Autopsies on two Lassen High teens reveal methadone caused their death
Draxler and Hoffman were found dead around 7:52 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 in an unattached bedroom of Hoffman’s residence on Inspiration Drive.
According to Hoffman’s mother, Brenda, who spoke at a the Tuesday, Nov. 28 Narcotics Overdoes Prevention Education information meeting held in the Lassen High School student center, methadone was not at first a consideration until friends of the boys began showing pictures of the pills taken with cell phones.
Later, fellow Lassen High School students began reporting that at least 20 kids said they took the drug during the school’s homecoming game and dance. The Susanville Police arrested two teens, a boy and girl for giving or selling a prescription drug. Another teen did seek medical attention at Banner Lassen Medical Center from side effects of the drug.
The Washoe Coroner’s Office in Reno, Nev. performed the autopsies. In a Dec. 5 letter to the SPD, the coroner’s office wrote, “The results of the autopsies indicate that both boys died as a result of “Acute Methadone Intoxication.’ There were no other measurable amounts of intoxicating substance found in either boy.”
The case as been referred to the Lassen County District Attorney’s office for review.
NOPE meetings are set to begin Monday, Jan. 8, and during the first meeting a board will be elected.
“Twenty-one pills were distributed that night. We do not know yet for sure what happened or how much they took. Twenty-one kids could have died, 42 could have died, they’re scored in fours, 84 kids could have died. Is this community ready to handle that?” said Brenda Hoffman.
Ramona Schlauch’s also spoke during the meeting about her son Robbie who was 24 when he died of an alleged methadone overdose.
When his family saw Robbie was suffering, Ramona Schlauch said they tried helping him, but he denied having an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
“He was under the mistaken impression that prescription drugs won’t hurt you,” she said.
On Sept. 6, Schlauch said Robbie took an overdose of methadone.
“Luckily the paramedics saved his life,” she said. “Robbie said it was a mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.”
He went back to his apartment in Chico and on Oct. 18 the Chico Police found him dead in his apartment, she said.
“Alcohol and prescription drugs robbed our son, they robbed him of his health, they robbed him of his friend, and they robbed him of his family. Alcohol and prescription drugs robbed our son of his future and his very life,” she said.
Ramona Schlauch said not only was Robbie robbed, but so was the family, as they lost a son, a brother and a cousin.
“Why?” she asked. “All of the answers died with Robbie, but all of the unanswered questions remain with us for the rest of our life and so will the pain. I hope you will all support this program so that we can help save kids’ lives,” Schlauch said.
According to the Lassen County Narcotics Task Force, since the boys’ deaths the task force is getting more calls of people abusing prescription drugs.
Local agencies and schools have begun education programs even at the grade school level, to remind children and teens about the dangers of all drugs, even prescription drugs.
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