Mark Bauer, 18, Prescription Drugs

Last Updated: Thursday, April 6, 2017

As told by his father, Phil Bauer

Since the death of my youngest son, Mark, I have asked myself so many questions over and over again. What if I had talked to Mark more about the dangers of drugs? Or spent more time learning about what kids were doing at the time? If I hadn’t missed the signs of an addiction problem, would Mark still be alive?

There were a few occasions during Mark’s teen years when we found marijuana in his room. We also knew that he occasionally drank beer. With each situation, I talked with Mark about the stupidity of smoking pot, or drinking beer at his age, and then assigned some form of punishment. Although I worried about these activities, I never saw this as a life threatening behavior. In no way did I believe that Mark had an addiction problem.

In the spring of his senior year, Mark seemed to have turned his life around. He was just completing high school and was looking forward to the future. Teachers and counselors at his school all spoke highly of him and how he seemed to be maturing. There had been no recent incidences of “pot smoking” or “beer drinking”.

On a Thursday in late May, Mark went to school, played basketball against the faculty and staff, and then went to work that evening. It was truly a good day for him. He was looking forward to a camping trip to Shenandoah National Park in a few days, and to his pending graduation the following week.

The next day, Friday, Mark never woke up. He died from a mix of prescription drugs. The autopsy revealed high levels of oxycodone, morphine, acetaminophen and amphetamines in his body. I never knew that Mark was using prescription drugs, and I don’t recall ever talking with him about the dangers.

Unfortunately, the problem with trying to predict the past is that there is no conclusion. We can’t go back and change what has already happened and there are no “do-overs”. Mark’s life here on earth is over—his story complete—and there is nothing I can do to change that. My hope is that this will serve as a “second chance” for others, and perhaps help them avoid the need to someday “predict the past” about their own children.


Read more True Stories about the consequences of drug use among young people.

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