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Teen’s Phone Call Helps Rescue Six On Drugs

May 12, 1986

LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (AP) _ A quick-thinking teen-ager helped save six youths found sprawled among liquor and pills in a vacation home by talking to a friend who had telephoned to say she was taking drugs to die, authorities said Monday.

″The way she was talking, her speech was slurred and I was scared,″ Andrea Lamerand, 15, said in a telephone interview from her high school in Hurley along the border of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. ″I just didn’t want her to die.″

All but one of the six youths have been released from Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff. Center President John Danielson refused to say what condition the remaining youth was in.

The boys and girls, ranging in age from 10 to 15, were sniffing paint thinner and drinking liquor, said Vilas County Chief Deputy William Sparks. Capsules containing an unidentified substance also were found, he said.

″Without Andrea’s help, something far more serious could have come out of this,″ an unidentified sheriff’s official told The Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe.

Miss Lamerand said she received the call from her friend about 10 p.m. Friday and kept her talking for more than an hour. She said her mother, Deanna, ran across the street to telephone for an ambulance.

Police records show a call of a possible suicide was received at 10:20 p.m. Friday, Sparks said. The caller ″stated that a girl had called her and told her she was taking pills and trying to kill herself,″ Sparks said.

Two ambulances were dispatched to a vacation home in Lac du Flambeau that the youths had entered without permission, said Deputy Mary Mohr.

″When they got to the scene, they apparently told our dispatcher they found six juveniles lying on the floor of the residence,″ Sparks said, adding all were unconscious.

Miss Lamerand could hear the ambulance drivers slapping the youths to wake them before an attendant hung up the phone, she said.

Miss Lamerand said she remembered what to do from reading pamphlets and watching television. She talked with her friend about how they met last year at a summer school program and got her to give the telephone number of the residence, which her mother relayed to police.

″There were a lot of things going through my mind,″ Miss Lamerand said. ″I think kids should be more informed about what to do when their friends are committing suicide. We’ve never had any classes on this.″

Not many of her school friends know of her weekend adventure, Miss Lamerand said.

″It’s amazing,″ she said. ″I really don’t think I was a hero or anything. I was just trying to help her. I’m glad I was able to.″

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