War on ad­dic­tion, over­dose con­tin­ues

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — Some be­gan their opi­ate use from pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion, some through friends of­fer­ing pills, and oth­ers sim­ply seek­ing the high. But on Tues­day night, Sept. 19, at Queen Anne’s County High School, at­ten­dees of the in­for­ma­tional opi­ates ses­sion learned one hard truth: it can hap­pen to any­one, and it’s highly ad­dic­tive and tough to kick no mat­ter how they started.

As the opi­oid epi­demic con­tin­ues through­out com­mu­ni­ties na­tion­wide, and the faces of users por­trayed has gone from in­ner city res­i­dents to sub­ur­ban neigh­bors, county rep­re­sen­ta­tives thought it wise to con­tinue ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity on the drug that’s killing cit­i­zens at a high rate.

The placed by the Drug Free Coali­tion a few months ago la­bel­ing the year-to-date over­dose and death num­bers from opi­ates for county res­i­dents be­gan at 20 and 3, re­spec­tively, and has grown to 40 and 4 as of Tues­day night.

In the foyer of the high school prior to the 7 p.m. start time, Sher­iff Gary Hoff­man and Health Of­fi­cer Dr. Joseph Ciotola stood by in­for­ma­tional posters of­fer­ing pam­phlets and brochures with drug and health in­for­ma­tion.

To be­gin the com­mu­nity aware­ness event, which also took place at Kent Is­land High School on Thurs­day night, the FBI pro­duced doc­u­men­tary, “Chas­ing the Dragon: The Life of an Opi­ate Ad­dict,” which chron­i­cled the use, abuse and

stories of mul­ti­ple peo­ple deal­ing with opi­oid ad­dic­tions, was shown. The film showed or­di­nary peo­ple, many of which with sup­port­ive up­bring­ings in sta­ble house­holds, go from al­co­hol and mar­i­juana use to heroin and the ef­fects it had on them.

The in­abil­ity to move due to with­drawal sick­ness, steal­ing and pawn­ing any­thing in sight, and even­tual over­doses and ar­rests were some of the neg­a­tive side ef­fects peo­ple in­ter­viewed men­tioned while de­scrib­ing the chal­lenge of the ad­dic­tion.

To hit closer to home af­ter the doc­u­men­tary fin­ished, three Queen Anne’s County par­ents took to the podium and de­scribed their chil­dren’s ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing opi­oids.

Tony Reno, whose son An­thony over­dosed at age 21 af­ter snort­ing opi­ates with a friend, said his son was pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion for anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, which even­tu­ally lead him to pur­chase heroin. Reno said his son pur­chased the opi­ate be­cause he was un­able to get pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion any­more.

While at a friend’s house af­ter pick­ing up a half a gram from un­der the Kent Nar­rows Bridge, Reno said, his son and friend over­dosed and died from a tenth of a gram be­cause it was laced with Fen­tanyl. He said drug deal­ers, to make a larger profit, will cut the drugs with un­known sub­stances to grow their sup­ply.

Reno said the ad­dic­tion prob­lem is a war that can’t be to­tally won, but with ed­u­ca­tion death pre­ven­tion is pos­si­ble. He also said kids are in­tro­duced to drugs at an early age and that find­ing al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of treat­ment is key to con­trol­ling opi­ate use.

Chris Jones, whose son Bran­don died of an over­dose, said her son was al­ways out to please peo­ple and was a “mama’s boy.” In March 2015, Jones said she had her son ar­rested as it was the only op­tion to get him help.

Jones re­called how she would give him money, which he used to buy mar­i­juana and other things, and how he had stolen jew­elry and pawned it. Jones said she went to the jew­eler to re­trieve the gems and a piece of her mother’s jew­elry, who had passed away.

Jones read parts of a let­ter her son sent her while he was in jail de­scrib­ing, in de­tail, his sit­u­a­tion and how he ended up in­car­cer­ated. He de­scribed how he and a friend would go over the Bay Bridge and pick up drugs, about how when he was on house ar­rest af­ter rob­bing Bal­ti­more Raven’s owner Steve Bus­ciotti his drug deal­ers would drop the drugs off at the house.

He de­scribed how, af­ter getting kicked out of a house in Den­ton, he cut all the cop­per wire from the at­tic and garage, and how he and a friend set up guy and robbed him of $200.

“I hated the way I was liv­ing,” Jones read from the let­ter. “...I’m not proud of any of it.”

Jones told the au­di­ence never to turn their back on their kids, but to also not en­able them. She said to let the per­son know ev­ery day how loved they are, or they will find some­thing, such as opi­ates, that will.

Start­ing on Oct. 3 and re­peat­ing ev­ery Tues­day at the Nielsen Cen­ter, 205 N. Lib­erty Street, Centreville, a sup­port group will meet for fam­i­lies strug­gling with opi­ate mis­use. The meet­ing is free and goes from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For in­for­ma­tion, contact Ryan at 410-7581306 ext. 4525 or email Kate. Ryan@mary­land.gov.

A sec­ond Kent Is­land Town Hall will take place at Stevensville Mid­dle School at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.


Sher­iff Gary Hoff­man in­tro­duces the movie, “Chas­ing the Dragon: The Life of an Opi­ate Ad­dict,” dur­ing an opi­ates and heroin aware­ness event at Queen Anne’s County High School on Tues­day, Sept. 19.


Chris Jones, a Queen Anne’s County res­i­dent, shared her ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with her son’s opi­ate use dur­ing a opi­oid, heroin aware­ness event at Queen Anne’s County High School on Tues­day, Sept. 19.

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