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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, March 31, 2016

McNeill Hosts Second Town Hall on Heroin Epidemic

Dan McNeill hosts Second Town Hall about heroin epidemic
I caught half of State Rep. Dan McNeill's Town Hall at Coplay's American Club Pavilion last night concerning the current heroin and opioid addiction epidemic.  There were about forty people in the audience including a few parents, teachers and high school students. McNeill did practically none of the talking. Instead, we heard from three parents whose children died as a result of heroin addiction. In addition, two young ladies who are in the very early stages of recovery spoke. One has been clean for just 76 days, and spent much of the meeting shaking The other has only been sober for two months.

A Drug Overdose Parent

Sharon Stauffer, a mother from Emmaus, had the most poignant advice. "If you're gut's telling you there's something wrong, there's something wrong." She lost her son Ryan to a heroin overdose in 2010. He dide with two needles stuck in his arm and eight empty bags of heroin at his side.

He started his drug use in 2001, smoking marijuana. Now most people don't progress from that to marijuana, bit he did because he is an addict. He had battled his addiction fro years, in and out of rehabs.

Three months before his death, friends noticed needle marks in his arms and he began crying. "I can't stop," he told them.

Before he overdosed, he made an appointment to see a counselor. She couldn't see him for a few days because one of her other clients had just overdosed and had died.

"I could be doing a lot better," he told her.

"A least you're not dead," said the counselor.

Three days later, he was.


Sarah McCann, 76 days clean

Sarah McCann
Sarah McCann, age 24, is a cutie from New York's finger lakes. Literally, she's a farmer's daughter. And a heroin addict. She's still in a very fragile condition, and was shaking as she waited her turn to speak.

She began dating early, at 14, and began abusing heroin with her boyfriend.

In May of last year, she discovered that she had become pregnant. But doctors told her she would lose the baby, and she did. Depressed, she abused heroin even more. Then her grandmother, with whom she was very close, passed away. That made he rmore depressed, and the drug abuse continued.

Forty bags a day.

Things came to a screeching halt when her boyfriend of ten years died as a result of a heroin overdose.His parents blamed her and refused to allow her to attend the viewing. She was accused of supplying the fatal dose. "I wish I had been the one who gave it to him," she said. "Maybe it wouldn't have killed him.

The good thing about Sarah's story is that she's only 23 and has a long life ahead of her.

Heroin Caucus. 

State Rep. McNeil, said he and another State Rep will be forming what he calls a "heroin caucus" to find ways to combat this epidemic. According to everyone there, this is going to be a banner year.

Parent Support Group

If you have a teenage child suffering from addiction or alcoholism, .this is a place for support and encouragement. This group meets every Thursday, 7 pm, at First Presbyterian Church of Allentown, 3231 Tilghman St, Allentown, PA 18104.  For more information, contact Donna Jacobsen at DonnaJacobsen657@gmail.com

I will tell you about other support groups in upcoming posts.


Anonymous said...

Great job Danny, but it seems you are the only one talking about it until it hits home for the majority.

What ever happened to the PSAs that played all the time in the 70s about the problem, you know the monkey on your back and the fried egg etc? why don't they start bringing these PSAs back? They seemed to help back in the day when we lost so many rock stars to drug overdose.

Anonymous said...

This issue still doesn't get the attention it deserves. Thanks to Rep. McNeill and I hope others get on the it as well. This is in all our communities.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Eat to much you get fat, diabetes, heart disease, ect. worse epidemic in America, kills hundreds of thousands a year.

69news reported local schools have dangerous levels of lead in the water and the Flint water issue appears to be nationwide.

Heroin should be the least of our concerns, we haven't gotten the "eating and drinking" thing right yet.

I will admit however that trying to improve what we eat and drink, no matter how beneficial, will not increase money spent on law enforcement the way a heroin epidemic would.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nobody suggested last night that they way to solve this epidemic. People instead focused on the importance of education and keeping lines of communication open between parents and their children. And as it happens, the reports about high Pb levels in Allentown and Bethlehem schools were horseshit spread by an irresponsible Lehigh professor who should be sued to recoup the testing costs. Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in Pa, and an anonymous asshole like you is making light of it bc it might interfere with your ability to get high.

George Ruth said...

This against the backdrop of Obama releasing from prison thousands of 'low level' drug dealers. There is no such thing. I'll bet dollars to donuts that these poor souls who got hooked on heroin were not unfamiliar with pot and other 'recreational' drugs supplied by those 'low level' types. And while we're at it let's not forget that the vast majority of heroin is coming across the boarder with Mexico, a nation the president defends even as they turn a blind eye to their exportation of this drug to our country. And no, Trump is not my first choice for president.

Anonymous said...

Let the learning begin,
What was the leading cause of accidental death in Pa before opioid overdoses? Anyone?

Education is the key, so glad they focus on education, I agree, however should we ferret out all the full of shit professors first to make that so needed education effective?

Maybe these youngsters see educators and parents as being hypocritical and full of shit, maybe that's the real epidemic, the kids see that everyone and everything is full of shit, and heroin is the antidote, and in making that choice they become part of the raging epidemic of being full of shit too.

Bill said...

Hi Bernie

In respect to the perception that these are "low lifes" I have copied Chris Christie talking about a law school colleague that is worth watching.


Overdose deaths are now the second leading cause of death for those under 70 and in PA the leading cause of death for our young people.

That we make up 4.3% of the world population yet consume 85% of the opiates is not unrelated.

Anonymous said...

A Cutie? Sexist asshole

Anonymous said...

Got weed?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill for the link.

On this issue (Trump's Attorney General) Chris Christie has it right!

I only hope that Christie gets help for his eating disorder before we hear on the news his heart exploded. We might even learn from Christie's weight loss and recovery what will help with other addictions. As far as that goes, Al Sharpton seems to have got the monkey off his back.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Let the learning begin,
What was the leading cause of accidental death in Pa before opioid overdoses? Anyone"

Car accidents. Try google once in a while.


Bernie O'Hare said...

George Ruth, That was an irresponsible move on Obama's part.

Anonymous said...

Over the last 20 years driver education classes in the high schools has been all but eliminated yet car accidents are down. I find that interesting.

It's also interesting that more than half of all overdoses are from prescription drugs and not illegal heroin. So unless Obama released a bunch of doctors, that's not the problem here, no matter how it's otherwise irresponsible.

The efficacy of reconstituting prescription opioids to make them unable to snort or shoot hasn't worked and probably increased illegal heroin use where dose amounts are inconsistent.

Since our military involvement in Afghanistan that country went from 0% heroin production to producing 90% of the worlds heroin. Surely that's not helping curtail supply.

If an enemy wanted to design a dirty bomb, one that would look like a drug epidemic it would seem like they have many unwitting accomplices.

It would be something if we find that after all the education, all the interdiction, all the rehabilitation, it all comes right back to a individual's choice to Just say no, one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

Bill said...

About one in ten persons with a substance use disorder gets treatment, and typically it is for a shorter duration and intensity than needed. We know that intensive services to persons with a SUD work. Impaired physicians get long term care and three to five years of case management that includes random urine testing. These programs have an 85% five year success rate. That study, and a number of other cited facts can be found here: http://pro-a.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/PRO-A-Addiction-Recovery-Fact-Sheet16vWEB-Interactive.pdf