Sister shares story of brother's suicide after prescription drug - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Sister shares story of brother's suicide after prescription drug addiction

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David Lawhon committed suicide after a difficult battle with prescription drug abuse David Lawhon committed suicide after a difficult battle with prescription drug abuse
MILTON, WV -

Nearly four months after his death, Lora Vance fights back tears when she talks about her younger brother, David Lawhon.

David was only 41-years-old when he committed suicide after a difficult battle with prescription drugs.

"It's just really broken me and I'm a very strong person. This has really broken me. It's broken my whole family," she said.

Lora said her family had no idea David was addicted to pain pills until they read his suicide letter. In it, he said he was addicted to pain pills, and he was sorry. He said the pills took away his physical and mental pain. He also revealed he heard voices in his head in the days leading up to his death. Lora suspects he was broke and didn't have any money to feed his addiction. She thinks the hallucinations played a role in his suicide.

David was an accomplished construction worker, loving father and grandfather, and all around amazing man, she said.

She decided to share his story in the hopes it will help other families who are going through the same thing.

"My family has gone through a lot since my brother, and I just don't want to see another family go through what we've gone through," he said.

David hid his addiction well. However, when Lora looks back at his old pictures, she notices something isn't right.

"You could see in his face that he wasn't happy. You could see the pain in his eyes."

After his death, Lora uncovered shocking details about his addiction.

"You could see on his bank accounts that he was withdrawing $800 a day sometimes," she said.

She also suspects he was ordering pain pills online from Canadian pharmacies. She researched some of the websites in question and was shocked at how easy it is to do.

"I don't know that they are all easy to do like that, but the couple that I did, I got clear to putting my credit card information in. I didn't need a prescription, I didn't need anything," she said.

Lora said her faith in God is helping her heal, but she has a long road ahead of her to make sense of it all.

"I've really leaned on my church family. I don't know what I would have done without my church family through all of this," she said.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are many warning signs to look for in suicidal people.  These signs include mental disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, changes in eating and sleeping habits, withdrawing from family and friends, and dramatic mood changes.

If you are in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.