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ASAP Yams, NY Times, January 8, 2013

Source: Chad Batka / Getty

On what would have been his 28th birthday, Tatiana Paulino, mother of the late A$AP Yams, penned an essay via Noisey remembering her son’s death. In the essay, she details the phone call she received from his roommate as Yams was being rushed to the hospital. She also recounts the moments after she received the news of his passing.

“My mind raced,” she writes. “I thought about Steven smiling, laughing, and him being a prankster. Sometimes when I arrived at home from work he would hide and then suddenly surprised me by saying, as loudly as he could, ‘boo.’ He would laugh with his entire body. Other times when I was in bed asleep, he took great pleasure out of opening my eyelids with his fingers and asking, ‘Are you awake? Are you up?’ His face would light up with the biggest grin.

He’s gone. We will never share those moments again. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t believe that my only child was dead.”

Later, she urges parents and young people to educate themselves about the dangers of drug abuse:

“Through my discussions with [Columbia University Professor and drug expert, Dr. Carl] Hart, I have learned that while it is possible to die from an overdose of an opioid alone, this is uncommon. The majority of opioid-related deaths involve multiple drugs, especially combining opioids with other sedatives, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.

Sure enough, Steven’s toxicology report revealed that he had not only taken codeine, but he also had taken oxycodone (an opioid) and alprazolam (a benzodiazepine). Was he aware of the potential dangers of mixing opioids with other sedatives? I certainly wasn’t. Even if it makes us uncomfortable, I wish public health messages about drugs were more clear and simple in emphasizing real concerns as oppose to hyping less likely outcomes. I wish such messages simply stated, ‘Don’t combine opioids with other sedatives! If they did, perhaps my son would be alive today.”

Head over to Noisey to read the essay in its entirety.

SOURCE: Noisey | PHOTO CREDIT: Chad Batka / Getty

A$AP Yams’ Mother Remembers Her Son On His Birthday  was originally published on