A Meaningful Life: Part 7, Sam's watch

"In the days following the loss of Sam, we learned Sam and two of his basketball friends took the chance of their lives. They tried what they thought was LSD or Acid and would pass quickly through their system avoiding detection from random drug testing that they were subject to as athletes. Later, I learned Sam was the victim of a synthetic drug called 25I-NBOMe, a synthetic hallucinogen that is poison targeted at teens as LSD by how it is packaged. Three boys took it and Sam did not wake up.

In the following months, our family realized there was a need to share Sam’s message to help prevent harm and save others. We formed a nonprofit, Sam’s Watch, to get the word out about the drug dangers threatening young people; especially synthetic drugs which are constantly evolving and extremely dangerous. I created a Sam’s Watch Website which shares the latest dangers of designer drugs to help explain the growing concerns of synthetic drugs across the nation. As young people and adults alike, educating ourselves is the best way we can combat this threat to our youth and better prepare parents and the communities we live in to deal with this threat and know now, which is what we aim to do. I also spoke at community forums and student assemblies during the summer and fall.

In late fall, I reached out to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, to explore opportunities that aligned with our goals for Sam’s Watch. From that, we partnered with NIDA to encourage Indiana schools to participate in National Drug Facts Week, an evidence-based awareness event to get science-based information about drugs and their effects out to teens. In 2014, only three Indiana schools participated. In 2015, 45 Indiana schools alone participated via Sam’s Watch in the event, January 26th to February 1st. Nearly 34,000 Hoosier students had access to accurate information to “Shatter the Myths” on drug use; information that had my son, Sam, had, I hope would have saved his life. I personally spoke to high school students and parents in Lafayette, Greencastle, Indianapolis and Evansville during National Drug Facts Week. In everything I do with Sam’s Watch, it is my hope that sharing Sam’s message is life-giving."

Tomorrow: Part 8, Hope beyond