Mother Of A$AP Yams Pen Heartbreaking Essay On His Overdose Death

Mother Of A$AP Yams Pen Heartbreaking Essay On His Overdose Death

By McCarton Ackerman 11/16/16

“I recognize that parents, including me, should discourage drug use. But, you should also know that my son wanted to get high, not die.”

Image: 
Mother Of A$AP Yams Pen Heartbreaking Essay On His Overdose Death
Photo: Complex/YouTube

Tatianna Paulino should have been spending last Sunday celebrating the 28th birthday of her son, hip-hop executive and producer A$AP Yams. Instead, she penned an essay 22 months after his death from a drug overdose in the hopes that the hip-hop community would pay more attention to drug addiction. 

A$AP Yams, born Steven Rodriguez, passed away on Jan. 18, 2015 at the age of 26. Friends and fellow collaborators A$AP Rocky and A$AP Lou found him in his bed and covered in vomit. Two months later, his death was ruled an accidental drug overdose.

"I just look at his face. I look at [A$AP] Lou. You could just tell. We knew," A$AP Rocky told the New York Times last March. "I was scared. I was wilding on everybody, like, 'Who let him do drugs?,' even though you can't blame nobody." 

In her essay for Noisey, Paulino said the tragedy spurred her to educate herself on the substances her son had been abusing. She had several meetings with Dr. Carl Hart, a drug expert and professor at Columbia University, and read his book High Price and gained a greater understanding of the forces that drive drug use.

“Was he aware of the potential dangers of mixing opioids with other sedatives? I certainly wasn’t,” she wrote. “Even if it makes us uncomfortable, I wish public health messages about drugs were more clear and simple in emphasizing real concerns as opposed to hyping less likely outcomes.”

Paulino was aware that Rodriguez had a drug problem well before his death. He agreed to enter rehab shortly after one incident where he got so high before boarding a flight that he needed to be helped off in a wheelchair when the plane landed. She paid for his treatment through her employee benefits plan.

“He looked like [Tupac Shakur] when Pac got shot,” said A$AP Rocky. “I hated to see him like that. That was it, man. It was like, ‘You got to go to rehab.’”

In addition to educating herself, Paulino is now hoping to educate others on the dangers of substance abuse. She helped launch the A$AP Foundation in her son's honor, which "strives for greater drug abuse awareness and prevention, seeking ways to minimize the impact of addiction in communities,” and is working on planning events for the organization.

“To be clear, I recognize that parents, including me, should discourage drug use. But, you should also know that my son wanted to get high, not die,” she wrote. “And because this is the case for many young people, whether we like it or not, we should do all we can do to keep them safe and alive. It’s the humane thing to do.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
McCarton.JPG

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

Disqus comments