June 9, 2011

World Surfing Champ Died from Drug Abuse

Was just reading my local paper and saw that the autopsy report for Andy Irons has been made public.  He died back in November, was found dead in an airport hotel room before flying back to his home in Hawaii.  At first they said he had died from dengue fever, but unfortunately it was from "acute mixed drug ingestion".

I'm sharing this because of a letter the family wrote to the media:
As we are not doctors, we have no choice but to accept that two respected pathologists have come to different conclusions about a secondary contributing cause of death.
However, the family would like to address the findings of prescription and non-prescription drugs in Andy’s system. Andy was prescribed Xanax and Zolpidem (Ambien) to treat anxiety and occasional insomnia — a result of a bipolar disorder diagnosed by his family doctor at age 18. This is when Andy first began experiencing episodes of manic highs and depressive lows.
The family believes Andy was in some denial about the severity of his chemical imbalance and tended to blame his mood swings on himself and his own weaknesses, choosing to self-medicate with recreational drugs.
Members of his family, close friends, and an industry sponsor intervened over the years to help Andy get clean, but the effort to find balance in his life was certainly complicated by his chemical makeup.
As I read that so many things crossed my mind.  Was Andy or his family even aware of how dangerous his drug use had become?  Were they able to accept it as an addiction?  Did he ever try a drug treatment center?  Did the family reach out for support?  Did he have a good doctor or one that gave him whatever he asked for?  Was he using heroin or RX opiates?  And on and on.....

None of this matters now, but with every tragedy I hope someone out there can learn something that may help their loved one.  Bottom line, it sounds like Andy didn't want help or didn't think he needed it.  We as families can only do so much.  I hope his parents are okay, my heart goes out to them.  Andy is at peace now.   :(

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara


beachteacher said...

I understand your questions...ya got to wonder. Steve's(my husband's) cousin was good friends with Andy. He wrote something on his facebook post about this yesterday.
I'll send it to you.

Tabitha.Montgomery said...

The last paragraph there states they did try to intervene.But you're right,sometimes there isn't anything any of us can do for someone else.
This is a topic I write about frequently in my work because it helps me to accept the ones I've lost.As well as offer hope to others who have suffered that same heartache - Powerful post here.

Thank you for posting this Barbara.

Tori said...

I had heard that the the family did try to intervene many times as well. I often think God forbid B dies from addiction can I really just believe he is a peace? I hope I will never find out. When I hear of another Parent losing their child to addiction I know it is a reality for everyone of us. But the first thing I always think, is the Addict is now at Peace. I just wish peace would be recovery not Death.

Anonymous Mom said...

Even when the family does all it can, there are no guarantees.

People die like Andy did all the time, but we don't hear about it. CAN YOU IMAGINE IF EVERY SINGLE DRUG DEATH WAS PUT ON THE FRONT PAGE OF EVERY SINGLE PAPER? Maybe that would get the attention of someone who could do something to stop heroin from being allowed into our country.

I know, that's only part of the problem. But its a big part.

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