didn't! I am a registered nurse and I am appalled that physicians are able to prescribe these mega doses of methadone and are not held accountable for the tragic deaths they've caused. My sister's doctor is nothing more than a trafficker prescribing irresponsibly high doses of painkillers. And where does the pharmacy's responsibility come into play, isn't there an ethical and moral responsibility to the patient when dispensing? Our family consulted 2 different attorneys but neither would take the case due to my sisters past drug use. My sister could have been your sister, your daughter, your niece, your mother, your wife..........when she died, a part of my family died with her. "When I Must Leave You" By Helen Steiner Rice When I must leave you for a little while Please do not grieve and shed wild tears And hug your sorrow to you through the years But start out bravely with a gallant smile: And for my sake and in my name live on And do all the things the same Feed not your loneliness on empty days, But fill each waking hour in useful ways, Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer, And I in turn will comfort you and hold you near: And never, never be afraid to die, For I am waiting for you in the sky!
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