A Pennsylvania mother and son died from a drug overdose. The strange thing about this story is that the mother was not a drug user. Theresa Plummer died one day after finding her son Ronald Plummer unresponsive in their bathroom. After Ronald was rushed to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Theresa went to the bathroom to clean up his drug paraphernalia. She was rushed to the hospital herself when she began to experience shortness of breath. The 69-year-old mother died on November 6, and her 45-year-old son died the very next day.

Ronald was the drug user, but his mother didn't use drugs at all. However, she did come in contact with them when she cleaned up the bathroom after her son's overdose. The coroner concluded that while Theresa was not a user, coming into close contact with the needles and other materials caused her to accidentally overdose on the same drugs that Ronald intentionally took.

Contact with drugs warning

Law enforcement is hoping this family's tragedy will be a warning to others. Jeff Lees, Cambria County coroner, encourages everyone to be extremely careful when coming in contact with drugs someone has left behind.

He strongly suggests that people should stay away from the scene and let law enforcement or the EMS remove the drug materials.

Results of the mother and son's toxicology reports have not been revealed yet to determine exactly which substance killed them. The coroner believes the mother inhaled the same drugs while she was cleaning up the bathroom that her son overdosed on earlier. The substance could also have gotten onto her skin.

The interesting thing about this situation is the second-hand drugs killed the mother first before the actual drug user died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about fentanyl. It is a synthetic opioid that’s about 100 times more powerful than other drugs like morphine. fentanyl can be absorbed by the skin or through inhalation, leading to an accidental overdose. The coroner thinks that is what happened to Theresa Plummer that led to her death.


Theresa leaves behind three adult children and three grandchildren that she adored. Two of her children are engaged. She loved her family and was looking forward to their marriages. In lieu of flowers, there was a request on both obituaries for donations to be made to the Cambria County Humane Society because of Theresa's love for animals.

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