Son's Death Sparks Change

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A man holding pills.

    A San Diego mother is using her tragedy to spur legislative change and save lives.

    On February 12, 2001, Francine Haight found her older son dead in his bedroom.

    "I'll never forget that day," she said.

    Son's Death Sparks Change

    [DGO] Son's Death Sparks Change
    A local mother is using her tragedy to spur legislative change and save lives.

    Haight would later learn it was due to a prescription drug overdose. 

    “He ordered vicodin and morphine and valium," she said.

    Haight is a registered nurse and says she feels some guilt for this death.

    "I'm supposed to save lives and I couldn't bring the most important person back," she said. "You know I never got to see him graduate from high school, I will never be at his wedding, I'll never be grandmother to his children."

    18-year-old Ryan Haight had been abusing prescription drugs he got through rogue online pharmacies.

    "Filled out an online questionaire… lied about his age… lied about being in an accident," his mother said.  “The drugs came to our door."

    For three to four years after her son's death, Haight was inconsolable. Then she learned something that surprised her.

    Statistics show that over a one-month period in 2008, more people abused prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. That information spurred her into action and she worked on a bill to stop the online drug dealers.

    Seven years after her son's death, it was signed into law.

    "It requires individuals or businesses to obtain a special registration from DEA to conduct that type of business," DEA special agent Gary Boggs said.

    The Ryan Haight act also requires names and addresses of the pharmacies associated with a website be accessible by consumers; The names and licensure of all the pharmacists in charge and doctors involved also be listed and the person trying to get the pharmaceuticals must have at least one in-person exam.

    Tougher penalties are also enforced under the Ryan Haight Act, including up to 20 years in prison for those who don't comply.