BERLIN — During the closing statements at Monday’s Berlin Town Council meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Hall expressed her deep concern about the size and scope of the heroin problem on the peninsula. Her comments mirrored concerns that have been voiced regionally and nationally for the past few years.
“As a mother and a grandmother I am terrified.” Hall said, “This is an unusual area to raise children. I am really concerned we will lose a lot of local children this summer. Everyone wants to look the other way, but this heroin problem isn’t going away.”
Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing also brought heroin up in his departmental report, making the Mayor and Council aware that Berlin police officers have been trained in the use of the heroin antidote pens “narcan”.
“There has been a rise in drug overdoses, specifically the last three weeks in the tri-county, we’ve moved forward as an agency and trained our officers and agents in the field in the use of the narcan antidote,” said Downing.
Downing explained that these antidote pens can temporarily reverse the symptoms of an opiate overdose and have the potential to save countless lives as the nation and the eastern shore continues to battle the opioid epidemic.
Heidi McNeely, a local woman with first-hand experience of the terrible impacts opiod addiction can have on a family, has started a new support group for those affected by opiate addiction.
McNeely is looking to use her knowledge, perspective and experience to help others overcome their dependency.
The Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction will hold its first meeting Thursday, April 7 at the Ocean Pines Library at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
McNeely’s son has struggled with heroin addiction and was arrested in 2014. As the size of the heroin problem grows on the Eastern Shore, McNeely hopes this group will help families who find themselves in this position with the knowledge of how to proceed.