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Oh Tara. I can feel my heart heaving in my chest and the tears falling, as I weep and read and listen to you. My first time commenting but I have been here quietly devouring your words after coming across your Instagram and Substack earlier this year. Especially Flowers for Mila. My heart in my gut as I furiously read and realised, “this is my story too”.

My name is Anna (from Australia) and sadly, I am on the other side with you. I lost my precious, handsome, cheeky, strong younger brother Samuel, to a drug-induced psychosis on the 23rd September 2019. A violent and terrifying finale, that haunts me everyday. He too, fell into the culture of casual marijauna and recreational drug use. He suffered similar symptoms to your darling Mila. I have felt so alone in my grief. So full of guilt and rage and deep agony, as if someone has ripped my heart from my chest and is dangling it in front of me, laughing!

I stand beside you, defiant, in your plea to parents, sisters, brothers, friends, the whole fucking world, as this issue ravages young minds and souls, leaving a blood-trail of shattered families.

My heart and hand reaches to you from South to North. A mentor from afar (I am working on a biodynamic and regenerative farm) but also a friend, whose words have expressed for me, the unexpressable.

Thank you Tara. For your Mila and my Sam. ❤️

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The piece you shared on Heather Heying's Substack made my husband and I realize that our daughter's psychotic episodes four years ago were most likely brought on by vaping. We knew she had vaped, but did not make the connection and neither did the mental health professionals who assisted her and us, even though they were aware that she vaped.

I will share this piece far and wide and I treasure the many sources of help and education it offers as we still have two younger children to teach and protect.

Thank you to you and to Mila--through the sharing of her diary her true self still won out in the end. 💛

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

My broken heart is running down my face in the form of hot tears, spilling into my lap.

3 of my smart, talented, younger siblings have suffered from all manner of vile mental issues due to recreational drug use.

Two have tried to take their lives because they saw no way out.

I've watched each of them become shells of who they were. One started using at the age of 14, I was in college and knew something was wrong and couldn't get a straight answer from him. Marijuana, alcohol, then pills. I watched his life spiral out of control for the next 12 years while he refused help or treatment and his addictions grew.

I was also the one who drove him 4 hours away to rehab a year and a half ago. He's making life changing progress but the scars are deep and the mental impact is shocking.

The next one was all star sports player, football running back, cheerleader, tumbler, basketball point guard, top of his class, straight A student. He had an injury his Junior year, someone snuck him pills and then next Marijuana. He dropped out of high school his senior year, walked away from a full ride scholarship, hid his addiction and growing mental health issues and tried to take his life 3 years later. Now at 26 he's been clean from drugs, pills, cocaine for 2 years. But still struggles with his mind. The most driven, upbeat, positive person turned into an angry, insecure, hateful man who questions is mental ability every day.

The youngest a sweet girl who thought it was the best way to make friends, who struggled with weight gain, and was told it would help.

The anger I feel in my heart when I look at my 3 siblings and see the lives that they had shattered by an industry that only cares about dollar bills makes me want to vomit.

We live every day trying to help them find their footing and stability.

And the mental health issues are so far reaching.

My parents didn't even understand the depth of what their children were facing. They would say, "we smoked and we're fine." The industry isn't honest with us, why would they be when they stand to profit from addiction.

How do we fight this!?

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Sep 21, 2022·edited Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

Oh Tara.

There are no words- yet there are a million. This essay comes one week before the four year anniversary of our Jake leaving by suicide. His story is so much like Mila's. Our tender, huge hearted kids succumbed to a drug use that led to destruction...destruction of the vibrant, beautiful, loving children they so wanted to be.

There is so much I could say, yet I feel you know my words just as I have always felt yours.

Thank you for sharing it. I know in my heart how hard it is, and I applaud you for sharing the details of a drug so many may not understand.

My heart aches in tandem with yours. I hold space for you in my heart. And I can say this, and pray you'll know it in time. Grief never leaves. It just changes. And as it changes, it opens up space for us to laugh and have joy again in places we thought unimaginable.

Carrying you, and Troy, and your family in my heart. Thank you Tara...for sharing this.

💛 Mila 💛

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Thank you for sharing, Tara. I feel such a visceral call to action on this subject—I have a 3 year old daughter and know too well of the consequences of marijuana use.

My own previous smoking habit teetered between two worlds: the mellow high one gets from home-grown, backyard weed and the “put you on your ass” club weed. Looking back, I’m thankful I knew the difference between the two. The once affectionate and soft drug that was once a staple of my youth is not the same product the kids smoke today. The first time I dabbed (I was 23), it kinda hit me like a freight train, but I was fine. I was with my friends! We were all fine! We could handle it, right? But increasingly, they would purchase this highly potent stuff, roll it in a joint, and we’d all share. But as my smoking increased, so did my paranoia and the nightmares. I became despondent, taking hits on my lunch break carelessly. Then, one evening, we all purchase a cute lil edible from the dispensary. So harmless these things look. I consume it, and we have a decent time. But as night falls, that’s when I start to hear things. A chatter that won’t stop. Every time I tried to relax, it subsided then got louder. I would fall asleep then it would awake me, a haunting sound that I still remember more than five years later. These types of hallucinations occurred perhaps 20% of the time I consumed marijuana (and I was not a heavy or habitual consumer). When reading about Mila’s experience and tragedy, I realized that my younger self was somersaulting towards a state of psychosis, and by some type of god-given blessing I did not suffer Mila’s fate.

Today, I will hold my daughter close and think of you, Tara, and your sweet Mila. Your posts always remind me to savor the small moments, so fleeting and beautiful and divine as they are.

Much love to you, Tara.

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So many tears - for your experience, for Mila's... for my past, for I am taken back to a fraught time in my son's life, now 23 when I thankfully discovered his intentions of suicide and I was able to support him back from the brink.

My daughter, now 16 and smoking these new plastic things. And all of her precious friends; their delicate balances of mind and body and wonderful souls, as they get pulled into atrocious social expectations and get lost in one way or another to them.

Thank you for sharing, both you and Mila, though giving thanks seems trite in such unspeakable experiences.

I stand beside you in your wish to pull ALL of our young people back into wholeness and to be spared from such toxic contaminants to mind, body and soul.

May you both continue to do what is necessary for your deep truths and to send that net far and wide.

I work also with children and young people, and with this information that you share I will seek ways in which I can integrate my own practice deeper into such essential knowledge and support for our precious young.

Standing in solidarity with you Tara, as a sister in the world, in lands across the seas but close in heart and mind.

Standing in solidarity with all parents, and all our lost children, with determination to do more, to create more change, and more connection, and more support.

And most deeply in reverence for Mila, her unending love and connection to you, and the ways in which she continues to teach us all.

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The amount of resources you have provided make this piece incredibly valuable for us all. Thank you for sharing through such a trying time. It is interesting to read that there were both illegal substances and heavy metals in these vape pens and alarming to realise how many young people across the planet are using these types of products as well as the regular smoking etc. I much appreciate all of you here contributing to a more heartfully coherent earth plane.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

My dear Tara,

I can't even begin to express the gratitude I have that you have been able to write this most horrible deep, unending pain down in the hope it may prevent the same for someone else.

My husband is a teacher. He teaches those young one just on the cusp of adulthood. I will share this with him in the hope that he can prevent another parent from joining this club. ❤️

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Sep 21, 2022·edited Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

Sharing far and wide from Australia. Like a drop in a still lake may the ripple effect of this transmission be as vast and thorough and pertinent as the extraordinary generosity and good intention with which it's been given.

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Hi Tara. My name is Angelica and I’m 25 years old. Sorry for using this comment section as a confession box but i too have been addicted to marijuana - specifically my thc pen - for 4 years (since i turned 21 and was legally allowed into the dispensary here in CA, USA). Long story short I have experienced similar effects as Mila and I have not been the same since. I’ve ruined and thrown away opportunities I’ve had and still in my deep regret I have yet to put it down and attribute my failure to the “plant”. It’s been another limb to me, I even wanted to make a leash for it so I wouldn’t lose it. I’ve loved it. It both ruined me and feels like a safety blanket. This makes sense to me that it’s more than “just weed”, and I will read these resources you shared. And I will share this with my mom who, too, thought my pulling away from life was due to lockdowns and mandates. It was deeper. I was angry with her for a bit for not seeing that, but to be fair I’ve hidden and protected my dungeon dragon. I’ve been able to cut back (thank you God), maybe here is my final push. Thank you and may you and your families hearts be healed and consoled by the memory of her love.

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SO. BRAVE. So useful. The causalities in this “modern” era are beyond comprehension.

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FUCK. My heart sank. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you to you and Mila for sharing so bravely.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

Absolutely devastating. I lost my father to suicide when I was 18 and thought it was the absolute worst thing - now, nearly 20 years later and a mom of a 7 and 10 year old, I know that losing a child would probably kill me. I’m so sorry you and your family are hurting. Thank you for sharing Mila’s story and the resources below. I look forward to diving into them and sharing the info with my kids. I’ve spent almost all of those 20 years using cannabis like an IV drip to dull the pain of losing my dad but stopped earlier this summer after reading Flowers for Mila. Im open and honest with my kids about my dad and my struggle with addiction (which people still roll their eyes at because “cannabis isn’t addictive, Taylor”). Insert my eye roll here. I hope these resources, sharing Mila’s story, and me being upfront with my kids about the dangers of cannabis will help keep them safe. I really hope. Thank you, I wish you peace and sending you love.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

I stand with all of you, with you Tara, with Mila, against this mass psychosis we call society. It is madness. Pure madness. There is no convincing it out of itself. We must walk away from it and let it run itself into the ground. From the vaccine mandates that have caused so much pain, illness, isolation and corruption, to the screens held 24/7 in front of children's faces to this awful reality of the profit-driven, predatory addiction of our youth. All of it is madness. You do not ask for sympathy, Tara, i know it is not about you that you wrote this. My heart stands beside yours. I sit here listening to your essay as i nurse my 6-week old daughter Fae, with tears streaming down my face. What could make anyone want to harm others for the sake of profit? i could not love anything more than i love this little creature in my lap. My heart feels ripped out for you and yours. To whoever they are, these lives are just numbers on a sheet of data, barely glanced at. To us, this loss is monumental, life-altering, forever. So many are falling through the cracks of this supposedly "caring" society. It's monstrous. Walk away from it, like the old stories, if everyone turns their backs on the monster, does it still hold the same power as it did when everyone still cowered beneath it?

I sit here wondering how i will protect my child from the innumerable pitfalls set for her in this highly predatory world. Can I not raise her in peace, in a world of butterflies and milking cows and sunsets and children's laughter and flowers and love and music....will this society always be devising ways to weaken and enslave her? To make her doubt herself?

Oh Tara, what a wound your family must carry. I am grateful Mila speaks to you, and asks you to carry the torch. You are worthy of it.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

Thank you for writing this Tara. My son is only 4 and I am already terrified of what I hear of and see in high school social circles. And yet, I know living in fear does nothing for us, but it makes me so sad and worried that young ones have access to these things. I will share and spread word and do what I can for Mila. We must protect the youth from these poisons. So much love to you and your story, and Mila.

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tara

Thank you for sharing Mila's story. I am heartbroken for you as a mother. I am sorry the system failed your daughter in many many ways. I am shocked yet not shocked (the system) all in one. I also want thank you for your bravery and courage to share what your family has lived through. Thank you for brining this awareness. I was aware of the system and legalization but not to the extent in what they the system has induced in todays world.(Kind of like opiate problem they also have created) It was mind opening of the truth and motives into the path they system has created by legalizing. Once again surprised yet not surprised. Cov-d restrictions have really impacted our society in more ways than one and far more to todays youth. It angers me the trauma our youth has had to endure when understanding so many underlying political truths. Some of these traumas are not easily reversed. I am devastated by what many families have also endured because of these political actions and what it has robbed them of. I am sorry Tara your family has lived through this and all the families who lived such systematic tragedies in the past few years. I am sure we as society will never forget those we have lost in this odd time in todays world. Sending you and your family so much love.

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