OxyContin / Prescription Drug Death of a 10 year old girl!

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Oxycontin/Prescription Drug Death

The Death of a Ten Year Old Girl

This is about a ten-year-old girl that died.

  • It could have been about the death of 30-year-old man or an 18-year-old girl.
  • These deaths are happening with alarming frequency.
  • But always when an older person dies from prescription drugs, there is an assumption that they “should have known better.”
  • There is always the suspicion that even though the news reports say that this fatal overdose was caused by prescription drugs, there must be more to the story.
  • Maybe the person was really a secret drug user?
  • Maybe the person had mixed the prescription drug with other substances that didn’t show up in the toxicology reports?
  • Maybe the person wanted to commit suicide?
  • Until it has happened to them or someone close to them, most people just think that there must have been other causes besides the prescription drug.
  • Sometimes they are correct but many times they aren’t.
  • However, there is one fact that is totally true – the people that died were someone’s son, brother, sister, daughter, cousin, grandchild, spouse, father, mother, aunt, uncle or friend.
  • They are gone from our lives and leave behind memories and thoughts of what might have been.

Ten Year Old Rayanna—A Tragic Death from the Prescription Drug OxyContin

Rayanna’s story was told by Nicholas Grube and Kurt Madar in the August 04, 2009, issue of the Baker City Herald. Rayanna sounded like my daughter, your daughter, your granddaughter, your niece or your friend’s daughter when she was ten years old. Her aunt and mother described her as a “fun-loving child who enjoyed camping and the outdoors.” “She loved to play dress-up,” said her aunt, Dove Stewart. “She loved high heel shoes. I remember this green pair that were her favorite, she wore them always.”

The last night of Rayanna’s life seemed very normal.

  • She and her family played a card game and then talked and she went to bed.
  • Around 2:30 a.m. the next morning, Rayanna woke her mother complaining of feeling hot and itching.
  • Her mother held her for a while and then gave her a Tylenol and held her hand while she went back to sleep.
  • The last thing Rayanna told her mother was how excited she was because they were going shopping the next day for school clothes.
  • The next morning Rayanna’s mother went to wake her up and said, “I went back in to her room and she was lying on her stomach.
  • I turned her over and it was awful … she was gone.
  • Somewhere between her going back to bed and when I got up, my baby left.”


The entire story is still not known, but here is what authorities believe happened on the last day of Rayanna’s life:

  • She went over to her grandmother’s home to borrow some potatoes for dinner;
  • She saw that her grandmother was asleep and that there were prescription drugs like OxyContin—given to her grandmother for pain, lying around.
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• Rayanna apparently took one OxyContin pill, just one.


Rayanna’s grandmother was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and causing great bodily injury. The county prosecutor said that he was thinking of increasing the charge to involuntary manslaughter.

  • This was not the first time that Rayanna took one of her grandmother’s drugs.
  • Apparently, Rayanna had found pills at her grandmother’s on two previous occasions and taken them.
  • Both times she was taken to the hospital and recovered.
  • The grandmother had been warned by authorities to lock her pills in a safe to protect her grandchildren but had failed to do so.
  • We don’t know what will be her reason for not locking up her drugs, but if she was heavily drugged it is unlikely that she was thinking clearly.


While this grandmother knew that her granddaughter took her pills before and has no excuse for not protecting the child from access to the drugs, think of how you would feel if it was your child, grandchild or the child of a friend that took a pill from your medicine cabinet or off your bedside table and then suffered the same fate as Rayanna.

  • What about the mother? She knew that the grandmother left pills lying around and her daughter had taken these drugs on two previous occasions.
  • How could she just send her daughter over to the grandmother’s house?
  • What must she be feeling?
  • How would you live with the guilt of being responsible for a child losing his or her life because you had left a substance that acts just like a poison to children lying around unprotected?


While it seems clear that we know the actual cause of Rayanna’s death, the reason for the death is much more complicated. It basically is due to neglect. Here are some of the parties who neglected her:

  • A President and Congress that worry more about how to get the next donation from Big Pharma than they do about protecting the health and safety of their citizens;
  • The FDA that fails to require narcotic producers to label their drugs as narcotics which are as potent as heroin;
  • The FDA that fails to require doctors to exhaust other types of treatment before they sanction placing people on narcotics that are interchangeable with heroin and don’t actually treat anything—they just mask the pain;
  • The FDA that doesn’t require the big red X, the universal symbol for poison, to be on the bottle of these deadly prescription drugs so that children would at least see that the contents can be as deadly as rat poison;
  • Big Pharma that promotes their drugs on television as if they were some cure-all for any problem you might be having with life and that there are no real consequences;
  • Big Pharma who fights to keep warnings off drug labels and television ads because they are only interested in profits, not people;
  • The doctors who freely write prescriptions for narcotics and other deadly drugs and don’t warn their patients about the side effects and don’t warn their patients that even one pill can cause the death of a child;
  • The parents and grandparents who lock up their firearms but leave deadly prescription drugs on bedside tables and in medicine cabinets;
  • The parents that fail to educate their children and grandchildren that these are deadly drugs and can quickly take the life of a child;
  • The schools that fail to educate the children on the deadly consequences of prescription drugs;
  • A society that worries more about football scores than ensuring that children are protected from these deadly drugs;
  • A society that is often unwilling to hold accountable the person who left the drug lying around so it could be taken by a child or given to another child to take;
  • All of us who read Rayanna’s story but still sit quietly and don’t rise up and demand that we stop neglecting our own health and safety but, even more important, the health and safety of our children.


What could have saved Rayanna?

  • We don’t know.
  • Certainly having the drugs securely locked would have removed the availability.
  • Maybe education would have helped, but if adults continue to worship at the feet of the drugs and take them like they were a normal part of life, then why wouldn’t children see the drugs as harmless?
  • If it is safe for mother or dad, why not for me?


It is time that we recognize that there is a place for drugs, even drugs like the narcotics used as painkillers because they block the symptoms, but it is a very limited place. As a society, we should send a message that these drugs are dangerous and should only be taken carefully and only after all other attempts at actually solving the physiological problems causing the pain have failed.

It is time not to glorify these deadly drugs, but to treat them in the same way that we treat rat poison—as something to be handled with caution and never allowed within the reach of our children.

As the consumer of health care we have the obligation to select the type of medical care we want. Do we want to mask the symptoms or cure the problem? That choice may very well determine the type of future we have as a country and a people.

NOTE: This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine, health care diagnosis or treatment, or (iii) the creation of a physician patient or clinical relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or that this information may be useful to you or others, please consult with your health care provider before applying any information from our articles to your personal situation or to the personal situation of others.

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