My Son Ephraim David Schultz was born July 19, 1983 and died May 12, 2005, from a massive overdose of opiates, methadone and other substances. He was 21 yrs old. Before I became pregnant with him, believe it or not I had a dream and in that dream I was told I would have a son and should name him Ephraim. In hebrew that means, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." Ephraim was a kind, sensitive and loving young boy and grew into a young man with alot of promise at his fingertips. He was a young chess champion,as well as junior national honor roll. His brother and him went to private Christian schools, then Buffalo public schools and then a Catholic parachoial school in 8th grade. There as well as in the suburbs of Buffalo he was introduced to marijuana. From marijuana he quickly was introduced to harder drugs in the prestigious suburb of Buffalo called Clarence, NY where kids have enough money to buy the drugs they want. Thus began the struggle of this kindhearted, promising young man who was and is my son. He spent his days and weekends at Antique World in Clarence, NY where he loved the Pumpkin Festival and the weekend flea market. Although quiet and polite he soon was well known throughout the market area as always being helpful with a quick smile and hello to everyone. He loved gardening and landscaping and worked for some of the companies in the Clarencearea. However he struggled with depression, wanting to fit in and be accepted by his peers and all the other issues that go along with being sensitive. On the evening of his death he left work (he had not been feeling well that week). He apparently went to a party in Clarence where he was sold opiates given to a mother by a local doctor. Actually -- two local doctors. She had no need for these medications and hence had been giving them to her son to sell to the kids in Clarence. A year before when he was arrested for the same thing, a local Judge dismissed him. My son took these drugs given to him and went to his cousin's home, that he was watching while his cousin was out of town. His cousin's roomates' girlfriend was there and he went to lay in his cousin, Benjamin's bed. There 16 hrs later he was pronounced dead. People knew something was wrong but they didnt want to call the police because there were pot plants in the basement. My son could have been saved but he was not because the girl with him was afraid to get help, he lay in his cousins bed dying and alone. Methadone, opiates, marijuana, alcohol caused his heart to explode and he died. A young man with hope, promise and a future died because as a nation we teach our children indirectly that there is an answer in a pill, because of the indiscriminate writing of pain medications, because of the lax laws and judges who release the drug dealers back into society and because of Police who do not do their job. Ephraim's death could have been prevented multiple times, but the system failed this young man and so many more young women and men have died prematurily because of a system that does not work. There is much I have left out. The car accident in which a doctor pushed opiates on my son. The Doctors writing scripts for a woman who didnt need pain medications. The judge who let the drug dealer off. The school system for not intervening. The rehab who fired him because he was positive for marijuana and needed help desperately. The parents who didnt know what to do because when they reached out to a failing system they received no help. The Pastors in the area who knew of Ephraim and did not extend their hand to him. We have a war here in our land. It is a war on drugs. It is taking more young lives than we have seen. Yet we close our eyes and ears to it. And allow drugs to enter our country and allow doctors to push these opiates and Nurses like myself dispense them. We are told we are not good nurses if we allow our patients to be in pain. When will this stop? How many more will die? How many more young lives snuffed out? I died when my son died. The ripples of pain and grief his death created has been numerous. Visions of him growing up cloud my mind and all I see is his face. The face of an angel that I called my son.
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