Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
On Saturday, Deer Park, Texas, police were conducting a welfare check at Ashley Auzenne’s home after a concerned family member had called them the night before. Auzenne was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Next to her lifeless body lay her children, 11-year-old Parrish, 9-year-old Elanor, and 7-year-old Lincoln, according to the local news station. It was reported as an “apparent” triple murder-suicide. Police have not officially called it a murder-suicide.
Auzenne, a 39-year-old mother of three was an avid, vocal supporter of strict gun control. Her profile pic on facebook sported hashtags of #Enough and #EndGunViolence. She was an activist for Mike Bloomberg’s $25M push-and-shove in 2018 to advocate public safety under the guise of destroying our Second Amendment…which failed miserably.
Diagnosed with debilitating arthritis and lupus, Auzenne had battled depression and anxiety for years, according to the report. There are few effective treatments for at least 3 million Americans who live with her type of nerve damage, neuropathic pain. The crippling symptoms are tingling, prickling, shooting, stabbing, burning, and even a sensation akin to electric shock in affected areas.
Since 2003 for its pain relief, doctors and neurologists have been prescribing highly addictive opioids — like candy.
According to the government’s Health and Human Services HHS website, from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from drug overdoses. In 2017 alone, more than 70,000 people have had fatal overdoses of which 68 percent involved prescription opioids. That’s 130 deaths every day. Last year, 2018, 10 million Americans were misusing prescription opioids. And during a 12-month period from February 2018 to February 2019, there were over 32,000 deaths due to synthetic opioids. Because opioids are often prescribed for pain management after surgeries, there have also been many horror stories of patients who unwittingly became addicted.
Opioid addiction experts are in wide agreement on the most effective way to help addicts: Medication-assisted treatment. But most inpatient rehab facilities in the U.S. don’t offer this option. So, over time, Auzenne had become severely mentally and physically ill due to her pain and prescription meds. A recent, contentious divorce from her husband, Murvin Auzenne, Jr. sent her into a dangerous tailspin, according to the report.
Those in the community who knew the Auzenne’s were shocked. “I’m upset,” said one insensitive neighbor. “Children?…It makes me angry that someone would take it out on children.”
“It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger, it’s the people,” were President Trump’s words in answer to the more public displays of mental illness like the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people and injured 50 others in less than 24 hours.
Most conservatives will agree with him. Our Second Amendment rights are what protect us, protect the public safety, right? In 2008, the Supreme Court agreed in the District of Columbia v Heller case in which the late, renowned Antonin Scalia reaffirmed Americans’ right to bear arms.
As of October 21, 2019, the Trump Administration has made quick, sweeping strides to assuage the indiscriminate distribution of opioids by manufacturers and distributors:
- Four drug companies reached a last-minute, late-night $260M legal settlement over their role in the opioid addiction epidemic, just before a nine-week trial was scheduled to start.
- Drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, and drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical litigated an $18 billion settlement for more than 2,000 other lawsuits filed by states, counties and cities.
- A new trial date is being scheduled for a fifth defendant, pharmacy chain operator Walgreens Boots Alliance.
But what about the doctors, the neurologists, the hospitals? Big Pharma has been courting them for decades to try their newly approved FDA meds. Tempting them with generous remunerations to try their wares just tested out of their labs. The millions that are spent to entice the medical community are staggering. Dollars for Docs shows us who the largest offenders are. Have a look.
In Deer Park, Ashley Auzenne will long be remembered, not only by those who knew her but by Americans who are trying to find an answer to rid our society of drugs and violence. And to help those who are victimized by this affliction.
Auzenne may have wanted to take the right of self-defense away from law-abiding Americans, but what she really needed was to keep the gun away from herself. Ultimately, she was the real threat to her own safety.
Tanya Hazelton is a former small business owner with a wide range of interests. With a BA in English-Creative Writing, MA in Fine Arts, PhD in Counseling and an AFI screenwriting certificate, she's a published author of supplementary readers in the public schools. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. She is pleased to join BizPacReview as a columnist. Visit her author's website at www.eagle7haz.wix.com/mysite