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A High School Quarterback's Struggle with Addiction

For information on other programs combating substance abuse in Indiana, visit

Please help me in encouraging your children and students in grades six through twelve, to participate in this important effort by joining the Indianapolis Colts in the #kickRxabuse video challenge. Teens are encouraged to make a difference through the creation of their own 30 second videos that they can post on social media. The winning entry receives prizes such as VIP Colts tickets, a meet-and-greet with kicker, Adam Vinatieri, and many more. For more information on the video challenge and how to get started, visit

My name is Justin Phillips and I'm the mother of a handsome, talented young man that played quarterback for Lawrence North High School – he's my late son. I tragically lost him to a heroin overdose which occurred as a result of the addiction he developed that began with a football injury and a doctor's prescription for pain pills.


My son, Aaron Sims, was prescribed pain medication for numerous sports injuries before the abuse of those pain pills turned into addiction leading to heroin use. This is all too common because the chemical structure of prescription painkillers and heroin are the same – they both derive from opiates. It's amazing how quickly the power of opioid addiction can pull a person into a downward spiral, and how it can so easily grab a strong young man and leave him helpless.

It's devastating to learn how your child can grow so quickly from a boy obsessed with all things sports into a young man focused on his next fix. How one night you're admirably watching him play quarterback on a Friday night at his high school football game to finding him dead in his bedroom, less than four years later.

I tell my story because I want to prevent this tragedy from happing to others. I don't think my husband and I look like the parents of a heroin addict and I don't think Aaron was raised in a home where people think heroin addicts live. We're a normal middle class family with strong faith, morals and values. Unfortunately, no one is immune from the opioid epidemic. It can happen to any family and it happened to mine.

I want to help raise awareness so no one has to suffer the same loss as me. That's why I've teamed up with the Indiana Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force and the Indianapolis Colts to help encourage our youth to spread the word about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.


For information on other programs combating substance abuse in Indiana, visit

Justin Philips
Founder of Overdose Lifeline

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