Heroin Spotlight Needed
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for taking this strong stand on this very serious heroin issue in our communities. It has too long been swept under the rug or simply ignored.
My nieces, who are now 20-somethings, told me years ago when they were teens that heroin use in our community was widespread but it was so hard to believe and otherwise we never heard anything about it. I talk to my daughter all the time and share my own horror stories of people I knew 30-plus years ago who were addicted to crack and I talk to her about the evils of addictive substances and abuse. However, it still had not really touched me until about a month ago when I was in the ER at AGH for a minor injury that I can’t even remember now because of what happened while I was there that has blotted everything else out.
I was in the main waiting room when suddenly a staff member started shouting and a blaring alarm went off. In the next seconds several staff came running from the back exam area past me to the main ER entrance where they began frantically working to revive someone. There was shouting and several times I heard the words, “There’s no pulse, I can’t get a pulse” and then someone said, “It’s an overdose … heroin!” Suddenly they were all coming towards me while still working on this person who’s heart had stopped beating. As they rushed past me, I saw that it was a boy, or maybe a young man, late teens or early 20s, and he was pale and lifeless. They came so close to me I could have touched him.
As they disappeared into the back, a boy and a girl about the same age as the boy on the gurney ran past following them. The girl continued into the back exam area while the boy stayed in the waiting room and started making a phone call. He was calling the parents of the boy who had overdosed. At that point, I started praying. I was already softly crying. I have seen an overdose victim before, but it was years ago when I was an early 20-something and somehow it never seemed real. That person back then recovered and, being young and still not really fully comprehending our mortality, we just never thought about it again. However that night in the ER, seeing that boy, clinically dead, and now having a teenager of my own, it has affected me very deeply.
There in the ER I cried and I prayed for that boy. And I cried and I prayed for his parents. And I prayed for the other boy who had to call them and tell them that their son had overdosed. And I prayed for that other boy and for the girl who witnessed their friend overdosing and who may very well go to jail for it and I blessed them for caring enough about him to bring him in regardless of the consequences to themselves. So many lives may have been destroyed by that one awful and senseless act. I never found out if that boy made it or not. I asked at the desk on my way out if they knew but, of course, they couldn’t tell me either way. However, one comment was made that chilled me to the bone. “We see this once, sometimes twice, almost every day.” It still chills me every time I think about that statement and I think about it a lot.
I want to do something to help stop this; to help educate young people and/or help them if needed but I don’t know how or where to start. Is there a specific person or group I may contact? How may I contact the woman you wrote about, Marie Allen? You’re not going to believe this by the way. Marie Allen was my mother’s name. When I read Marie’s story and saw her name, I knew that this was more than just coincidence and that I must get involved. If you can offer some suggestions or direction, I would greatly appreciate it.
Again, thank you for giving us a voice on this most serious issue.
Amy A. Morgan
Race Support Expressed
Susan G. Komen Maryland would like to express our gratitude to all those who participated in and supported the 5th annual Ocean City Race for the Cure for 2016. This year, the event took place on Saturday, April 16, a warm, sunny spring day, which brought out over 2,000 participants and spectators along the Boardwalk, Pier and Inlet Race Village.
We are extremely grateful to Maryland State Senator James Mathias, who was recognized as Honorary Chairperson of the event. Senator Mathias spoke from the main stage in the race village and from the start line stage prior to the race, inspiring the gathered race participants with his enthusiasm and energy for the cause.
Komen Maryland staff and Board would like to express our great appreciation to Mayor Rick Meehan, and the Ocean City Town Council and agencies, including Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Public Safety and Transportation, for making this event possible. These many individuals enable us to utilize town resources such as the inlet parking lot and Boardwalk to hold the event and assist in creating a safe environment for the many attendees at the race. A very special thanks to Councilwoman Mary Knight, for her continued support over the past five years, and for taking part as a speaker on the main stage to announce the Parade of Pink, honoring over 200 survivors.
It is through the cooperation of the town of Ocean City, many generous local business sponsors, Sparks Productions, committee members and volunteers, that Komen Maryland is able to create this successful annual event, which raised $175,000 this year. The income from the race supports local grant funded breast health programs across the state of Maryland, providing direct support for breast cancer education, screenings, diagnosis and treatment, as well as support for survivors and their families. Komen Maryland also contributes a portion of all income from the race series to clinical research at national institutions, including Maryland based hospitals such as Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Medical Center.
We are also proud to acknowledge that since 1998, Komen Maryland has invested more than $4.2 million in programs specifically serving the Eastern Shore of Maryland. These programs provide everything from education, screening, treatment and survivor support to access to clinical trials for women right here on the Eastern Shore affected by breast cancer.
As a breast cancer survivor living on the Eastern Shore, I continue to be inspired and energized by all the families and teams who work to make this event a success. Their drive to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones shines with exuberance and enthusiasm on race day, as we all gather to run or walk with the “promise of a world without breast cancer” in our minds and hearts. As a staff member of Komen Maryland, I have the great privilege of seeing where and how our contributions touch individuals in our local community every day, and how we further the science to make the advances possible, so there will be ever more survivors, better outcomes and a future where no one will die from breast cancer.
Please visit our website for more information or to become more involved with our organization and the Ocean City Race for the Cure: www.komenmd.org
(The writer is the Community health Manager for Susan G. Komen Maryland
Downtown Project Concerns
For the last couple of weeks I have been reading articles concerning the newly proposed development of the Cropper property next to the Route 50 Bridge. It has interested me that no one seems to have spoken up against this project and that the Ocean City Planning Commission seems to be leaning favorably toward approving it as presented.
The real truth is an eight-story hotel on this site is, in no way, a conforming use to the rest of the area. Do a visual survey of the bayside, in lower Ocean City, and you will not find any other buildings more than four or possibly five stories. An eight-story hotel will stand out like a sore thumb and be distracting. Secondly, I seem to recall a rather extensive discussion on the final look of the new water tower at First Street. If you drive over the Kelley Bridge (as I do almost daily), you will soon realize that this proposed hotel would block the view of the water tower for an appreciable part of the drive into town. So why build the tower, argue about its appearance and then block its view.
Someone in our town needs to get irritated over this proposal that is being presented by a Baltimore Developer and their hired local attorney. Again the city is being compromised by people who do not live here and who will not have to see the distorted Ocean City skyline that this building will create. I certainly hope that community leaders, such as yourself, would take a stand against this proposal and demand that the Ocean City Planning Commission, and City Council, reduce the size of this hotel to make it conform to the rest of the area.