The following was submitted to the Emerald by the Felts’ family friend Larry Sokol.
I was present at Griffin’s birth and knew him well his whole life. He was until his last hours as you knew him — happy, loved, loving, infectiously endearing and kind. To everyone in his life Griff was the kind of friend you are lucky to have even one of. Griff was a best friend.
Griffin had many hopes and plans for his future. He looked forward and had, like you have, many dreams. He loved every moment of his life. Like all of you reading this, Griff believed he was invincible. He, like every young adult, did not imagine or think limits, biology, science, or warnings really applied to him. In short he was a normal 20 year old college student with his shining future stretched out in front of him.
Griff had prescription medications which were not compatible with alcohol. If you’re 20, being told something is not the same as believing what you’re told. This is you too, isn’t it? You know better. Griff knew better. Then Griff got a sore throat and was given some pain pills. They were small – didn’t look like he would be swallowing a cyanide pill. The pain pills were all given like the others, with warnings.
But you’re in college and know the score. You know alcohol, sleep aids and pain pills are depressants. In sensible dosages they suppress the central nervous system- a measured amount- predictable if used as directed.
Did you know they can each slow respiration? Did you know they unplug part of your brain that tells you there’s too much Co2 and tells you to breathe? No brain, no breath.
Using any depressant knocks out some part of your consciousness so you are impaired from realizing what is happening. Sure your brain can take a few punches. But what if there are three head shots all at once? Out like a light that won’t turn back on is one real possibility. You’ve seen it now. It’s real.
Do you imagine anyone expects to not wake up from a few small pills and some shots? You can get away with this, and then you don’t.
Please honor this radiant young man. Please make his life have possibly a lifesaving meaning in yours. The next time you start down this path remember Griff. Say to yourself I am going to respect his memory, and help myself or someone else at the same time.
Griff loved you. He’ll be watching from your own hearts and minds.
Larry N. Sokol
Editors Note: Griffin Felt’s cause of death has not been confirmed by the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office.