For Jennifer’s Legacy: Losing My Daughter To Addiction Pushed Me To Advocacy

Jennifer’s legacy is directly helping others who are struggling with addiction and preventing substance abuse with education.

jenn-addictionMy daughter, Jennifer Reynolds, died on January 15, 2009. She had just turned 29 years old.

Autopsy findings from Jennifer’s medical examiner reported that her manner of death was an accidental overdose. Her cause of death was multi-drug toxicity.

In our family, Jennifer has one older brother, Josh, a younger sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Nate. She was a great daughter, loving sister, and a wonderful friend to many.

Jennifer had lots of friends, was very active and loved swimming, roller-skating and church activities. In middle school, she was a cheerleader and played softball. She was outgoing, popular and had many friends.

After a routine physical for middle school, the doctor discovered Jen had scoliosis. This was a severe blow to her. She took this news very hard. She was entering her teen years, with an active life and all of this came to a halt with the discovery of her diagnosis of scoliosis. This disease required wearing a full body brace made of plastic 23 hours a day for over a year under her clothes. This was to keep her spine from further curving to a crippling state. She hated wearing this brace, looking different and being different from all of her friends.

She had to stop doing her normal hobbies and activities. Her friends’ lives were moving forward but Jen’s life had changed. Even with the orthopedic brace and closely monitored exams at Shriner’s hospital, Jen’s spine continued to curve at an alarming rate. She had to have a very serious surgery, a spinal fusion at age 12. She was in intensive care for three days.

She was put on IV morphine to manage her pain. This was her first opportunity to have opiate pain medication.  Jennifer continued into high school, an active person, involved in art, student government and cheerleading.

She was a compassionate daughter, sister and friend—always willing to help others and counsel her friends.

For some reason, (maybe peer pressure) Jennifer decided to hang with the “cool” crowd. She dumped her old friends and started hanging with the cool kids. Unknown to me, Jennifer started going to rave clubs, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. She then moved on to experimenting with drugs (prescription pills & heroin). She ended up addicted to those drugs. She battled her addiction for 13 years. Read more “the fix”…


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