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In memory of Andrew Ramey

Created by Family Of Andrew Ramey

Andrew Ramey

Pushing past her grief
A tear-stained ribbon hangs from Latonya Hager’s blouse, faded gold letters bent with wear read, “our son.”

Attached by a shiny safety pin is a tattered photo of she and Drew, her brown-haired boy. She smiles emphatically as she talks about their trips to Florida and Hawaii and a visit from Fiona the Fairy on Drew’s 16th birthday.

Her Valentine baby, Drew was always a thrill seeker. Full of life and ambition, Latonya said Drew excelled in welding and planned to attend Eastern Kentucky University. He loved life, lived and breathed sports and was always popular. He had to have the very best, including a brand new metallic blue Chevy Silverado.

“Me and his dad, the day after he died, went to the funeral home to pick out his casket,” Latonya said through her grief. “His casket was the same color as his truck.”

Drew Ramey died at the age of 19. A deadly concoction of methadone and Xanax took his life when he overdosed Nov. 19, 2005.

While playing basketball for Madison Southern High School, Drew suffered a knee injury at the age of 16. Drew was prescribed pain killers following surgery for the injury.

“I can pretty much trace it back to that,” Latonya said of the beginning of Drew’s drug usage.

As a nurse, Latonya said she began to see signs of a possible drug addiction. In his bedroom one day she found ink pens with the middle part taken out, capsules and some tweezers.

“I noticed he was angrier more,” she said. “His grades were failing, but I didn’t know what to do.”

Latonya said she approached Drew about the drugs, but he denied he had a problem.

“He would look at me with those beautiful eyes and say, ‘Mom, I tried that, but I don’t do that,’” she said. “‘You’re crazy, Mom.’”

Latonya wanted to believe him. But the differences in Drew’s demeanor, his lack of interest in school and anger concerned her.

“I knew he was headed down the wrong road,” she said. “I quit giving him money and he thought I hated him for it.”

One day she knocked on his door and he pushed her way. At the time she was hurt, but she said she didn’t understand the addiction.

“The drugs make you angry and he didn’t want me to see that,” Latonya said. “I was always talking to him about drugs and ‘straighten your life up, go to college,’ and he just didn’t want me around that.”

The week of Thanksgiving, Latonya said she was going to go see Drew, but she didn’t make it.

Instead, she got a call that her son was in the emergency room. He began having seizures at home and was foaming at the mouth. By the time paramedics arrived, Drew was gone.

“They called me and said “Drew (overdosed) and he’s at the hospital,’” Latonya said. “I said, ‘Is he OK?’ and they said, ‘Well he’s purple, but the ambulance has got him.’ They didn’t tell me anything. So when I got there, I had to watch them do CPR on him. And he was dead.”

After nearly a year of dealing with the denial, anger, guilt and sadness, Latonya said Drew’s death has changed her life. His death has given her a passion to help save the lives of other children who may be suffering from drug addictions.

“If we all think, ‘Well, he’s dead, we can’t help anybody else, it’s too late for Drew,’ then nothing’s ever going to happen,” Latonya said “We can’t sit back and say, ‘This drug problem’s too big, we can’t handle it.’”

The stigma that envelops drugs is a difficult one to overcome, but Latonya said she spent too much time being quiet while Drew was alive.

“Nothing’s worse than losing a child, so I don’t care what people say now,” Latonya said. “I’m just here to tell people to ‘wake up. Don’t be in denial. Don’t wait until they’re in the casket to start speaking out. Use your voice while they’re still alive.’”

Latonya and other local citizens are in the beginning stages of coordinating a coalition to pull in resources from the judicial system, law enforcement, doctors and other professionals that will offer materials and advice for families dealing with drug addiction.

“We’re wanting to help people,” Latonya said. “I feel like I didn’t do enough while he was alive. I prayed; I don’t know what I should have done, but I should have done more. That’s what I feel like. That’s why I’m doing this.”

Through educating others, Latonya said if one life is saved, Drew’s death will not have been in vain.

“I just don’t want his name to die,” she said. “I don’t want people to forget him. At least he will have done something with his life.”


This Memorial was created to commemorate a loved one's life and to let other families know they can turn to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for help when struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page to increase awareness of substance use disorders and to provide hope and healing for others.

Guest Book

Comments

1. Julie
So sorry for your loss.
2. Betsy Satterfield
There is always hope and prayers for a way out. But you...you have to truly want that. Until then it's a waste of time. So hit your knees. Pray for god to see your struggles and help you to really overcome this! I have faith that you can do this!
3. Larisa Aganova
One and only thing I can tell u for sure is that your son is in peace. No more pain, no more guit and shame. I have been living a life of agony for the past 16 years as a heroin addict. Nothing has taken me out of this misery. Boat loads of methadone and xanax, somas and clonodins, clonopons and ambiens, grams of heroin and cocaine IV shots and I still wake up. I am 30 and there is no way out for me. 16 months of prison, 22 detoxes, 3 long term programs and pain in my mother's eyes.
4. Trudy Jones
My son LJ died from taking methadone and perscriptions drugs. Those drugs should not be combined. I lost my son and my best friend. My heart aches everyday and I miss you LJ my son. Trudy Jones
5. Amanda Iocono
Hi, I am sorry about your loss. I just wanted to say that drugs are horrible and they have taken away too many lives of many teenagers and adults. It is just horrible!
6. Nicole Mckiernan
i am so sorry for your loss.my friend has a niece that is 19 and she is getting methadone from a clinic everyday, she is hooked. i wish she could find some help.
7. Leslie Reeves
Thank you for your selfless concern for others at a time like this. That is truly remarkable. I do not believe there could possibly be anything as unbearable as to lose your child, your baby. I am not a child. I am 48 and I have two wonderful teenage children, who so far are not affected by the gene I have for this disease on both sides of my family. In my thirties, after having my children, I began having health problems in three different areas leading to an addiction to opiates.
8. Stefanie Bozeman
All my love and prayersgo out to you and your family. I just lost my baby brother Jeff Dec 13th 2007 to the same 2 drugs.May your angel Andrew help you thru your pain.
9. Brittany Herrlin
I didn't know him personally but my heart goes out to his family and friends. I'm stopping by to leave this message because I lost my best friend, Brittany, on December 23rd,2006 to a drug overdose as well at the age of 20. We were friends since the beginning of time and she will always be in my heart. No matter what kind of drug, they dont do you any good. Please if you get a chance visit www.wishfulbliss.org and sign the petition for BRITS law. This is to make people responsible to call 911.
10. Lori Pendleton
I am so very sorry for your loss. We have been struggling with addiction with one of our children. It is so frustrating because they don't want help and always say they can quit anytime. It has affected our lives on a daily basis, it scares me to death. If anyone is reading this please don't do this to yourself and end up dead like Andrew. This can happen to anyone. I don't care how many times you have used drugs, it just takes one time for your body to react wrong and you can die.
11. Jesse Redler
I'm so sorry for your loss. Believe it or not about 5 minutes before I came across this page I was on the hunt for "no-script" xanax etc; but when coming across sites like these, and very real stories like yours, the raw emotion of unimaginable pain snaps me out of that daze every time. Thank you for sharing your story, and same to all the others who put tributes on here. ~ Jesse (Age:20)