LEWIS — New York State Police say a Lewis teen who died in December took an overdose of prescription drugs.
Police recently completed the investigation into 16-year-old Ashley M. Grady's cause of death, according to a Jan. 11 press release. Following the discovery of Grady not breathing Dec. 21 and unsuccessful attempts by emergency responders at her home to revive her, an autopsy was performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Toxicology reports have determined that the cause of death was respiratory arrest due to oxymorphone overdose. Oxymorphone is a time-released opiate used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
The manner of death has been ruled accidental. State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. Brent Davison said because of the prescription time release and the high levels of the drug in Grady’s system she may not have felt the desired effects of the drug right away and took more than necessary.
“This drug is strong enough being time released,” Davison said. “Levels found in her system were very high, multiple times higher than therapeutic levels.”
Police investigation determined the narcotics found in Grady’s system were prescribed to another household member.
The autopsy and toxicology tests were performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga.
Prescription drug abuse is a problem growing more prevalent each year. Davison said at the Ray Brook Troop, they have seen over 10 accidental deaths caused by prescription overdose in the last two years.
“This tragic incident reminds us of this tragic problem,” Davison said.
Any one prescribed medications is urged to keep it stored and inaccessible to members of the household. Those prescribed oxymorphone are told not to tell anyone they have the medication in their possession, he said.
“Unlike heroin, crack or marijuana, these pain killers and other drugs are right in our homes,” Davison said.
These powerful pain killers should be kept locked up, he noted.
Prescription drugs should only be taken under the direct order of a physician. Davison said these drugs are designed for people who need them and any use without consultation from a physician can have terrible consequences.
Essex County 911 received a rescue call at 6:24 a.m. on On Dec. 21, to 618 Fox Run Road in the town of Lewis for an unresponsive female. Grady was discovered not breathing in her bedroom by her sister and 911 was contacted. Elizabethtown-Lewis Rescue Squad and State Police responded but life saving measures were unsuccessful. Grady was pronounced deceased at the scene by Essex County Coroner Kelly Valentine who authorized her removal to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Grady was a sophomore at Lewis Elizabethtown High School. She had just celebrated her 16th birthday at the time of her death.
She played soccer and basketball and will be remembered by friends for her high energy laugh and welcoming attitude.
ELCS Superintendent Gail Else and Principal Jennifer Bull released a joint statement after her death which read as follows:
“Ashley was a well liked student and athlete who participated in both soccer and basketball. She will be deeply missed by her ELCS family.”