Father finding peace after son died of drug overdose

'It affects everybody,' dad says of son's drug use

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 12:45 p.m. MST

Ryan Palmer lost his son, Jeremy Palmer, to a drug overdose in August. His family is finding some peace after a person who failed to help the 20-year-old get to a hospital was sentenced to prison.

Sam Penrod, Deseret News

MANTI — A father who lost his son to a drug overdose said he is finding some peace now that a woman who failed to help his son or call for help has been sent to prison.

He is hoping that his son's death will encourage other parents to do more when they see signs of drug abuse in their families.

Jeremy Palmer, 20, died in August. His family has not only struggled with his death, but the fact that his friends refused to call for help.

“We went through Thanksgiving, we went through Christmas without our son,” father Ryan Palmer said. We definitely had our moments when we spent time crying over it.”

Palmer got a call Aug. 27, 2013, telling him his son had overdosed and was lying in the driveway of an acquaintance. He attempted CPR himself, but realized that his son was already dead.

The day before, Jeremy Palmer and his friends drove to West Jordan where he took 300 mg of morphine and inhaled canned air, court documents state. While driving home near Thistle, he became incoherent. His friends stopped next to a stream and poured cold water on him.

They kept driving south, passing a hospital, and eventually arrived at a home in Manti, police said. A friend later told investigators that Palmer's lips were blue at this point. They put him in the bathtub and filled it with ice, never calling an ambulance.

The friends allegedly dumped Jeremy's body in the driveway of an acquaintance at 6 a.m. the next day.

“They didn't want to be investigated. They didn't want to go to jail. They didn't want problems, so they moved the crime scene from the home of Ms. McClain's where it all happened and dumped him in that driveway,” Ryan Palmer said.

Brandie McClain, 35, pleaded guilty to drug possession, a second-degree felony, as well as child endangerment and obstructing justice, third-degree felonies. She was sentenced Feb. 5 to one to 15 years in prison.

His son’s death has given Ryan Palmer a new perspective on drug abuse.

“This is a big problem,” he said. “This is going on in our backyards. It’s going on in our neighbor’s homes.”

His son started abusing alcohol and prescription drugs in high school. In the weeks before his death, Jeremy Palmer became addicted to cocaine, heroin and meth, and died of an overdose of morphine.

"If he would have known how much this has affected his mom, his sisters, his dad, his grandparents, he wouldn't have used drugs,” Ryan Palmer said. “But he only thought it affected himself, but it doesn't. It is far more reaching than that. It affects everybody.”

Now the family hopes they can start to heal as they encourage parents to do more when they see signs of drug abuse.

"If we can reach out to other parents and help them understand their kids are good kids. They need help,” Ryan Palmer said. “And if we can get them the help they need, I think we can make a difference.”

Email: spenrod@deseretnews.com

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