Sad News about The Disabled Mom Whose School Made Her Get Out of the Car to Pick Up Her Daughter

Whenever I got an email from Alisha in Arizona, I knew I was in for an outrage — and often a laugh. Most recently she wrote the post, “I Must Get Out of the Car to Pick Up My 8-year-old and I am Disabled.” Though her child was perfectly capable of walking out to the car, the teacher insisted Alisha come fetch her, despite the fact that for Alisha this was a physical ordeal.

It was also the same feisty, fed-up, Free-Range Alisha who sent us “What Happens When You Set Off the TSA Groin Alarm” — which the metal in her body did.

And Alisha found this story, too, about two high school girls who were approached by a young man who said he was from the local community college and wanted to interview them. A city council member, hearing of this, announced that, “It might be a broader issue, though also, some guy putting the young girls in jeopardy as to being trafficked.”

As Alisha noted:

In one fell swoop we go from someone asking to interview a teenage girl for a college project to human trafficking! I’m not saying that the guy wasn’t a creep but really what’s more likely, a college age guy doing some social study who awkwardly tries to interview a couple pretty girls or some sicko trying to grab a girl and sell her into sexual slavery?”

I am going to miss that deep sense of justice and irony, because her mom just emailed me to say that Alisha died a few days ago, at 37, from complications of her issues.

One complication that has me going crazy is that, for her pain, Alisha was on some heavy medication. But our prescription drug laws are now so weighted to prevent abuse that often they hurt the people who really need relief from bodily torment.

Case in point: Alisha couldn’t always get her meds on time. I’m unclear on the details, but it seems that she would need to get a new prescription each month. Then, when she (with difficulty) took it to the pharmacy, it sometimes took them another two days to fill it. So, in the end, thanks to an inability to get her medicine ahead of time, Alisha went through several days of withdrawal, which most likely contributed to the seizure which seems to have felled her.

I understand America has an opioid problem. But once again, it seems that worst-first thinking — treating ALL people as if they are drug abusers — seems to have led to a tragedy. There’s got to be a way to prevent the abuse of drugs without torturing the people in chronic pain.

Rest in Peace, Alisha. I never met you, but I will miss you. – L

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Alisha fought the fight against worst-first thinking, bureaucracy and media craziness.

Alisha fought the fight against worst-first thinking, cruel bureaucracy and cultural craziness.

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50 Responses to Sad News about The Disabled Mom Whose School Made Her Get Out of the Car to Pick Up Her Daughter

  1. Marie October 13, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Awful news, Lenore. I am sad for our loss but, oh, what an unfathomable loss for her little girl.

  2. Vicki October 13, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    That is sad news. I’m especially sorry for her young daughter losing her mom. It sounds like Alisha was always ready to fight the good fight.

  3. Scott October 13, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    Rest in peace Alisha.

  4. Myriam Francoeur October 13, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    I hope that the teacher feels a little more compassion to the hardship of others now. My toughts are with Alisha’s family, especially her daughter…

  5. Anna October 13, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    How sad – prayers and good wishes to her family.

    And yes, that can definitely happen with such prescriptions – cancer in the family, so we’ve experienced that. Because Schedule II and III prescriptions can only be issued in person in hard copy and for no more than 30 days, once you throw a holiday weekend in there when the doctor’s office is closed and a less-than-everyday dosage that the pharmacy has to order in, it becomes more likely than not that you’re going to run out sometimes.

    The irritating thing is that these rules don’t seem likely (as far as I can see) to effectively prevent abuse. Much more helpful would be FDA rules requiring honesty from drug manufacturers about, for instance, how long oxycontin or fentanyl are actually effective – lies about this have contributed hugely to opioid addiction. Also, in my opinion, the FDA should force the drug companies to put significant research into developing reliable, standard protocols for weaning patients off these drugs. How can you be permitted to market a known addictive substance without also providing help for people to get off it when it’s no longer needed?

    But no, we’d rather make the patient jump through all kinds of hoops so we can feel like we’re doing something, however useless it is – it’s a lot like TSA security theater, now I think about it.

  6. Lindsay October 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    We also deal with the same issue with prescriptions. We thought it was just a problem affecting my husband, but now I’m realizing it is an issue for many. My husband takes a pill every morning, and when he can’t get it filled until the day that it is gone, he can’t take it in the morning. He goes to work at 6 am, the pharmacy doesn’t open until about 9 and then he has to go all day without it. When he tries to bring up the issue, they make him feel like a criminal and get very defensive. And if we are traveling when the refill date comes, forget about it. You can’t get it a week ahead of time so you have it.

    It is regrettable that in this situation it went from annoying and inconvenient to life-threatening.

    We often take one small non-issue and turn it into a big deal, as evidenced many times on this blog with parenting and safety issues.

    Can we get it to work in reverse? Can her death, potentially caused or influenced by pharmaceutical drug refill laws, change those laws to be more flexible?

  7. Anna October 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    “Can we get it to work in reverse? Can her death, potentially caused or influenced by pharmaceutical drug refill laws, change those laws to be more flexible?”

    Sadly, not likely. That’s the trouble with regulations and regulatory creep generally: typically, the problems they are originally intended to address are dramatic and acute (e.g., a nice upstanding college kid becoming a heroin addict by way of pain-killers prescribed after routine surgery), whereas the harmful unintended consequences are much more diffuse (e.g., millions of people experiencing monthly difficulty or even periodic withdrawal). The latter just doesn’t arouse the political will to do something the way the former does; plus legislators are afraid of being labelled indifferent to the addiction crisis or soft on drugs.

  8. Librarymomma October 13, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend, and also sad that the world has lost the voice of such a wonderful champion of free-range parenting.

  9. Leslie October 13, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    Agree. Rest in peace, Alisha.

  10. Shawn D. October 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Sad, indeed. Thank you for passing on the news of her passing.

  11. Elisabeth October 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    That is such sad news for all of us but absolutely tragic for her daughter. I hope she will grow up knowing that her mom was a fighter and had a strong eye and ear for identifying the irrational injustices of our society done in the name of “keeping us safe.”

    My kid takes a medication that apparently has potential for some abuse and we are learning a bit about the razor’s edge it takes to get this prescription filled. We can only get the prescription filled every 30 days for 30 tabs. there are no refills allowed on the prescription and they only allow a handwritten, hard copy prescription. Can’t be called in and technically the scrips are not supposed to be written in advance.

    Yesterday, we dropped one of the pills under the stove. It needs must be recovered, though, unless we are willing to let our kid go a day without. I don’t know about you, but there is NOTHING i ever want to put in my mouth after it’s lived even 3 seconds under my stove.

    Not to mention, I don’t think we can ever go on vacation during a refill time because they won’t honor the prescription outside of the state.

  12. marie October 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    The irritating thing is that these rules don’t seem likely (as far as I can see) to effectively prevent abuse.

    Rules like these are probably more likely to promote use of illegal substances. When the legal drugs are too hard to get, the illegal ones are easily available.

  13. Jess October 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    @Marie, that is what they’re finding, especially here in Utah. When people do get addicted and then are cut off, a lot of them turn to heroin. One case I read of recently, the woman who was addicted to painkillers od’d the first time she did heroin. There’s a campaign on to make the drugs that help with withdrawal more readily available. It’s a sad and sorry state of affairs, that’s for sure.

  14. Renee Anne October 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    Well shit. Sorry, I don’t mean to curse but, really, that’s what needs to be said. And that’s awful for everyone involved. I’m going to be 37 in just a few months and the thought of either of my boys growing up without me scares me.

  15. James Pollock October 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    The following is offered SOLELY because people have come to expect a contrarian response from me:

    Perhaps it is not sad. Perhaps this poor woman has gone to a better place, no longer cursed with the limitations of a physical body.

  16. James Pollock October 13, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    The interesting thing about opioid dependency is the way it is handled. A person who has a dependency needs the drug or they get sick. But we expect them to “kick the habit”. Yet, nobody expects, say, diabetics to kick their insulin dependency…

  17. EricS October 13, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Yes. I still prefer Canadian universal med care, than anything the U.S. has to offer. I also prefer how, despite that “worse case first thinking” is across the world, in Canada it’s less of an issue. Meaning, there are more reasonable and logical thinking Canadians than Americans.

    I was riding around on my motorcycle on my day off, and was pleasantly surprised to see more kids this year walking to school on their own. From the looks of it, they were between 9-13 years old. Brought me back to the good ol, sane days.

    My condolences to Alisha’s family and friends. I hope she passed not stressing, that in spite of the ignorance she was met with regarding her children, that her children will be ok. So long as her way of parenting continues.

  18. Suzanne Lucas October 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    Rest in peace, Alisha. And prayers for her daughter and those who loved her.

  19. EricS October 13, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    In regards to prescription drugs, I’m a firm believer that they are meant to be addictive. When some pills are worth $30 EACH, it’s in the best interest of the drug dealers…I mean pharmaceutical companies, to keep their clients hooked. So they can keep making billions. It’s been known for decades, by medical and scientific circles, of the medical benefits of cannabis. But it was the pharma giants that influenced the government to make marijuana in the same category as LSD, coke, and heroin (that’s like saying a Pug is in the same category as a Pitbull in terms of “dangerous” breeds). And in a category higher than methadone, oxy, and percocet (all of which are highly addictive). Go figure.

    And now that marijuana is starting to be accepted in the medical field as a viable alternative to pain killers, and anti-inflammatories, the pharma giants are looking to cash in. They are now trying to SYNTHESIZE the plant in a pill form. It’s all about the Benjamins. From child care to healthcare.

  20. Avin October 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    So sorry to hear about Alisha and the difficulties she faced head on. Wishing her family well during this trying time.

    @EricS – I completely agree and it’s yet another reason why I personally feel that Kratom should be kept legal and MJ decriminalized as well.

  21. Bridget October 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    I am sure she wrote an article about this issue a few years back. I remember the article, but not 100% it was Alisha. At one point a pharmacy worker said something loud enough for Alisha and everyone else to hear about her being a drug seeker. Anyone else remember that. It was a powerful piece.

  22. Steve N October 13, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Very sad news.

    This is probably a little mean of me, but. . . . I hope the teacher who wanted Alisha to come fetch her young child feels like crap right now.

  23. Theresa October 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    This is why I’m sure mj should be 100% legal. So that people like this lady won’t have suffer from I know best even when I don’t.

  24. Dee October 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    Have to agree. Feel the same way about ADHD meds. Other parents like to demonize parents who give them to their kids for serious attention issues that make school unbearable for them. There was another article just this week going on about Generation Adderall, when the protagonist/writer was actually someone who used the drugs illegally. Just because someone uses drugs illegally doesn’t mean no one who uses them lawfully doesn’t need them.

  25. Yocheved October 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    The longer I live in Israel, the more I love this place. Once I miscounted my meds and ran out, and the doctor’s office was closed for a 3 day holiday. Because the pharmacist recognized me, he gave me enough pills for 5 days, without any written prescription at all. You MUST have a physical printout from your doctor to get a refill, but he bent the rules all the same. It’s nice to know that there are some corners of the world where common sense still exists.

    Oh, and the pharmacist isn’t Jewish, he’s a Lebanese Christian – so you can’t even say that it’s “just a Jewish thing.”

  26. Dean October 13, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    Condolence for the little girl, and other family members.
    I had power of attorney for a young woman in California whose neurosurgeon determined that she needed a certain medication, and unless something better or a new surgical technique came along, she’d need it for the rest of her life (she had gone through so many surgeries that her hospital records stood four feet high). That doctor and I, together with a friendly pharmacist, spent a lot of time on conference calls to a non-medical bureaucrat in Sacramento who repeatedly halted her prescriptions. Thankfully, enough pressure was placed on the desk-jockey that these calls are no longer necessary, but she now must pay part of the medicine cost out of her recently reduced disability income.

  27. Backroads October 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with her family.

  28. chris w October 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    EricS- Opiates have been around and used for pain control for thousands of years. The addictive properties of opiates were not developed and refined by the drug companies.. You can get addicted by smoking opium, which is the sap of the strain of poppy that heroin is derived from.

    I’m no fan of drug companies, but you’re way off base here.

  29. SanityAnyone? October 13, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    I wish peace to Allisha’s grieving family.

  30. Andrea Drummond October 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    Sending up prayers to her and her family.

  31. Lori October 13, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    Such sad, sad news. I hate it when we lose one of the good ones! Alisha seemed like a great mother and a great advocate for sanity. And what a heartbreaking way to lose her.

  32. Jessica October 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    First of all, I’m very sorry to hear about Alisha, thanks for sharing it so we could all keep her family in our thoughts.

    I wanted to reply to the person who said:

    “The interesting thing about opioid dependency is the way it is handled. A person who has a dependency needs the drug or they get sick. But we expect them to “kick the habit”. Yet, nobody expects, say, diabetics to kick their insulin dependency…”

    The difference is an insulin dependency does not have the same ability to ruin lives. I expect prescription drug addicts to seek help and stop being addicts because addicts ruin their own lives and the lives of people around them. Drug addicts hurt the people around them because of their addiction, something that we have the ability to stop. A diabetic does not hurt anyone by using their insulin, in fact the exact opposite.

    Once the addict stops using the drug, they no longer “need it or they get sick”, they are in fact no longer sick. A diabetic needs their insulin or they die. Drug addiction rarely gets to the point where someone would die from withdrawl and even that can be managed and then it’s over.

    My mother is a prescription drug addict. She didn’t need to fill prescriptions a day early to get her drugs, she stole them from hospitals she worked at, she bought and sold them in a group of other addicts, and she ended up ruining her life.

    So yes, I expect people like that to stop doing it, because it’s very clearly harmful. People who need those medications to survive should not be treated like criminals, especially while people who are putting their children’s lives in danger and driving under the influence of prescription drugs used recreationally are getting away with it.

  33. C. S. P. Schofield October 13, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

    We have been fighting the ‘War on Drugs’ for decades – almost a century – and if there was a significant period of time in there when it was not possible to get pretty much any popular drug in any city in the land, I haven’t heard of it.

    It’s time we freaking gave up.

    We waste billions of dollars on this tripe. Being jailed for using drugs effectively makes it impossible for an addict to turn his life around … assuming it needs turning around. And the horrible fear that somebody somewhere is misusing prescription pain meds keeps people who are actually in serious pain in misery. This is barbarous.

    I don’t use drugs, though I have tried one or two. Not superior, mind, I just didn’t much like what I tried. But it’s time to legalize the lot and tell the government that what people choose to drunk, smoke, inject, snort, or otherwise consume is none of the State’s goddamned business.

  34. Dave October 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    I can personally relate to Alisha’s difficulties getting her pain medications. A young friend of mine is crippled by excruciating pain from a fused spine, the result of Spina Bifada. Without pain medication (Morphine) he would need to remain bedridden, unable to get up for any reason, even to go to the bathroom.

    One day, he went to the hospital, only a block from his home, to renew his prescription. That part was easy – he’d done it many times. However, on the way home the prescription slipped out of his pocket and was lost. He called the hospital and was coldly informed by the nurse that he’d have to wait 30 days before getting a new one.

    Clearly, this wasn’t good, and he was in a panic. I put him in touch with the hospital’s ombudsman, and the very next day he had his prescription. What bothers me is that hospital staff (at a Catholic hospital) would knowingly deny pain care to someone they know depends on it to be able to function just to avoid doing extra paperwork (which is all this turned out to be about.)

  35. Edward Hafner October 14, 2016 at 12:21 am #

    I’m certain we all hope and pray Alisha’s young daughter will have a safe future under the guardianship of her relatives.
    But that future will still be filled with much of the craziness Alisha railed about in her posts.
    Many moons ago in another post I have forgotten, I pledged $500.00 to anyone who could come up with a way to promote the Free Range Kids philosophy to kids in their schools. A few emails were exchanged but nothing much came of them.
    Just now I remembered the “DONATE” button on this sites banner. In Memory of Alisha and because I know (and I’m sure Alisha knew) Lenore will put it to good use, I donated that money to FRK.
    Peace to Alisha and sympathy to her family.

  36. sexhysteria October 14, 2016 at 2:32 am #

    I feel so sorry for the child. I hope she will be well cared for and eventually overcome the tragedy.

  37. James Pollock October 14, 2016 at 5:58 am #

    “The difference is an insulin dependency does not have the same ability to ruin lives.”

    Really? Tell an insulin-dependent diabetic that they can’t have any more insulin because they’re ruining their life with their dependency, and see just how desperate to get it they’ll become. Will they lie? Will they steal? Or will they just say “yeah, it’s been a good life” and roll over to die?

    The difference is in the actions and reactions of other people. A person says “I need insulin” and other people go “yeah”. A person says “I need (opioid) and people suddenly get moralistic. No, they say. You can’t have it because you might become addicted. True enough, in the beginning. But after they’re addicted… just stopping stops being an option.

    Heck, you should see a doctor about that oxygen dependency you’ve developed. No help for your breathing difficulty until you kick the habit, though…

  38. Art October 14, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    What a crappy way to start this day. I”m so sorry. My condolences to the family.

    Stupid misguided politicians who set laws like this up need to strung up.

  39. Rebecc October 14, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    May her memory be for a blessing.

  40. Caiti October 14, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear about Alisha, especially tragic that it sounds like it would have been prevented but for another crazy, “well-intentioned” law that only has support because people believe it will SAVE lives.

    For the first time ever, @James Pollock and I are in complete agreement. Thanks for responding to the diabetes argument with exactly what I wanted to say.

  41. Louise Foerster October 14, 2016 at 8:25 am #

    I am so sorry to learn that Alisha is no longer with us to shine a bright light on cruel stupidity committed in the name of being safe. Her fiery spirit and big heart made the world better for all of us — and her loss will be sorely felt. My condolences to her family.

  42. Donna October 14, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    “A person who has a dependency needs the drug or they get sick. But we expect them to “kick the habit”. Yet, nobody expects, say, diabetics to kick their insulin dependency…”

    Many diabetics absolutely are expected to “kick their insulin dependency.” Every type 2 diabetic that I have ever known is consistently encouraged to lose weight, change their diet and exercise so that they no longer are dependent on insulin.

    Further, it is a ridiculous comparison. There are many ways that drug addiction can be compared to diabetes, but this is not one of them. Taking a drug that you don’t need for any medical reason other than you have created for yourself a physical dependency on said drug is not the same as relying on a drug to keep you alive as a result of suffering from separate medical issue. We should not view drug addiction punitively and criminally as society currently does, but we should not shift to “oh well, you will get sick if you stop taking this drug that has absolutely no medical use for you whatsoever outside of your addiction to it so we are now going to view it as perfectly acceptable life-saving medical care akin to insulin for diabetics.”

  43. James Pollock October 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    “Further, it is a ridiculous comparison. There are many ways that drug addiction can be compared to diabetes, but this is not one of them. Taking a drug that you don’t need for any medical reason other than you have created for yourself a physical dependency on said drug is not the same as relying on a drug to keep you alive as a result of suffering from separate medical issue.”

    You make this claim, and assume it’s true. My original point was that people assume this claim is true.
    The point is that at the point they’re already an addict, the addict is no longer taking a drug they don’t need. They’re taking medicine that prevents the symptoms of withdrawal at that point. That’s a “medical reason”. Yes, many, if not most, opioid addicts got that way by using drugs recreationally. Some, however, did not… the were prescribed, and the patient developed a tolerance/addiction while under medical supervision.

    If that comparison bothers you, consider the number of caffeine addicts out there. The withdrawal symptoms from caffeine dependency are less severe than those of opioids, but they are not pleasant to endure. Other than that, however, you have the same issue… drug, ingested by choice and not for a medical purpose, dependency. Yet… we don’t expect caffeine addicts to kick their habits before they can receive medical treatment. Coffee is served right there in the hospital. Caffiene-infused beverates are available, in vending machines… that’s right, the hospital actually PROFITS from servicing these addicts’ addictions. Some hospitals, including the one I currently work in, have coffee stands on the premises, again, allowing the hospital to benefit from servicing the addictions of people (including staff!) who are caffeine-dependent.

  44. James Pollock October 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Also…

    “Many diabetics absolutely are expected to ‘kick their insulin dependency.’”

    Not quite true… these diabetics are expected to cut back their insulin needs to fall more closely within what their body can still produce. They remain insulin-dependent… it’s just that their need for external supplementation that is curtailed. As I understand it, though, this is a temporary respite, as their natural production will continue to fall and, if they survive long enough, external supplementation will eventually be required again.

    To fit the analogy, this would be like telling an opioid addict that they have to go X amount of time unmedicated before they can receive any treatment.

  45. Sally October 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    My husband has ADHD. I can’t fill his Rx a day early but my pharmacy is no longer 24 hours. I used to drop it off at 11:30 and get it at midnight so he could have it first thing so he could work. He has a high powered profession but without the meds he is too hyperactive to do it. He could be fired, and we’d have no way to pay our rent, food bills etc. I finally got the pharmacy to let me drop it off 1 day early. God help me if he runs out…
    All because it’s a restricted drug. Plus he has to see the psychiatrist monthly to get it. Dr does nothing- asks if all is ok, any side effects (been taking the same one for years so no issues!) and once in a while orders a blood test to make sure it’s not destroying his kidneys or something. But we pay for this $$$ dr just for a script. Ugh!

  46. Rachel October 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Rest in peace, Alisha.

  47. Donna October 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    ” As I understand it, though, this is a temporary respite, as their natural production will continue to fall and, if they survive long enough, external supplementation will eventually be required again.”

    Some type 2 diabetics can completely negate their need for external supplementation via losing weight, diet and exercise. If they continue to maintain a healthy weight and diet, they can remain external supplementation-free. Others cannot. Depends on the level of pancreas involvement.

  48. Donna October 16, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    “Yet… we don’t expect caffeine addicts to kick their habits before they can receive medical treatment.”

    Opoid addicts are not required to kick their habit to receive medical treatment either. While addiction would negate certain medical treatment, say an organ transplant, addicts medical needs are taken care of without requiring them to kick their habit first.

    And people are often encouraged to kick their caffeine habit for health reasons. Caffeine is a more acceptable addiction for various reasons, but it is not one that is not attacked in the medical community.

  49. James Pollock October 16, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    ” Caffeine is a more acceptable addiction for various reasons”

    Yes, that’s what I said.

  50. Bert October 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    Most people miss the connection between letting children learn to handle freedom, and letting adults use discretion with freedom. Yes there are people that will abuse drugs. They will probably continue to use drugs. There are other people that would love to live a life with diminished pain, with drugs. But even the responses in here are about more government regulation, ie the nannying we despise when applied to children. The answer is less government intervention in all of our lives. Freeing drug laws would keep people from overdosing, and allow them to seek help with out the State stepping in and ruining their lives.