We send flowers and we give them our regards.  Losing someone to an opiate drug overdose is a very difficult and complicated situation.  Its sad beyond sad because someone just threw their life away because they lost complete control of their body, mind & soul while using opiate drugs.  Whether it be heroin or opioid pain pills it doesn’t not matter because its all the same.  All these opium related chemicals act the same way.

They take control of your life and every single aspect in it.  The heroin is what makes your decisions.  Your life revolves around consumption of this dangerous drug.  Unfortunately, too many people take it too far and die from overdose.  They consumer too much and their body cannot handle it.

So, what do we do and how are we suppose to handle interaction with someone who has lost a loved-on to opiate overdose?  What do we say?  A drug overdose death is different from any other kind of death.  It is a needless preventable death unlike getting hit by a car or dying from cancer.  That is why it is so sad.

heroin brain chemicals

Listen to this group of revering opiate addicts discuss this very topic.  We go straight to the source by listening and learning directly from opiate addicts.  We thank Gail Gabbert for creating this PodCast from the “Opiate Recovery Group”.  Her work provides an endless amount of support and awareness.

One of our podcast listeners asked the group for feedback. She recently lost her ex-husband to a drug overdose, leaving their son and daughter devastated by the loss. She wonders what could have gone wrong, and what prevention steps could’ve altered the outcome. Listen in to this support group as they give their opinions on what likely happened and what could’ve been done to help. Our hearts go out to Brooke and her family.


Discussion Guide:

  • Why would someone in a Methadone Treatment Program be so oversedated that they would have trouble staying awake, drooling, be difficult to arouse when sleeping, and awaken in a foul mood and lash out? Is this common with methadone?


  • What are common substances that will cause a vulnerability to overdose if mixed with Methadone?


  • What would motivate someone to take another substance on top of Methadone?


  • What are the signs and symptoms of overdose?


  • Do you have Narcan available in case of an overdose? Have you trained your family members in its use?


  • Grief is a normal reaction to loss. One aspect of grief is wondering if you could’ve or should’ve done more to prevent the death. Do you think that you can do something to prevent an overdose? What would you recommend to others?

For more insight simply click the link below and press PLAY on the PodCast contained on the follow page.


⇓  ⇓    Click The Link Below to Listen To PodCast    ⇓  ⇓

What Do You Say to Someone Who

Has Lost a Family Member to Overdose?



Please Share This Post To Help Others.


Supplemental Reading:

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4742/Overdose_Toolkit.pdf

Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Overdose-Awareness-and-Use-of-Naloxone-Test.pdf

SCARE ME, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SCARE-ME.pdf


heroin and opioid abuse



  1. Today is my son 31st birthday,I lost him to Heroin on June,14 ,2016. . This is the first time I have talk to anybody about how I fill, I am lost with out him,still can believe he is gone. My life will never be the same, he was doing real good . I got him some help and for along time he did go. BUT on 6-14-16 he was gone to get off probation,I do not know why he had to do heroin one more time. He had not done heroin for 2 years and it killed him, I guess he wanted to do it one more time. I hope the goverment can stop the people from bring it in to our country. stop killing are families. my sons name is James Miles Baxla born May,10th , 1988 died June 14th 2016,God help us all Julie Malia Baxla:

    1. Julie, thank you for sharing your story. You are NOT alone. More people need to tell their stories so that the general public knows what is going on.
      I could feel your pain through your words. I hurt for you. I know that you are a very saddened mother because you lost your son to an Opiate overdose. Words cannot describe how sorry I am for you that this happened. This is happening all over to many other Mothers. Again, you are not alone and you should not feel like you are alone.
      More must be done to fight and defeat this drug epidemic. We all need to talk about better ways to improve the Awareness & Prevention methods.

      Why does this keep happening? Why are the numbers increasing every year? More and more valuable and respected people are dying from Opiates and Opioids (Heroin and Prescription pain killers).

      What is it going to take to stop or reduce this epidemic?

      Is there not enough Awareness & Prevention?
      Is our government not fighting the War on Drugs anymore?
      Or, is there just a growing number of hurting people who hate life and want to make themselves feel better in any way they can?

      There is no easy answer. This is a complicated and delicate topic that no one wants to talk about. It is the dark ‘elephant’ in the room.

      The answer is simple. We are never going to beat this addiction epidemic, unless we talk about it nationally.
      We are The People in this country. We have the power and authority to make things happen and demand that our State and Federal Governments do more to combat this drug problem.

      Julie, I commend you for speaking up and posting your story. More people need to do this. The public needs to be alerted about this tragic happening going on in our country. Opiate Addiction is hurting all kinds of people. From lawyers to trash collectors, your friends and family, your neighbors and co-workers….Opiate Addiction has no favorites. It will conquer anyone that comes in to contact with it.

      In 2017,….something like 70,000 people died from drug overdose. That is far too many.

      Are Doctors who prescribe opioids the problem? Or, is it our DEA who continues to fail at stopping the flow of drugs past our southern border?

      There are two types of Opiate/ Opioid Addicts: The people who party and begin taking Heroin for the fun of it. And then, those who were prescribed opioids legally by their Doctor for pain.
      Believe it or not, the fact is that the majority of Opiate Addicts first became addicted to the prescription Opioids that were legally prescribed to them by their Doctor. This was my case. Yet, in the end, we are all in the same boat. Opiates and Opioids are all “OPIUM” with the same affects.

      I should have lost my life. If I could, Julie, I would take the place of your son, James Baxla. Your story hits home very hard. Your son was only about 30 years old. He had an entire life to live ahead of him. I am so sorry what happened to him. But, this is another wake up call…that people need to listen to and try to make changes.

      Nothing seems to be working. Had more been done decades ago, perhaps we would not be at epidemic levels of overdoses right now.

      I do not believe that there is a War on Drugs anymore. The DEA realized long ago that they could never stop the flow of drugs into our country. If you kill a top leader of a drug cartel, someone will quickly take their place and continue on. This is because there is too much money when it comes to drugs. The U.S. had a massive appetite for drugs.
      Instead, our DEA began focusing on reducing the killings and murders related to the cartels. They decided to choose one Cartel and back them. This would be better than there being 10 smaller Cartels who were all killing each other every day. If only one, or two Cartels were in power, that would be much easier to control and majorly reduce the death toll. Was this the right thing to do? Who knows. None of it makes sense to me.

      What needs to happen now, is to create a much bigger and more effective Awareness & Prevention program. Nancy Reagan was off to a great start in the 80’s with her slogan “Just Say NO”. I clearly remember this campaign when I was young. Therefore, it works. Well, what I mean is that it was effective despite myself becoming an Opioid addict anyway.

      My situation was caused by my Pain Doctors prescribing stronger and stronger pain medications (Fentanyl) BEFORE, DURING and AFTER my numerous surgeries to reconstruct my shoulder and neck. I had damaged it severely in a bad fall and much damage was caused to my AC joint, tendons, bones, etc. After my first surgery failed because I was not using a shoulder surgeon specialists…my pain escalated and all we knew to do was to take stronger opioid medication to ease the pain. After many years, I realized I was addicted to Fentanyl. I was consuming a massive dose every day. This went on for nearly 7 years.

      My situation got so bad, that I tried to take my life on numerous occasions. I had written suicide notes and planned it all out. I was rock bottom. I had nothing left. So, to stop the feelings of withdrawal from Fentanyl, I figured that was my only way. Withdrawal was so bad, that I had to rid myself from it and stop it.
      Thank God that I still had a tiny sliver of hope left and I did not do the act. I had hope in God that he would restore my life and that is why I kept on living.

      Because I survived,…in order to make my ordeal worth something…I created this site http://www.heroininme.com to bring more attention to this cause. To get people to tell their stories and to get something done about this.

      I decided to learn all that I could in rehab. Because if something good would come out of my terrible situation, then maybe it made some kind of sense. It was not all worthless and tragic. Something good could come out of it and I was determined to make that happen. It has been nearly 8 years since I weaned off Fentanyl and I have helped to council many people since then. I am not proud of my past and I wish it never happened. But, I am alive today and my situation did happen. I cannot change that. But, what I can do is help to change drug addiction, so that others can avoid it, or get out of it, or recover successfully from it.

      Which brings me to another major point. When I was in rehab, I kept asking myself “Why do so many people relapse”? What was wrong with rehab. The statistics show us that 9 out of every 10 people who enter rehab, end up relapsing in the very first week. This is also what happened to Julie’s son above. He had gotten clean for 2 years and then relapsed with a dose of Heroin that was too strong and he passed. I hurt for Julie and her family because this seems like it could have been prevented.

      Why do so many people relapse?
      Well, I began to learn about this doing research and speaking with my DO Primary Care Doctor who helped me through my situation. One problem is “memory” and we will get to that in a moment.
      (Excuse my long post, but Julie caused me to think more about this epidemic and why it is happening)

      When you take Opium of any kind for a decent amount of time (months and years), your brain basically stops producing neurotransmitters. I am sure you have heard of Dopamine and Serotonin? These brain chemicals are crucial to us living good lives. They cause us to feel good when something good happens in life. They prevent depression and feelings of despair.
      While on opium (heroin or pain pills) your brain slows down or stops producing Dopamine, because it is getting the same affects from the Opium. It becomes a temporary problem.
      So, then you STOP taking Opium….your brain just does not start producing Dopamine and Serotonin at the correct levels. It takes a long, long time for your brain to heal and balance out its neurotransmitters. The longer you were on Opium, the longer it will take your brain to naturally start producing the right amount of dopamine or serotonin. The dosage or strength that you were on also plays a major role in how long it takes your brain to heal.

      Therefore, you go to rehab and detox. At the same time, you begin feeling depressed and in despair every day because your brain is not producing much, if any, Dopamine. Remember, that while the person was taking heroin or pain pills….that chemical was the replacement for the dopamine and serotonin. The good news is that this is not a permanent problem. The brain will eventually get back to normal and produce the levels it needs to in order to make you feel normal and good in life life everyone else.

      The main problem is how long it takes your brain to heal as far as neurotransmitter brain chemicals are concerned. In my situation, I had increased to a staggering dosage of Fentanyl every day. Had anyone else taken this much, it would have killed them instantly. But, because our bodies slowly become tolerant to opium, you have to take more and more in order to get the same pain relief affects that you were getting in the past when you were on a lesser dose.

      It was going to take my brain a long, long time to heal. Possibly years. Yet in the meantime, I am feeling depressed like I had never felt before. I was in despair 24 hours a day and I did not want to live. Therefore, it was extremely tempting to relapse and make myself feel better.

      This is exactly why so many people, including James (above) relapse. You cannot blame them for wanting to end their horrific feelings of non-stop depression and despair.

      This is where the ‘memory’ comes in to play. We remember how great it felt when we took any kind of opium (heroin or pain pills). You felt wonderful with no issues or sad feelings. You felt so good that you wanted to stay in this euphoria for as long as you could. Our brains clearly remember this awesome feeling. Therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to avoid a relapse.

      Many people know exactly what I am saying. If we could just remove this from our memory, there would be a lot less relapses. This type of feeling good is a deception. It is a lie. This chemical might make you feel terrific for a few hours, but it is also consuming your life. It will destroy you, and you know it. Except you do not care, because it makes you feel so good that it seems to Trump any repercussions or negative aspects of it.
      This is also why good, ethic and high moral people will do things that they never, ever would dreamed of doing prior to being on opium. People of good stature will lie, cheat and steal if it means getting access to more heroin or pain pills.

      Honestly, you cannot count this against these people. Yes, I am one of them…but I am also a human like you are. Opiate Addiction is a disease just like cancer.
      It might have started out as a choice for some, but it inevitably turns out to be an all consuming deadly disease.

      Julie, your son James was temporarily mentally sick with this addiction disease. There was nothing that he could do about it. He was stuck. His brain was not producing enough dopamine or serotonin therefore he probably felt depressed or in a state of despair for many hours of the day. He remembered that if he took some heroin, he could feel good instantly. You did get him help. You did all that you could do. The blame should be placed on this terrible chemical. So many other people went through the same struggle that James did. Some survived, but many do not. I recommend that you find a good Bible-based, or faith based bereavement group for Mothers. It will help you tremendously if you can talk with other Mothers going through the same thing.

      If a person has addiction in their family genes, they will become an addict if they ever dabble with addictive drugs or alcohol. Addiction certainly gets passed down the family genetics. My uncle was a heroin addict and my GrandPa was an alcoholic. I had not realized this when I started taking the prescription given to me by my Pain Doctor.

      Anyway, I do not want to blame my Doctor. Doctors mean well and they want to give their patients pain relief. They may over-prescribe the drugs to too many patients who do not need it, but their intentions are mostly good. There is however some blame to be had with the manufacturers of opioid synthetic pain medication. They did a terrible job at educating Doctors and patients about the dangers of their drugs. These PHARMA companies failed to teach people who to properly come off of their medication and how to handle dependency and addiction. Those companies should be help responsible and there should be more regulations to control them.

      However, I say all of that to say: “No Customer, No Cartel”. I coined this phrase a while back because it sums up this drug epidemic. The only way to slow it down or stop it is by eliminating the customer of the drug.
      If we can educate our high schoolers in a big way, we can get them to never try drugs. If we can drill this into them, we can prevent a future epidemic. Today, there is NOT enough done whatsoever. There is D.A.R.E, which is a great program, but it is simply NOT enough.

      This site tries to focus on 4 main Pillars in the fight against Opiate Addiction:
      3) RECOVERY

      Rehab facilities need to learn themselves how to educate detoxing addicts about the brains neurotransmitter chemicals. I began taking supplements while I was in recovery directed by my Doctor. These specific vitamins and minerals were pre-cursors to helping my brain produce dopamine and serotonin much faster. It worked. After taking Tyrosine and other minerals for about a month, I began feeling better with much less depression and despair.

      If we can teach recovering addicts how to focus on their brain health…we can improve the success of recovery. There are things that people can do to help their brains balance out after the damage caused by the opium chemicals.

      Julie, I wish you the best despite your situation. God can and will help you through it if you simply ask Him to. I am not sure what you believe in, but I am saying from my own experience that the Lord can help us all. We need to pray more and focus on the goodness of God. He is our only hope. One day you will see your son again in Heaven. I promise you this. It will be like no time has passed. In the Heavenly realm, there is no pain or suffering. There is no drugs nor any need for drugs. You will reunite with James and all of the nasty horrific past will be forgotten.
      Dwell on our Lord God when you are feeling down. He will give you strength to get through the days. The pain will never fully go away, but you will get more use to it and how to handle it. You can still find peace and happiness, especially if you involve God and His Son Jesus Christ in your life. Find a good Bible-Based church and ask people to pray for you. Give it a try, as you have nothing to lose.

      God can only make you feel better and give you hope when you are at this lowest point in your life. Having lost a child, there is no greater pain. God is the only one who can fill this void in your life and give you comfort.

      Julie, I would love to talk more with you and stay in touch. Feel free to email me on my private address: mattbronowicz@gmail.com

      And, send me your best email address.

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  3. I know of a few people who have overdosed on Heroin. It is a nasty situation because it could have been prevented. If that person had just been educated when they were a young child this might not have happed. We must create more awareness in order to increase prevention.

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