Melissa Etheridge’s son, Beckett Cypher’s descent into opioid addiction was triggered by a snowboarding accident in 2016 which left him in consistent pain as he began self-medicating.
Beckett died from a drug overdose on 13 May, with the tragic news delivered by his singer/songwriter mother on social media.
As his family continues to mourn, his girlfriend at the time of the accident, Hailey Lavelle, has claimed that a then 17 year old Beckett was not given adequate medical attention at the time.
“He passed out in the air and fell 40 feet, landing on his head,’ Hailey Lavelle told the Daily Mail. “They showed me his helmet. It was split in half like a watermelon.
“He had a major concussion and he broke his ankle and his foot as well. I believe it resulted in a brain injury that was never treated. It’s the same that you see in football players.
“He took a hard hit to the head and nothing was fixed afterwards. His addiction did not come from boredom or the celebrity lifestyle that he was born into,” Lavelle said.
She went on to detail how he was denied immediate adequate care after the incident, with Etheridge focused on her tour at the time.
“There was a miscommunication between the two of them and the communication got less and less and we never got the insurance card,” Lavelle said.
“He was never able to go to a doctor. At that point, and not being in school, he had nothing to do but ride. He wanted to go back and ride.
“I thought: You want to ride, I’ll tape it up and you can go. And a few weeks later we realized that wasn’t going to work and we couldn’t get in contact with his family.”
At the time, the two teenagers were at a loss about what to do.
“We were just children — what did we know?’ she asked.
“We didn’t understand that we could tell the doctors to charge us and once we get the insurance card, we’d make it work. We were both so young, we didn’t know anything.
“The communication with his family got less and less and we never did get insurance, so he never went to the doctor,” she said.