Anyone’s Son

 

On a cool late October day, Deb Noethe and her husband Tom load dozens of backpacks in the back of a pickup. They’re filled with toiletries, snacks, hats and mittens. Deb hopes they may also contain a lesson or two.

She calls them blessing bags. They’re meant for people struggling with homelessness and addiction in Grand Rapids.

“I hope and pray that they go to the people that really need them,” Deb Noethe said.

The inspiration for the bags, however, comes from pain.

“Every parent’s worst nightmare, and it happened,” she said.

Deb’s third son, Garret Bethke, struggled with addiction for 10 years.

“It started using oxycontin,” she said. “A friend had given him one, and he liked the way it felt. That was how he explained it to me.”

He eventually got hooked on heroin. But he’s not what you would picture when you hear the phrases “heroin addict” or “drug user.” Garret loved music, art, baseball and fishing.

He told his parents about his struggle with heroin about five years ago, in 2011. He was 23 at the time.

“I couldn’t believe my son was a heroin addict,” Deb said. “Any mother that has gone through this or parent says exactly the same thing. I had no clue. I had no clue. That’s what’s scary about it.”

They immediately got him in to treatment, but in this round, he wasn’t going for himself.

“He told me … the only reason I went to treatment was because I did it for you. Because he knew I was so scared. He did it for me,” Deb said.

The treatment never seemed to stick. The longest time he was clean was 60 days during his last stint. He would relapse over and over.

“If the person doesn’t want to go to treatment, what good is it going to do when he gets to treatment?” Tom Noethe asked.

But years later, in 2014, Garret was ready to go. He was living at home, working at his mom’s gardening business and waiting for a bed to open up.

“I thought, Oh, this is going to be the time,” Deb said. “I think he actually thought, I think this is going to work. I’m going to try really hard.”

He knew it would be difficult. He’d been there before. During one clean period, he wrote a letter breaking up with heroin. One line read, “Please don’t try to get ahold of me. I won’t answer to you anymore. We are done forever.”

This time, in October 2014, seemed different. Garret was 28.

Through the years of her son’s addiction, Deb slept with her cell phone under her pillow just in case.

“You’re always in the back of your mind, this can happen,” she said. “But you say, it’s not going to be my child.”

Yet six days after Garret was released from the halfway house in St. Cloud, Deb got that dreaded call in the middle of the night.

“Fifteen minutes later, the police were knocking at my door,” she said. “That’s exactly how I played it in my head. That’s exactly what happened. ‘I’m sorry to tell you your son has died.’ I said, ‘Overdose?’ And they said, ‘yes.'”

Deb said she went numb. But she woke up to a bitter truth that night.

“Drugs don’t care, heroin doesn’t care. They’ll take everything from you, and they’ll take your soul,” she said. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.”

This October marked the second anniversary of Garret’s death. Friends and family gathered at his grave to remember him. As the song “Dancing in the Sky” played, emotions were raw.

Still, Deb spoke through her tears, recounting the lessons her son has taught her about who addicts really are.

“Most addicts that I know and I’ve had the privilege of calling my friends are the kindest, most loving people you’d ever meet in your life,” she said.

They’re people like Garret’s friends Melissa and Michael Lane. He met the two through using.

“He was the man. Really, he was a cool person,” Michael said. “But I don’t know. They say the good die young, I guess. I don’t really know.”

Deb said Garret would remind her addiction is an illness and should be treated that way.

“He’d say, ‘Mom, they’re addicts just like me. They’re not bad people, they just have a really bad disease,'” Deb recalled. “Hate the addiction, love the addict.”

Deb took that advice. She loves these people she used to kick out. She has welcome with open arms the very people who shared in the drug culture that led to her son’s death.

“It’s just weird how everything happens,” Michael said.

“We adopted her, she adopted us,” Melissa added.

Both Michael and Melissa are now three years sober. Other of Garret’s friends are turning the corner too. A woman at the cemetery on the anniversary of his death announced she’d been sober several months. Deb’s reaction was priceless. She went straight for a hug.

“I’m so proud of you,” Deb whispered to her. “Garret’s helping, he’s pushing you.”

Those moments aren’t easy. She couldn’t save her own son. But Deb has no intention of giving up on the family she’s adopted.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” she admitted. “But if you can save one family from this horror, that’s what we’re going to do.”

That explains the backpacks, or blessing bags. The packs were donated by local organizations, and the foundation Deb set up in Garret’s honor, the Garret Bethke Foundation, buys the toothbrushes, lip balm, snacks and water inside.

The group that gathered at the cemetery caravanned to Veteran’s Park. Michael, Melissa and the others who had used with Garret showed Deb which spots would be best to leave her blessing bags.

“It’s pretty crucial to do stuff like this. This is really pretty amazing,” Michael said. “I’d have been happy as hell.”

“I would have been surprised that somebody actually cared, you know? I would have been thankful,” Melissa, who was homeless at one point, said.

This isn’t the conclusion of Deb’s lesson plan, though. She hopes to share her story with children in schools this winter. She also wants to train people on how to administer Narcan, a drug that can reverse an overdose.

“A lot of things need to change, and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Deb said. “But if we can just do this, just do these little kind things, it will help people, I believe.”

She believes addicts like Garret deserve better.

“There’s hope, and there’s help,” she said.

She has resources for families, friends, addicts and whoever may need the help on the Garret Bethke Foundation.com

Baihly Warfield
November 23, 2016 08:28 PM

Angel Warrior, Daris Patrick Fent

The heartbreak that Melissa Dye and her surviving children have endured because of Daris’ senseless death has created an unstoppable force. Melissa still struggles with the loss of her son, but she is also determined to try to save someone else’s child.

Daris Patrick Fent isn’t the stereotypical drug user.  ” I am a Marine, I am meant to save lives, be proud of that,” said Daris to his mother, Melissa Dye.  The best way to describe Daris in the early stages of addiction is that he was able to function when after his doctor in the Military prescribed him Oxycontin after a minor injury.  Daris was not just a  manly Marine; he was a sensitive musician too.  If Daris tried something he was good at it.  He was just that kind of young man.

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-6-44-42-pmNo one in his family, nor the Marines noticed any signs of drug use until the pain meds he was getting from the doctor stopped coming.  Daris like so many others felt he had no other choice but to move to heroin which is cheaper and more accessible than prescription medications.

It didn’t take long once heroin entered Daris’ life for the signs to start to show.  Melissa, Daris’ mom, came across test messages between Daris’ brother and his girlfriend where they talked about the time he spent in the bathroom and mentioned Daris falling asleep in the middle of a text message.   His mother didn’t have any proof but confronted him and said “I know you’re doing drugs,” he immediately broke down, begging for help.  Over and over he kept saying “I don’t know why I can’t stop, I just want my life back.” That night Melissa stayed up all night surfing the Internet, looking for rehabs and resources only to come up empty-handed.  Like so many parents she didn’t know where to turn.There was one facility with a bed for him, private pay only and I had no choice but to take out a private loan to try and save my son’s life.

Melissa found one facility with an available bed.  It was a private center that Melissa had to take a loan out to get Daris into the facility.  At Liberty Ranch, Daris was too close to home and all of his connections.  Daris began leaving the center and had a tough time dealing with the rules.  Melissa says she doesn’t blame the treatment center; she believes that a more faith-based program would have fit Daris better.  One of his regular reassurances to his mom about his condition was ” God will see me through this.” Daris had a strong faith and Melissa wishes she could have found a faith-based program for him.

When your child is using a substance like heroin you know that at any moment your entire life can change.  With fentanyl being added to heroin more often than not, parents are living their lives in agonizing fear of losing their child to this disease.  Melissa was no different.  On August 14th Melissa joined an ever-growing group of families that have lost one of their most precious gems to a drug overdose.  Daris had been doing very well.  He was working out at the gym when he made plans to meet his mom at his sister’s basketball game.  One of his old using buddies approached him at the gym and asked Daris to come hang out.  On their way to the friend’s house, they bought heroin.  It is estimated that Daris took his final dose of heroin around 10:30 am, at about 11 his “friend” called a friend and told them that Daris was unconscious.  Unfortunately, even after he was told to call 911 he waited, at 3:10 another call was placed to the friend at which time he admitted that he hadn’t called 911 and now he was talking about dumping Daris in a ditch somewhere.  After hearing this kid on the other end of the conversation called 911.  By then it was too late, Daris had suffered severe brain damage from lack of oxygen.  Thankfully Daris gave his mother the gift of three days where Melissa was able to cuddle up next to her son, breathe his scent and tell him how much everyone loved him.  Melissa held him looking at her beautiful son as he took his last breath.

 

The heartbreak that Melissa Dye and her surviving children have endured because of Daris’ senseless death has created an unstoppable force.  Melissa still struggles with the loss of her son, but she is also determined to try to save someone else’s child.  Project Daris, is a team made up of medical professionals that offer a FREE program to Kentucky and surrounding States schools. Melissa takes Project Daris into schools and provides drug education, K-12,  on the subject of current drugs that are being abused and misused.

Melissa’s team is determined to counter the glorified messages kids see and hear on social media. Daris’s story is told to the students, and they watch his memorial video.  Project Daris works with guest speakers which include people in recovery and parents that have also dealt with a child suffering from Substance Use Disorder. 

When asked what her main goal was Melissa was quick to say, “My primary purpose is to put drug education back into schools.  Drug education needs to be part of the curriculum; our children deserve to learn the life skills to avoid drugs. I believe this is where we can make the biggest impact.  We’ll never be able to keep the drugs or dealers off the street, but we can educate our children in the truths of drug use and abuse!”

I then asked Melissa what advice would she give families facing this situation in their children and she said, “I didn’t have the tools or knowledge to save my son, become educated! Don’t believe in tough love or rock bottom; the bottom was my son’s death.”

Recently, after visiting a school, Melissa got an email from the parent of one of the students that saw Melissa’s story at school.  This is what the email said:

Project Daris

Melissa:

I wanted to let you know that my son, who is a 14 yr old Freshman, was present in the assembly at Montgomery County High School when you spoke yesterday. He was very emotional telling me about your son’s life and his death. I am a drug counselor. We have people in our family who are in recovery, and have even lost many loved ones due to addiction including my mother-in-law in 2005, my best friend, who was like my brother and an uncle to my children; he died last year on my wedding anniversary, and my little sister lost her best friend only two months ago due to using heroin that had been laced with Carfentanil. We also come from a family of substantial military personnel including the Navy, Army, and United Stated Marine Corp., so there were many things about your life that struck home with my son. First, I want to offer to you my sincerest condolences for the loss of your child. Thank you for your child’s sacrifice for our country and our freedom, and thank you for your sacrifice as a military mom. I want to thank you mostly for sharing Daris’ story. Even though I try always to be very honest and real with him, my son was surprised by Daris’ age, talent, and Military service knowing that he died from an overdose. I know it can’t be easy to do this, but I want you to know that you made an impact on my son, and I am grateful for that. Tonight we sat together and listened to Daris sing songs on YouTube, and we cried together as we watched his memorial service. There are no words that I can say to relieve the pain of losing your child, and so I will not try to come up with any. I wanted only to thank you for taking the time to try to save other kids, MY CHILD, from the same desperation that I know Daris must have felt and that you must feel now. My heart breaks for you, but I am so grateful that you are using this as an opportunity to help heal our communities. Thank you, just doesn’t seem to be enough. Sincerely,

Mary Smith

Letters like this one are all the payment that someone like Melissa Dye needs to continue working nonstop to make sure that she does her best to keep any other mother from going through the nightmare that she and her family have endured.  Daris didn’t have to die.  If his “friend” would have just dialed 911 as soon as he noticed there was a problem, Daris would still be here.  Daris Patrick Fent was an all-American boy, who was talented, loving, intelligent and kind.  His life mattered the same way your child’s life matters.  Daris was right about one thing.  He was a Marine; he was meant to save lives, and his mother is very proud of that.

To learn more about Project Daris visit their Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/projectdaris/?fref=ts

If you would like to get Project Daris into your School go to their Facebook page and send Melissa Dye a message.  This is a free service.

Video Teen Takes Of Dad’s Heart Attack Goes Viral

Teen streams video of  Dad while he is having a heart attack on Facebook Live. The young man makes no apologies.  He says he wants the public to see what it’s like living in a home with a parent who doesn’t listen to doctors, continues to eat poorly, and refuses to exercise.  So when his father had yet another “episode” as he puts it,  Markus Adams decided to pick up his phone to record instead of dialing 911.

“You can hear his friends in the background making comments like ” eat another twinkie or bet you wish you exercised now.”  One of the teens in the house did call 911 after several minutes passed.”  

The first responder on the scene was a police officer who also decided to snap a few shots of the man who by this point had lost consciousness.   Once the EMT’s arrived on the scene, the patient was rushed to the hospital where he made a full recovery.

 

635953891626192623-popo-lights-jpeg
Enter a caption

 

The hospital released a statement saying: these overweight patients typically have Type 2 Diabetes as well as Heart Disease.  They have noticed that as soon these patients are stabilized they get up and leave the hospital.  An ER Doctor said the most concerning thing to him is that these overweight Diabetics with Heart Disease are stopping at the snack machines before they even make it out of the hospital.

Even after almost dying because of the choices they continue to make regarding nutrition, exercise, medication maintenance these food junkies make those same decisions.  These Junk Food Junkies practically run across the threshold of the hospital, so they can continue smoking after being told time and again that if they continue, they will die.

How do you feel about this story?  Is it right for anyone to record a medical emergency? What do you think about Police Officers taking photos of people that are in danger of dying instead of administering care and comfort at the very least until backup arrives?

We don’t see photos or stories like the one told above online or on our evening news because it’s wrong to exploit people who find themselves in a life or death situation due to a disease.   Unless of course, the person being photographed or videotaped suffers from Substance Use Disorder and is merely dying of an overdose.

When people make excuses for mistreatment of individuals with Substance Use Disorder one of their favorite arguments is the “it’s a choice.”  What about the person with Type 2 Diabetes that refuses to stop smoking, drinking, eating cake pops and who’s idea of exercise is walking to the fridge?

The hurtful words used in this article were only used to give an example of the harsh tones and words used when speaking about not only those who suffer from Substance Use Disorder but also when speaking to those who love someone with Substance Use Disorder.  It just goes to show that words hurt.

No matter what your opinion on Substance Use Disorder, it’s wrong to take photos and videos of people who are in need of medical care.  There is no doubt about that; wrong is wrong.

Note: The beginning of this story is fiction.  I also wish I didn’t need to use the awful terms I used to describe people who struggle with their weight but I felt it was necessary to drive home how individuals who have Substance Use Disorder are minimized and shamed in everyday conversation.  Please know I don’t use these terms and don’t think it is right to be mean to anyone.  

 

Property of Holy Addiction Inc @ www.holyaddiction.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

 

Family Loses Third Son To The Heroin Epidemic

Three beautiful young men, all from the same family are just gone. It’s not the leading story on the news and the comments below this story will include horrible judgment and hate. All because these wonderful young men have a disease that people have decided make them less than.

Losing one child to an overdose is devastating, imagine losing your third.  Jeanmarie McCauley is having to bury her third son, Jesse.  In the go fund me summary they wrote:

I can’t believe that I am having to do this again.  Jeanmarie McCauley is having to bury her third child, Jesse.  He was a big-hearted kid who was so lost after both of his brothers died. He went to Florida to try and get his life back.  Sadly, he did not make it.  I can’t imagine the pain she and the rest of the family are in.  She has to come up with the burial expenses as well as the added cost of bringing him back from Florida.   She wants to have the three brothers together in their final resting place.  We would be so grateful for any help. No mother should have to go through this.  She and her family appreciate all the love and support they have received.

If this story is not proof that our Country is in the midst of an epidemic, what more will it take?  It was only a few months ago that a mother that runs the page I HATE HEROIN, on Facebook lost two of her sons in the same night.  Both of these mothers are fighters that actively fight to spread the word about this epidemic in hopes that no other mother will have to endure the pain of  having a child who suffers from Substance Use Disorder, much less losing a one.

14925644_10210939258346798_8167911264551587935_n

When this happens to families that are knowledgeable about this illness and actively fighting it, it just goes to show how powerful it truly is.  So what does that mean?  It means that we as Mothers and Fathers cannot do this alone.  We need the full support of our police forces, judges, politicians, and communities.

When one of our loved ones gets picked up for possession or petty theft and it’s evident to the arresting officer that they are using opiates that person needs to be taken into custody. Not just for a few hours until they are let back out to wait for court.  The presiding judge needs to look over his podium and imagine it’s their  child standing in front of them. They need to recognize that this is their chance to possibly save a life.

Why can’t they be held until a bed somewhere can be found?  We know if they are released that the first thing they will do is whatever it takes to get high.  They can’t help it, it’s a disease.  So that means if they have to steal something out of your garage or sell their bodies they will make the money it takes to feed the disease that is doing everything in its power to kill them.  If the judge knew they were going to leave and commit suicide they wouldn’t let them go.  What is the difference?

The politicians need to pass laws that make it possible for judges and police officers to take advantage of these opportunities to save our loved one’s lives.  I know this is America and typically we allow adults to make mistakes and then learn on their own from them. This isn’t the same.  Many of these people won’t get the chance to learn from their mistakes, they don’t live long enough to.  Don’t you see, this isn’t like smoking pot, doing a line or having a drink?  You don’t have two, three or five years to screw up and decide that you want to get clean.  With the Fentanyl and now Carfentanil every single time they use might be their last.

15000006_10210938704172944_4691463102048334425_oThree beautiful young men, all from the same family are just gone.  It’s not the leading story on the news and the comments below this story will include horrible judgment and hate.  All because these beautiful young men have a disease that people have decided makes them less than.  I can promise you this. Those boys were loved, their lives mattered and their families feelings matter.  Please, take a stand.  If you love someone who suffers from Substance Use Disorder don’t be scared to speak out. You hold the keys, all of you.  If we all stand together and tell our stories we can stomp out this stigma and force the public to take notice.  Those of us who fight every day need you.  Together we can make a change.

Please give to the go fund me for this family and if you can’t afford to give you can surely share.

https://www.gofundme.com/jesse-mccauley-memorial-fund

Update: Thank you for your generous donations, please keep them coming for this family.  Because of all of you this mother might get to bring her son back home from Florida and allow him to rest beside the brothers he loved so much in life.   Every little bit helps.

JoJo Tears Up Over Late Father’s Addiction Battle: It ‘Broke’ My Family — But ‘I Just Couldn’t Give Up on Him’

“I knew my dad was struggling with narcotics when I was 11, 12,” the singer, 25, said in the moving clip, in which she reveals her father had to quit working and go on unemployment after becoming disabled

JoJo is sharing her family’s harrowing battle with addiction in hopes her story will save others from the same heartbreak.

The “F— Apologies” singer — who released her new triumphant new album Mad Love. last month — is participating in Vevo’s “Why I Vote” video series, in which celebrities including Kesha, John Legend and Andra Day discuss issues that have affected them personally and how seeking reform is driving them to the polls next Tuesday.

“I knew my dad was struggling with narcotics when I was 11, 12,” the singer, 25, said in the moving clip, in which she reveals her father had to quit working and go on unemployment after becoming disabled when she was a child. “After he stopped working is when he really got into narcotics. I never knew why he was out of it or why he would fall asleep at the wheel or why he would slur his words. I didn’t understand that, and my mom kept that from me because she didn’t want to upset me and she didn’t want me to look at him in a certain way, and I really respect that.”

JoJo has talked about her parents’ struggle with addiction over the past year, recently opening up to PEOPLE about her own drinking problem.
JOJO SPEAKS ABOUT HER DAD DYING OF ADDICTION
In the clip, she said her father’s dependency on narcotics put a strain on their relationship, and they were even estranged for times.

“I got a call when I was in L.A. that my dad had overdosed for the…I don’t know what number time it was and that he wasn’t gonna make it,” JoJo said, recalling a relapse in recent years that led to her to return to her native New Hampshire to visit him in the hospital.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-34-17-am

“He was hooked up to a bunch of machines, and he had fallen, and he was out of it; he didn’t know what was going on,” she said, getting emotional and tearing up in the clip. “Me and my aunts had discussed what we were gonna do this time: We were gonna practice tough love, and we were gonna cut him off because it was too much for us as a family to keep going through. But I looked at him and saw him hooked up to these machines, and I just couldn’t give up on him…that’s my one dad. I just couldn’t do it. In that moment, I felt, who am I to give up on you. I just decided that I was gonna love him, and I’m really glad I did.”

I missed you even while you were here. I will miss you infinitely more now that you’re gone. Thank you for holding on as long as you did. I know you tried your best. You are free now. I will love you always, Dad. I can feel you with me. Rest now. In PEACE. I miss your voice. I wish more people could have heard it. I promise I will keep singing for you. Joel
A year ago, JoJo announced that her father had succumbed to his demons and died at the age of 60, and today she’s speaking out to call for reform in how people struggling with addiction and drug abuse handled.

“I don’t feel that he had the resources or the tools available to him to help himself. I don’t want other families to be broken up and have their lives ruined as a result of addiction,” she added. “I really, really do think that there are ways to help. Throwing an addict in jail is not doing anything to help the problem…We’re wasting our money, we’re misusing our resources, and I think we’re hurting ourselves. It’s important to elect politicians who will make a difference with drug abuse and addiction because it’s affecting all of us.”

The singer added: “It’s hard, I guess, to have sympathy for a lot of drug addicts because we think that it’s their fault or they asked for it or something, but you do not ask to have your life shaken up that way and to have everything taken from you. That’s what addiction does: It strips everything from you…

“I see the way I lost my own father to addiction—and it makes me sad that people feel so distraught that they risk it all and end up losing everything.”

 

 

BY @NELSON_JEFF

http://people.com/music/jojo-why-i-vote-video-dads-addiction-broke-family/

I Only Care Because Heroin Is Killing White Kids

Over the past year anyone following the heroin epidemic has heard people making statements like, “The only reason the news is using the phrase epidemic with the word heroin is that white kids are dying, now.” or ” When we were in the midst of the Crack explosion in the 80’s the crimes committed by black addicts were given heftier sentences.  No one cared that they were addicts.”

It’s not about who is dying but the amount of people who are dying that make it an epidemic.  The definition of epidemic is:

ep·i·dem·ic
ˌepəˈdemik/
noun
  1. 1.
    a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

It’s absolutely true that we have been wrong in how our government and society has treated drug related crimes and addiction in general.

My heart breaks for the families that have suffered under the cruel drug sentences handed out in the name of the three strikes law.  Most that fell into the three strikes category were addicts.  Life in prison for drug charges is deplorable.  Knowing what we know now about addiction makes thinking of the treatment of individuals with Substance Use Disorder in the past cringe worthy.

In the 80’s when crack cocaine became huge in the urban black communities, we all failed. Just the word crack in a courtroom made the sentence longer.  The worst part is that those people were suffering from Substance Use Disorder and are no different than those who today use heroin because of the same disorder.  The families that had loved ones who were using crack were forced to face these things without, support, and suffocating stigma.

The problem is that they were villainized while today we are pushing for courts, police officers and doctors to soften their approach to drug related crime. Now we don’t even want people to use the word addict or addiction.  The term that should be used has even changed.

If we could travel back in time and stop “The War on Drugs” we would.  Unfortunately, we don’t have that option.  The good news is that we are waking up to the truth about addiction and slowly seeing a shift in the treatment of addicts.  Social Media has moved mountains in fighting the views of addiction.

It also doesn’t hurt the cause that people in high places have been forced to look at addiction in a different light.  People of all walks of life have been rocked by the Opioid Epidemic and maybe that is why things are changing. We must take the good with the bad. No matter what, the ideas of yesterday needed to be history.  Let’s all fight to ensure that the ideas of today and tomorrow are correct for all of our communities

Placing blame does not change the destruction that unethical drug laws, did in black communities.  It does, however, make people think of hate instead of change.  So if you hear someone making the argument that we only care now because white people are dying just explain to them that no, we care because the way it was handled in the past was wrong.  The only thing we can do now is to make sure it never happens again.  In order for us to fix the issues that have and will continue to hurt people of all races, is by working together.  So, let’s do it! Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to any community ever again.  After all, isn’t that the best that we can do anyway?

 

 

 

Carrie Fisher Faces Trial in Heroin-Related Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The actress’ attempt to be removed from a complicated suit over the death of a 21-year-old woman who lived in Fisher’s guest house is denied, as a judge rules she did not “meet her burden to establish that she cannot be found responsible.”

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has failed in her effort to escape a complex legal case over the fatal heroin overdose of a 21-year-old woman who lived in her guest house two months before her death.

A motion by Fisher to be removed from a wrongful-death lawsuit, which centers on the 2010 death of Amy Breliant, was denied Oct. 24 by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Laura A. Matz. The ruling, a copy of which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, means that Fisher will remain a defendant in the case alongside a physician, Stephen Marmer M.D., and Warren Boyd, who was overseeing the rehab network that Breliant was under the care of when she died.

“Fisher has failed to meet her burden to establish that she cannot be found responsible, as a matter of law, for the conduct of Boyd, a joint venture,” reads Matz’s order.

According to the original complaint, filed in 2013 by Breliant’s family, Fisher — the actress and writer known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise — allowed the guest house on her Los Angeles property to be used by Boyd, who maintained a network of sober-living homes. According to that court document, Breliant had been assigned in June 2010 to stay at Fisher’s home for “rehabilitation” purposes. In return for offering up her home, Fisher was paid “a share of Boyd’s profit or revenue, equal to cash payments of $10,000, weekly,” the complaint alleges. Those payments to Fisher, the original filing claims, are evidence that Fisher effectively was in a joint venture with Boyd.

The family’s court papers “would support a reasonable inference that defendant engaged in contact with respect to taking or obtaining funds or assisting in taking or obtaining funds from the dependent adult with intent to defraud,” Matz writes in the court order.

Fisher’s attorney Vicki Greco declined to comment on the ruling.

When reached for comment, Fisher offered the following statement: “I feel great compassion for any parent’s loss of their child in an untimely death. I have a daughter. To lose a child is an unimaginable tragedy and the grief must be devastating. Unfortunately, I am not able to talk about the details of this case because it is ongoing.”

The attorney for Breliant’s family, Stephen G. Larson, a partner at the firm Larson O’Brien, offered a comment as well. “We are very pleased with the court’s ruling and look forward to being able to hold those people that we believe are responsible for Amy’s tragic death at the trial in this matter,” said Larson. “As alleged in our complaint, Warren Boyd used Carrie Fisher’s celebrity status as one of the instruments by which he conducted his fraudulent drug rehabilitation practice that we believe led to Amy’s death.”

The case is officially known as Breliant v. Marmer, and the plaintiff is Amy’s mother, Gianna Breliant. Gianna Breliant alleges that when she sought help from Boyd for her daughter’s heroin addiction, she was subjected to costly, ineffective and ultimately illegal treatment by Boyd. Boyd has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

In September 2010, Breliant died of an overdose while housed at another sober-living home run by Boyd, according to the filings. At the time of Breliant’s death, the family asserts they had paid Boyd about $222,000 for a range of services they were told included writing and acting coaches.

According to his website, Boyd was a former addict who reinvented himself as an interventionist and rehabilitation expert. He was the inspiration for and co-executive producer of the A&E televisions series The Cleaner, which was about a recovering addict who turns to helping others, starring Benjamin Bratt.

The trial is expected to start in May.

SOURCE:

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 7.39.50 PM.png

2:36 PM PDT 10/28/2016 by Peter Kiefer 

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER