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Old 11-07-2015, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My Sister Has A Serious Problem


She's had a prescription pill addiction for years now, going on 2 decades for sure. She gets bad headaches, or at least she says she does. I really think that it started with bad migraines but now it has become an excuse for her to take these pills. She goes to the Emergency Room when it gets really bad, or when she needs her fix, and gets methadone shots or whatever they will give her. She used to just get demerall (spelling?) shots years ago but now she aims for the stronger stuff, and demerall is pretty strong as it is. I have seen her bounce from Emergency Room to Emergency Room to get these shots because sometimes they won't give her anything because I'm sure that some doctors can sense she just wants to get high. I was a kid when this first started so as far as I can remember it started with the ER trips which led to prescription pills. Maybe she was always on prescription pills and it just wasnt as bad so I didnt really notice?

Anyways, her husband passed away from overdosing on her prescription pills about 8 years ago. I honestly think this was unintentional on both his and her parts. This was a wakeup call that didnt wake her up at all. Fast forward to now and she has gotten worse, as we all know addiction is progressive. She has two daughters, one is in 4th grade and the other is 19 years old. The older daughter is now on these pprescription pills because she also "gets headaches", which I know is just her and my sisters excuse to get high. I feel this came about because my sister just needs that extra source of pills in the household.

Anyways long story short, she has over dosed a few days ago for the 3rd time in the past 2 years which has required an ambulance trip to the hospital all 3 times. Like her husbands death, these have not been wakeup calls for her and I am well informed that she is probably going to kill herself soon from just not caring about how severe this addiction has got. My mom tried to talk to the child protective services after the 2nd OD to try and get custody of my neice, but since these pills are prescribed it doesnt seem like they can do much.

I really don't know the details of her talking with them, but this 3rd OD has involved the school principle because no one was there to pick my neice up from school. She told my mom that she is well aware that my sister has a problem because she can tell. She is going to file a report (with Child Protective Services?) but claims that if my sister has electricity, water, and food in the fridge then there is usually nothing that gets done, as she has seen in similar situations from the past.

We all don't really know what to do, it seems like people cant really do anything because her issue is a legally prescribed medication. I feel that if she had her child taken away from her that might open her eyes a bit but it also may not. Its really the only thing left to try because she nothing else has opened her eyes about the severity of this. I would think that the Emergency Room would be contacting her doctor about this but she somehow still gets pills after the first 2 overdoses. Its really baffling that they would still be giving her prescriptions after all this.

I have sort of been ignoring this problem for years now because she wont listen to our reasoning, and I know thats because she needs to want to help herself. This has just gone too far though and I fear if nothing happens she will die soon. I really want my neice out of there by court order or something because I know how much she loves her children and I feel it may possibly be the only thing that helps her. I am well aware that it may not though. We're all at the end of our rope here, can anything be done to do this?
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Start documenting everything you know about. If you ever know that she is passed out, call CPS to check on the 10 year old. Keep advocating for this child - she is an innocent victim that has been taken hostage by your sister's addiction.

I would talk to everyone I could think of to try to help this child. Everyone. Attorneys, AA, CPS, Social workers, hospital staff, police. Keep working on it. I know others will be along to give you more ideas.

I'm sorry you're going through this, but as you know there is not much you can do about your sister. You can find a way to get that child out of there, though.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure & I understand your concern in wanting to protect your neice maybe someone with experience will be able to help further

Sorry this is happening
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am so sorry to hear about this, Soberish. I am sure that it is both worrisome and heartbreaking for you.

Failing to pick up her daughter, and the principle witnessing your sister's condition, may constitute child neglect and action may be taken this time by CPS. You could CPS and add your information and concern.

I am sorry that you are going through this.
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow soberish, that's pretty serious. Can't believe her OD's haven't been documented in her medical charts. I pretty much agree with bimini, someone has to be the child's advocate. If her husbands death didn't stop her, not sure anything will. Sad to say, but I think inpatient long term treatment might be the only thing to save her life. If you don't mind me asking, what happens when she OD's? Just falls asleep?
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I wanted to add...I had severe migraines for 25 years. I never took narcotics for them. If she hasn't seen a neurologist, that might be a start. The narcotics cause rebound headaches, so now there isn't really any way to separate the causes from the narcotics. It's possible the daughter has inherited that tendency, migraines among female family members are common. Narcotics are not the solution, there are specific non-addictive pharmaceuticals for migraine. I spent a lot of time at various doctors, hospitals, and psyche specialists before finding the treatment that worked. So this "headache" excuse is just an excuse.

I agree with Thomas that inpatient care is the answer, but you can't make that happen. Keep working on the custody thing. My heart breaks for both those kids - what an awful life. They aren't throw-away people.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Foster mom of three years here, well experienced with CPS. Like biminiblue said, document everything. Do welfare calls on her if you suspect she's not conscious. When you do these, call 911 and say "My sister has an addiction to prescription medications and I haven't been able to reach her in X amount of hours/days- could you send someone to check on her please?" They'll do it. And if they find something alarming, a call to CPS will take place. You can also call in reports to CPS if you know that neglect is happening, or if your younger niece is being driven while mom/sister are under the influence.

We just adopted two of our foster children a couple of months ago. Before they came to our home and into "the system," there were TEN investigations by CPS done. Family was reporting, nurses, doctors, neighbors, boyfriends, etc. But CPS's hands were tied. In order to remove a child from a situation, they have to prove to the presiding judge that there was irrefutable evidence of abuse or neglect. As such, they would show up at mom's place and all signs of drugs would be gone. Apartment was tidy. Food was in the cabinet. There were 'logical' explanations for the bruises on the kids. Until one day there wasn't. It took 3 years of calls from family members and community members to finally catch her neglecting those babies, but it worked on the 11th call. They finally found enough evidence to bring them into a foster home (our home), and now they've been adopted forever.

Don't stop advocating. You're doing the right thing.

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Old 11-07-2015, 01:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have no experience to share but documenting everything seems to be a good idea. To me the safety of children/minors is always paramount.

Best wishes for your sister her daughter and you Soberish.

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Old 11-07-2015, 01:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There is excellent advice here, Soberish, and I'm so sorry for your situation. I hope you continue to advocate for your niece because she will need all the love and support she can get.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yea you know this has gotten way out of hand. I heard about this through my mom today. The day my sister went to the hospital, she text messaged me on my phone later that evening. She wanted to see how I was doing and stuff and because she ran into someone I used to work with she decided to contact me. I don't really hear much from her nowadays so I thought this was strange. Well come to find out a couple days later through what my older niece told my mom, it was one of the nurses there that remembered me. She didn't tell me she was in the hospital for ODing and she seemed fine through text message, when I say fine she seemed happy and in a good mood. She is completely oblivious to everything, I would think being in the hospital for ODing would make you worried/sad/depressed maybe but not happy. Every time she has ODed I guess someone, whether it be my mom or my older niece, has seen her having complications with breathing while she was sleeping/passed out so they have had to call the ambulance on her.

I know my mom has made the efforts to go to the police about this issue at least twice. She was asking if there was anything to do to get custody of my 10 year old niece, and I don't know the exact details but I do remember the officer saying to contact them anytime she feels the need to get things documented.

The principal at the school did say she was filing a negligence report because she was fed up with my sister. The principal had to take my niece with her to a dentist appointment because she could not get a hold of anybody to pick her up. When she did get a hold of my mom, they had a conversation about my sister and that's when she said that CPS makes their efforts to go and see the place but they give a 10 day notice beforehand and as long as there is electricity, food, water and a well kept place there is usually nothing they can do. I am very glad this principal is filing this report because my sister needs a major wake up call.

Everyone is so fed up with this and it has only gotten worse because now we have my older niece trying to cover this up. The only reason my mom found out was because of the principal calling her. My mom then tried to call my sister and my older niece with no answer. My mom was worried so my brother took her to my sisters and the car was there but they couldn't get anyone to answer. She was standing on the porch and mentioning calling the police to my brother AND THEN my niece answered the door. Absolutely annoying that she was there trying to ignore my brother and mom because she was trying to cover up her mom ODing. She is completely oblivious as well.

I am going to talk with my mom about this some more. I have no problem going to the police every single time this happens but I am rarely in the area anymore. My mom has had my younger niece since this has happened, so I am grateful for that. My sister must know through my older niece and has made no efforts to try and call my mom because she knows she messed up again. I think my mom should try and call the police again, possibly a lawyer too, or even periodically go over to my sisters house to catch her all loaded up to call the police. Something needs to change this time around, even if it's only for my younger niece. She is so smart, has great grades, an excellent outgoing personality, and a fantastic sense of humor to name a few things. She has so much potential and doesn't deserve this.
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I wanted to add...I had severe migraines for 25 years. I never took narcotics for them. If she hasn't seen a neurologist, that might be a start. The narcotics cause rebound headaches, so now there isn't really any way to separate the causes from the narcotics. It's possible the daughter has inherited that tendency, migraines among female family members are common. Narcotics are not the solution, there are specific non-addictive pharmaceuticals for migraine. I spent a lot of time at various doctors, hospitals, and psyche specialists before finding the treatment that worked. So this "headache" excuse is just an excuse.

I agree with Thomas that inpatient care is the answer, but you can't make that happen. Keep working on the custody thing. My heart breaks for both those kids - what an awful life. They aren't throw-away people.
She has been to one of the best hospitals in our area with my mom, she had to take a 3 hour drive to get there. This was years ago. They were willing to put her into these pain management classes but she didn't want to do that. They have explained rebound headaches to her so she definitely knows what they are. They have even given her these shots every 3 months that are supposed to reduce her headaches by numbing the nerve. She is just flat out addicted and in denial, and I understand that those rebound headaches must cause painful discomfort but that's no excuse to not go and get help for the root problem, which is addiction. She doesn't want to help herself for whatever her reasons are, so that just means she doesn't want to help her daughter(s) either. I am going to really push for something to get done this time around.

I am so frustrated and angry with her but at the same time I just want her to get better.
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