Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day without Brett

Brett's favorite day of the year, by far, was Christmas. As you can see from his pictures he couldn't have been happier. As I looked through our many photo albums I was struck by the same thing over and over again-you will not find a picture of Brett where he wasn't smiling. The kid just loved life. He loved his family and friends fiercely and thought every day should "bring a new adventure", which was kind of our motto. Of course we all know his later "adventures" in life led to his demise. 5 years later and Christmas is no easier for any of us. And again salvia is all over the news due to Miley Cyrus' video of her smoking a bong of salvia. Brett's name is showing up everywhere on the internet, which actually I am thankful for. I have led a quiet fight these last couple of years but I never give up. This brings salvia and it's dangers to the forefront again, somewhere it definitely needs to be. I read more stories that I was unaware of. The most poignant one was the girl who smoked it and she woke up in the hospital. She had jumped from a 3rd story building and had no memory of it. Her jaw was fractured and she had lost most of her teeth. It was a devastating picture and it agains brings to light the fact that salvia needs to be regulated.
And for those that are following the Miley story please be aware that salvia is ILLEGAL in CA for those under 21. I worked long and hard with Assemblyman Adams in CA to get this law passed. I took the time to fly to Sacramento to testify, to show Brett's pictures, to tell his life story of achievements, and to make sure everyone knew that, without any doubt at all, that salvia caused Brett's death.
Please remember Brett on this Christmas Day and keep him always in your loving prayers as we do. Peace to all and to my sweet angel up above.

Christmas Pics that Brett Loved

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Canada Bans Salvia

About time! Maybe if they had regulated Salvia 5 years ago Brett would not have started experimenting with salvia that he purchased from Canada.

Also, Nevada legislators need to get listen to their constituents in their state. They have a serious Salvia problem there if I'm to believe the telephone call that Brett's dad received this past Thursday night. A concerned father of an 8th grade student called from Nevada inquiring how he could get "Brett's Law" passed in his state. According to the story he told there have been, over the last 2 weeks, 11 attempted suicides and 4 deaths related to salvia usage. If this is true my heart goes out to these parents. Losing a child for the most wrong of reasons is something they will never, ever get over. We can learn to accept death by illness or accident but death by a legal drug will haunt those of us who have lost our loved ones forever.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brett Would be 22 Today

Brett would have been 22 today. His birthday was always full of much celebration and "shenanigans". Never a dull moment when Brett was around. His family and friends miss his incredible sense of humor, and none more than me. Love you Brett.

And to make a sad day even sadder this awful salvia related story just came in:

Teen high on salvia injured in fall over cliff
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
By Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A 17-year-old boy who said he was high on drugs tumbled over a cliff in an O'Hara park this afternoon and suffered a head injury, a county dispatch supervisor said.

The boy called 911 at 3:35 p.m. to report he had fallen over a cliff at Meadow Park and told the call taker that he was on salvia, a potent hallucinogen that's legal in Pennsylvania.

He suffered a head laceration and was taken to Allegheny General Hospital.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Minn. state law bans hallucinogenic drug

Another one for the books. I believe we're up to state number 23!! Brett is smiling today!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Salvia Suicide Attempt

An advocate for Salvia regulation sent me this story below from Colorado. Sadly it mirrors Brett's own experience very closely. The huge difference is this boys' life was saved while Bretts' was not. My heart goes out to this mom and I think how very fortunate she is to be able to hold and hug her son today.

This story is another example of salvias' ability to cause complete psychosis in a single use. Why does the DEA continue to allow this to be legal??? Almost 5 years after Bretts' death they are still studying it??? I alerted the DEA within a week of Brett's death because I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it had caused his death. So, here we are, 5 years later and they continue to "study". My guess is they aren't doing anything at all about it and saying they are "studying" it is an easy escape route from taking any kind of action. Can anyone tell me exactly what this agency spends its' time doing???

Here is the story from Colorado:

A warning tonight from a Southern Colorado mother about an herbal supplement that many teens are now smoking to get high. It's completely legal and as strong as LSD. Some say this herb is not just dangerous, it's deadly.

There are dozens of disturbing videos on You Tube showing teens getting high on Salvia. When smoked it causes powerful hallucinations. The drug seems to take effect almost immediately, causing the user to lose control.

"I had never seen him quite like that," said a Southern Colorado mom who only wants to be identified at Michelle. She says her 17 year-old son smoked Salvia. "He said that he doesn't want to smoke pot and this was alternative for him so he doesn't smoke pot," said Michelle.

One day later she says her son tried to kill himself. "He went to the bridge and he was going to jump." She says it happened on the bridge on Highway 24 outside of Peyton.

Authorities were able to pull him to safety. "He had one leg over and one leg on the otherside and then he swung his other leg over and he was leaning out over nothing," Michelle said.

He was taken to a treatment facility in Colorado Springs and the staff watched him closely for 72 hours. "Afterwards, he didn't even remember anything that had happened," Michelle said.

A terrifying experience for Michelle and her son and this isn't the first time something like this has happened...

The story continues to Brett's story and how Brett's Law was passed in Delaware 3 months after his death.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alabama Passes Salvia Regulation

I received a very heartening letter from the Alabama's Governor office to inform me that the Governor had signed into law their own version of "Bretts' Law".

I've lost tract but I believe we are up to 22 states now that have passed some type of salvia regulation. It still amazes me that it's taken 4 years to get this far but we're almost half way and have no intention of stopping. I thank God every day for all the supporters I hear from daily who always affirm how important this fight is.

And to Anna A. I know the anniversary of your husband's death from salvia is coming up soon. I will never forget your tragic story and how salvia destroyed the wonderful life you knew with your dear husband. I hope for you that healing and acceptance will be yours some day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

4th Anniversary of Brett's Passing-Gone, but Never, Ever Forgotten

Today Brett has been gone from our lives for 4 years. It is still uncomprehensible to us all. His spirit still shines and we are often made aware that he is still with us, if only in that spiritual realm. The light and love that was Brett can somehow still be felt. He will never be gone from our lives, his memory lives on forever.

I know he would be proud of the progress I've made in having the drug that caused him to lose his life regulated across the nation. I am most proud of my work in California, and most recently Ocean City, MD. OC is the first town to go outside of state law and form their own law outlawing salvia. The council members there were very courageous as they weren't sure if what they were doing was actually legal, and whether it would end up being a complete waste of time. Fortunately they were correct in going forward, salvia is now banned in OC and I'll no longer be receiving phone calls from angry parents asking me what they can do to get it out of the boardwalk stores.

And, on this 4th anniversary of Brett's passing, I would like to address something that has bothered me for these four years. When Brett passed away I immediately joined a suicide support group. I had no experience of any kind with suicide or mental illness. There had been nothing like this in either side of the family so I was consumed with finding out how it could be possible. How could a boy who was at the pinnacle of happiness take his own life? I knew, beyond a doubt, it was his salvia use, but I still wanted to reach out to others who had experienced this and some how learn more. One thing that was drummed into me from day 1 that was you must be suffering from depression to commit suicide. I always had a problem with this because there were absolutely NO signs of depression in Brett. I knew this and all his friends confirmed it, including the love of his life, Lauren. Even so, I was told over and over again, he had to be depressed, no question about it. So, without much thought, I told everyone he had to be depressed, even though I had subsequently learned the signs of depression and he exhibited none of those. That one statement was to haunt me for all the years to come and has been reported all over the internet and in the media. So, I will come clean, and say with no hesitation now:


I know he would want people to know the truth, as I do. I left the support group fairly quickly afterwards as I soon realized Brett's case had absolutely zero in common with what these other unfortunate people had experienced. Two mothers who had lost their sons admitted to me that they first saw signs of mental illness and depression in their child as early as eight years old!! They fought for years to maintain a normal, healthy lifestyle. I had none of this. I can say with all honesty that Brett was the absolute best son ever, and his only shortcoming was being completely fearless and way too inquisitive. He had no fear of salvia and wasn't in least concerned of the long range effects. Those effects would cause his life.

Several months ago I received the article (see below) that put everything I knew and felt about what happened to Brett in perspective. I always knew on his last day he had to be experiencing complete and total psychosis after smoking salvia for the last time. This article confirms the severity of salvia and it's devastating, life altering effects. If only Brett had been able to read this, he may still be here today. RIP sweet, dear Brett.


TO THE EDITOR: We present a case in which salvia precipitated persistent psychosis.
“Mr. J” was a 21-year-old man with no family or personal
psychiatric history or laboratory abnormalities. He
was reported to have normal social interactions, behavior,
and cognitive skills. He was transferred to our psychiatric
unit for acute psychosis and paranoia, which occurred
shortly after smoking salvia. In transport, the patient became
suspicious and attempted to jump from the vehicle.
Upon presentation, he demonstrated echolalia, paranoia,
flight of ideas, and psychomotor agitation. The patient remained
agitated for the first 2 days of hospitalization. He
attempted to barricade himself in his room. Risperidone
(3 mg by mouth/three times per day) was administered,
and the patient was eventually stabilized. The dosage,
however, resulted in the parkisonian features of rigidity,
bradykinesia, and masked facies.
Mr. J was transferred to the chemical dependency unit
for further treatment. He was stabilized, and treatment
with risperidone was slowly tapered. During the taper
from risperidone, the patient continued to improve and
manifested better insight and logical thought processes.
He participated in group therapy and interacted with
peers, and the parkinsonian features subsided. One day
after risperidone was withdrawn, the patient’s symptoms
abruptly returned. He became agitated, paranoid, and aggressive
and believed he was able to project and receive
thoughts. He returned to the inpatient psychiatry unit
where risperidone (3 mg by mouth/twice daily) was reinstated.
He was once again stabilized and transferred to
the referring psychiatric facility for further treatment. At
the 4-month follow-up, the patient exhibited no perceptible
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case
of a persistent negative outcome from the use of salvia. We
suspect that our patient was genetically predisposed to
schizophrenia, and salvia precipitated the clinical manifestations.
This may relate to the drug’s ability to influence dopamine
levels in the brain and potentiate plastic changes in
frontal lobe networks (3).
Previous studies have cited salvia as a potential treatment
option for CNS illnesses (2). This is surprising, considering the
paucity of research regarding its efficacy. Salvia’s ability to increase
dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens increases
its potential for dependence. Consistently, patients at our
clinic who have used the drug report that its psychological effects
are abrupt and frightening. Clinicians should be aware
that salvia use can be associated with psychiatric illness.
1. Prisinzano T: Psychopharmacology of the hallucinogenic sage
Salvia divinorum. Life Sci 2005; 78:527–531
2. Grudmann O, Phipps SM, Zadezensky I, Butterweck V: Salvia divinorum
and salvinorin A: an update on pharmacology and
analytical methodology. Planta Med 2007; 10:1039–1046
3. Braida D, Limonta V, Capurro V, Fadda P, Fadda P, Rubino T,
Mascia P, Zani A, Gori E, Fratta W, Parolaro D, Sala M: Involvement
of kappa-opioid and endocannabinoid system on salvia
A-induced reward. J Biol Psychiatry 2008; 3:286–292
Loma Linda, Calif.
The authors report no competing interests.
This letter