May 02, 2017
Lexi Reed Holtum
Steve Rummler Hope Foundation

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation was founded in 2011 by Bill and Judy Rummler. Their son, Steve Rummler, died that year of an accidental opioid overdose after struggling with addiction brought on by efforts to manage his chronic pain.

In 1996, Steve suffered a life-changing back injury and began a journey that would end tragically in 2011. He sought help from many medical and mental health professionals; however, he never received a treatable diagnosis for his back injury.  Steve became depressed and was treated with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines).  In 2005, he was prescribed the narcotic painkiller OxyContin which finally offered him some pain relief.  By 2009, Steve had become addicted to his pain medications and his doctor encouraged him to get help.  Steve decided to go to the Pain Rehabilitation Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in January 2010, where he was tapered off of the painkillers and taught other tools for the management of his pain. However, by 2011, Steve had relapsed. Steve sought and found a doctor who prescribed narcotics and benzodiazepines in the quantities Steve requested. In April 2011 Steve agreed to go to the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic in Center City, Minnesota to receive treatment for his addiction.

While Steve was at Hazelden, the doctor who in 2011 began prescribing his narcotic painkillers and diazepam (Valium) was under investigation by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.  In May, 2011, the Board took disciplinary action against this doctor’s license for “unprofessional and unethical conduct” and for “prescribing a drug for other than medically accepted purposes.”  The doctor surrendered his medical license and the Board agreed to “close its files in this matter.”

Steve relapsed shortly after returning home from Hazelden Betty Ford. He was able to pick up two months of refills for his Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) prescription, but eventually he ran out, had no doctor to go to, and became desperate for relief.  For the first and only time in his life, he sought out and purchased heroin. He used heroin one time; it killed him on July 1, 2011. His death certificate shows that the “immediate” cause of his death was “mixed drug toxicity (opiates and benzodiazepines)”.  The real cause of his death, however, was the disease of addiction.  After his death his family established The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation with the goal of helping others who suffer from chronic pain and the disease of addiction.

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