Teenage heroin death. Message from a parent: Matt's Memo
Adam Frank danced at his Junior Prom. The next night he laughed with his family watching some silly Prom videos goofing around with friends at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. He was two days short of his 17th birthday. "He was watching television with my wife. Went to bed," said his father Mark Frank. "His last words were I love you."
Adam then took a deadly dose of heroin and Fentanyl. He was alone. His friends later told his parents that Adam planned to give up drugs once he turned 17. In May of 2016 he had already survived a near fatal overdose. That one occurred on Valentine's Day just three months before. On that day, his father found him just in time. "He was on his bed, not moving, not responding to my questions," said Mark Frank. "We immediately called 911. That evening they were able to save him. They used Narcan that night."
The February overdose led to two days in the hospital. Then many weeks of therapy. His parents said they kept him on a short leash. They drove him to school and picked him up. He resumed working at his job at Wegmans. The Franks reached out to rehab centers but did not connect. They thought he was on the right track. They thought they had time to keep working on the problem.
"To think that your child is going to die that's for other people. That's not for you." Mark Frank said, "to think you're now a part of that community. There are days where I still think how the heck did that happen. It's not feeling sorry for yourself. Although that happens too. It's like how did this happen to us. This happens to other people ."
Mark Frank said he thinks Adam would have enjoyed being a movie reviewer. He loved super heroes. He had a knack for reaching out to the person who needed a friend. The family received a touching letter from a high school cafeteria worker who appreciated the way Adam would talk with her when others did not. Mark misses Adam's baritone teenage voice saying hello as he walked through the door. He misses the questions he would raise during a vigorous family discussion during dinner.
Mark Frank now occasionally speaks at public forums about the Opiod crisis. He wants families to know the potentially deadly outcome of the addiction to Opiods.
"These things happen to good kids and good families," stated Frank. "So don't think you're above it. It's happening out there right now as we speak."