For Raleigh Friends, Daily Xanax Became a Way of Life – and Eventually Death
Caleb Mehlman, a 19-year old from Raleigh NC, died of an overdose of Xanax and methadone while celebrating his birthday. His family had seen warning signs but didn’t realize the extent of his addiction to Xanax.
As reported by the News Observer, Mehlman was in ninth grade and hanging out at a friend’s house the first time he took Xanax. He and his buddies knew the dangers of hard drugs like heroin and crack, but these pills seemed harmless. A doctor could have prescribed them.
Taking Xanax then became a part of life for Mehlman, said Bryce Hoover, who knew him since elementary school.
“It was just kind of the whole scene you were in,” said Hoover, 19. “It’s what everybody around you did.”
Mehlman’s addiction to the drug became more intense when a friend died in July 2015 after overdosing on prescription pills. Hoover said he and Mehlman had been using Xanax and drinking alcohol a couple of times a week, but then it turned into “an everyday thing.”
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Mehlman was celebrating his 19th birthday in the early-morning hours of Dec. 19 when he and his friend died after overdosing on Xanax and methadone. They are among six students or recent graduates of Leesville Road High School in Raleigh who have died in the past three years of drug-related incidents.
The opioid epidemic has garnered much attention as the death toll from heroin and drugs like OxyContin has climbed. But some families say they are also facing a quieter but deadly crisis: Xanax and other benzodiazepines.
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To learn more about how a young man from Raleigh lost his life to Xanax, please visit the News Observer.