On what would have been his 28th birthday, A$AP Yams‘ mother writes a letter urging people to be careful with how they get high.
People use drugs, people like drugs. That’s reality. Forget baseball, getting high is America’s favorite pastime. We’ve all seen and heard of public service campaigns telling kids to say no to drugs, or at least stay away from certain drugs. But in real life, people are going to experiment and do what they want to do.
That’s why A$AP Yams‘ mother Tatianna Paulino is hoping to introduce a new kind of conversation. Her son, born Steven Rodriguez was the guy who pushed the A$AP Mob intro superstardom. But on Jan. 15, 2015 he died from a drug overdose. Toxicology reports concluded that he died from a combination of sipping lean and popping pills.
In the years since her son’s death, “Mama Tati” has dedicated herself to doing research on the drugs that killed her son, especially the lean. She found that sipping lean alone is rarely deadly, but it is the combination of that drug with other sedatives that is killing people.
In a letter she wrote for Noisey, Paulino wrote about her discoveries and wants people, especially those in the public health field, to change their approach to dealing with drug use.
“I have learned that while it is possible to die from an overdose of an opioid alone, this is uncommon,” she says. “The majority of opioid-related deaths involve multiple drugs, especially combining opioids with other sedatives, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.”
She continued, “Sure enough, Steven’s toxicology report revealed that he had not only taken codeine, but he also had taken oxycodone [an opioid] and alprazolam [a benzodiazepine]. Was he aware of the potential dangers of mixing opioids with other sedatives? I certainly wasn’t. Even if it makes us uncomfortable, I wish public health messages about drugs were more clear and simple in emphasizing real concerns as oppose to hyping less likely outcomes. I wish such messages simply stated, “Don’t combine opioids with other sedatives!” If they did, perhaps my son would be alive today.”
She also added, “I recognize that parents, including me, should discourage drug use. But, you should also know that my son wanted to get high, not die.”