Delray Beach vigil held to support families torn apart by addiction

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

moms-supportDELRAY BEACH —

As darkness fell upon Veterans park, candles lit the night.

They were lit in honor Ian Mautner, whose suicide at the age of 20 in July, family members said, came after a long battle with drug addiction. They were lit in support of others still struggling with and in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. And they were lit for others who have died as a result of addictions.

A crowd of more than 100 gathered on Labor Day for a candlelight vigil. Among those attending were family and friends of Mautner.

“It’s means a lot to me that everybody’s come out,” Mautner’s mother, Linda, said of Monday night’s gathering. “It’s important for me to know that my son didn’t die in vain. This is his shot at saving many people’s lives that are in recovery. “

The candlelight vigil was organized by “The Addict’s Mom,” an organization dedicated to helping mothers of addicted children. It was one of a number of events being held in support of addicts and their families around the country, said Barbara Theodosiou of Davie, the organization’s founder.

“The mission statement for Addict’s Mom is sharing without shame,” Theodosiou said. “We’ve lived in silence for so long … Our message is that hiding is not going to change this epidemic. Our children are dying. So we’re asking moms to share without shame.”

Ian Mautner died on July 16 when, according to authorities, he drove to a bridge above Interstate 95 in Boynton Beach and then dove off the overpass.

Witnesses told police that Mautner parked his car, walked across the street, removed his sandals and dived off the 23rd Avenue overpass onto the highway’s southbound lanes.

While the medical examiner’s officer has not determined a cause of death, Linda Mautner said she believes an addiction to kratom led to Ian’s death.

“I know as his mother, he was addicted to kratom,” she said. “I know that he struggled with this addiction for over two-and-a-half years. I know that he lost everything from this addiction and I believe that it has to have some regulations on it.”

Ian’s death has sparked discussion among local and state leaders about finding ways to regulate the herb.

Kratom — a psychoactive herb said to be addictive because of opium-like effects — is regulated in many countries, but widely available in much of the United States. In Palm Beach County, gas stations sell packets of the ground-up herb and kava bars serve it in chilled tea drinks.

Palm Beach County commissioners said at their recent meeting they probably won’t try to pass a law banning kratom for local kava bars.

But commissioners said they will explore the possibility of regulating the plant’s sale and consumption. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who recently met with Linda Mautner, said she will be looking “very, very closely” at the herb.

Although there are no federal or Florida state laws making kratom illegal, it is on a DEA watch list because the agency says it can be addictive. It is banned by the Army and Navy. No deaths have been linked to kratom, according to the Florida Poison Control Center. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has not responded to any kratom-related calls in the last year, a spokesman said. Article Link…

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