- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A St. Charles County teenager who nearly died after an overdose of heroin is back home. And while Brayden Travis has a long road of recovery ahead of him, he knows he’s lucky to be alive.

The 18-year-old overdosed in March on a cocktail of heroin and Xanax at a girlfriend’s home. He lay for up to 10 hours without medical attention. When he finally was taken to a hospital, a neurologist told his family he was unlikely to wake up, and if he did, he would be a vegetable.

But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1fQ78vl ) reports that after four months of rehabilitation, Brayden went home Wednesday, promising to never again use illegal drugs.

“I’m the new Brayden,” Brayden, who also overdosed on heroin twice before in the fall, said. “That means I’m new, better, in every way.”

Brayden suffered some brain damage from the lack of oxygen after the overdose, according to his mother, Kelly Smith-Miller. His brain has trouble sending signals to his muscles, so he uses a wheelchair and is working on walking and using his arms.

Understanding his speech is difficult at times, but he can read, recognizes friends and makes jokes.

Smith-Arnold shared her son’s story on Facebook. The original post about his overdose has been shared more than 350,000 times. His story has drawn international news coverage. Smith-Arnold gets messages daily from those touched by his story.

Brayden spent the latter part of his recovery at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in Maryland Heights, where his days were filled with therapy - he rode a stationary bike, practiced walking with a harness, stretched, swam, and underwent speech and cognitive therapy. Electronic stimulation helped his muscles.

Ranken Jordan president and CEO Lauri Tanner said the hospital doesn’t treat many overdose patients. “You hear about a lot of heroin overdoses that result in the death of a teenager - you hear that a lot,” she said. “In terms of a case like Brayden, he’s very unusual.”

Statistic show that last year, 400 people in a seven-county area of the St. Louis region died of heroin overdoses, compared with 139 deaths in 2007.

Brayden’s struggle with drugs began at around age 15. He was in and out of recovery programs and spent eight months in juvenile custody.

“Never again,” Brayden said last week. “I’ll never do drugs again.”

___

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide