Generation Rx

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When she got to know Luke, he was regularly using Valium, Percocet, Adderall, Xanax and, of course, smoking pot.

"I saw him take at least nine Adderall a day," Shelley says, "some in the morning, then a couple of Valium, then more Adderall." Luke used some of Shelley's medications, too. And when no Percocet was available, he sipped liquid codeine, the active ingredient in prescription cough syrup, sometimes called "sizzurp" and popular in hip-hop culture. One night before they hooked up, Shelley saw Luke crashed on his couch during a party, wiped out by Valium and sizzurp. The next day he didn't answer his phone. Shelley finally drove to his apartment and pounded on the door until he answered.

"He was so white, so pale," Shelley says. "He looked terrible. I think that was the first time he might have accidentally OD'd."

Shelley later urged Luke to go to the university counseling center. He brushed her off. "I don't think it was a physical addiction that drove him," Shelley says. "It was psychological. Stopping would bring him down, so that he'd think there was something wrong with his head. He thought he might have a disorder like mine."

Both knew they needed to quit. Adderall suppresses the appetite, so they weren't eating, and their sleep schedule had turned upside down. If they could just get through the end of the semester, then they could make some changes.

In early May, Luke took Shelley to a doctor's office for a routine appointment. After grabbing a bunch of cards from a Rolodex-type dispenser that described various medications, he cut and pasted the cards into a flip-type notebook, creating a log of seven drugs he had taken and more he wanted to try, complete with each medication's purpose, dosages, dangers and how they affected him.

At their Mother's Day lunch on May 9, Luke gave Sondra a lovely vase filled with yellow roses and a sweet card. Happy and full of enthusiasm, Luke talked about changing his major to law. With Jason's tutoring, Luke was making better grades.

Sondra saw no sign of drug use. But finals started the next day, and Luke was popping Adderall like M&Ms.

David Stone got the phone call from a Dallas police detective at about 2 p.m. on May 14. "You've lost your son," said the officer, calling from the Collin County Medical Examiner's Office. "It's a drug overdose." David had no idea what he was talking about.

"It's not Luke," David insisted. "How do you know it's my son?" The officer had found a drivers license in a Richardson apartment. The photo of Sean Lukas Stone, age 20, matched the body found there.

Still in disbelief, David called Sondra, who was in her car, and asked her to pull over. When he told her, Sondra's reaction was the same: "It can't be Luke."

David picked up her and their younger son, and they drove to the medical examiner's office in McKinney. Seeing Luke's body on a gurney through the morgue window, Sondra screamed. She refused to believe Luke had accidentally overdosed. Someone must have done it to him.

Over the next few weeks, his parents heard more details from Luke's friends and pieced together what had happened in their son's final days.

On May 12, Corey, Jason, Roman, Anthony and Luke had lunch together at The Abbey, their favorite pub. "We were talking about graduating and what we wanted to do," Corey says. "Luke was serious about [Shelley], as happy as I'd seen him in months. A real happy, not an opiate happy."

Luke pulled an all-nighter, studying with Jason for his calculus and history exams. In addition to Adderall, Luke was using Xanax and Valium. His on-campus connection hadn't been able to get Percocet for weeks.

"You could tell he'd been studying and was strung out a little," Jason says. "At that point, you see shadow people." Recently Luke had been acting paranoid, saying that three undercover cops lived in his complex.

The next day, Luke aced his calculus final. He made two trips to Wal-Mart, the second with Shelley. His mother had given him about $180 on Sunday. They bought some cleaning supplies, a small table and some DVDs. Late that afternoon Luke dropped Shelley at his apartment and apparently made a run to see Porn.

While Luke was gone, Shelley cleaned the apartment--it was the end of the semester, and Luke's lease was almost up--then took a Seroquel, her prescribed medication for bipolar disorder, and zonked out.

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Glenna Whitley

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