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Chronicle: Maine’s Heroin Epidemic Part 1

December 12, 2019


>>GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO CHRONICLE. MAINE IS IN THE MIDST OF AN EPIDEMIC. LAST YEAR, 272 MAINERS. FROM DRUG OVERDOSES, UP 31%. HEROIN ARE BLAMED FOR 157 OF THOSE DEATHS IN 2015. 111 FROM PHARMACEUTICAL OPIOIDS AND THOSE ARE PRESCRIPTION PILLS WHICH IS A GATEWAY DRUG READILY AVAILABLE RIGHT HERE. ACCORDING TO A CDC REPORT, MAINE RANKS FIRST IN THE NATION FOR LONG-TERM PRESCRIPTIONS PER CAPITA. ADDICTION IS REACHING EVERY MAINE COMMUNITY, KILLING LOVE ONE AND LEAVING FAMILIES DESPERATE FOR HELP.>>I WENT FROM PLAYING WITH MATCHBOX CARS TO PARTYING. NO IN BETWEEN.>>I NEEDED IT TO GET UP EVERY DAY, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. I NEEDED IT.>>A WAY TO ESCAPE FROM REALITY.>>DADDY IS SICK.>>I NEVER REALLY HAD HOPE FOR MYSELF. I THOUGHT I’D LIVE THAT FAST-PACED LIFESTYLE THE REST OF MY LIFE.>>IT IS SCARY HOW FAST YOU GO MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY.>>FOAMING FROM THE MOUTH. LUCKILY SOMEBODY FOUND ME.>>HE WAS UNCONSCIOUS ON THE FLOOR IN THE BATHROOM. WE THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD.>>HE WAS LAYING THERE. I SAW THE NEEDLE AND THE SPOON AND I KNEW INSTANTLY SOMETHING WAS WRONG.>>I WAS IN CLASS AT LAWRENCE HIGH SCHOOL. ASKED TO GO TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE TO HEAR THE WORST SENTENCE IN MY LIFE. WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU YOUR SON HAS BEEN FOUND DECEASED.>>IT DID NOT WORK.>>IT IS REALLY HARD TO BE MARRIED TO SOMEONE WHO IS SO ASHAMED OF HIMSELF AND HH IDES THINGS FROM YOU. BUT I WOULD STILL GIVE ANYTHING TO GIVE IT ANOTHER CHANCE.>>A LOSS OF A CHILD IS NOT SOMETHING YOU GET OVER. THERE IS A HOLE IN YOUR HEART. IT HAS BEEN SIX YEARS AND I STILL WAKE UP CRYING. DAVID: JUST SOME OF THE PEOPLE WE MET AND SOME WE HAVE LOST. TONIGHT, HOW THE HEROIN EPIDEMIC IS AFFECTING MAINERS FROM EVERY ANGLE AND THERE IS HELP. YOU WILL SEE A CONSTANT STREAM OF INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN WITH RESOURCES AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. WE BEGIN WITH A STORY THAT INTERTWINES ADDICTION. HOW MAINE’S HEROINE AND OPIOID EPIDEMIC CREPT INTO OUR STATE AND INTO ONE’S LIFE.>>I TRAVEL 200 TO 300 MILES EVERY NIGHT. DAVID: YOU CAN SAY THE DRUG OVERDOSES WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF SERGEANT MATTHEW BAKER. AN EPIDEMIC THAT CLAIMED 272 MAINERS LAST YEAR. WHEN THOSE CALLS FOR HELP COME IN, SERGEANT BAKER WAS THERE.>>VOTTO WANT TO TELL SOMEBODY THAT A FAMILY MEMBER HAS DIED. DAVID: THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 26 WILL BE NO DIFFERENT.>>WHEN I CAME HOME, EVERYTHING WAS QUIET. DAVID: THE HO USE EERILY STILL. HIS DAUGHTER, HER BOYFRIEND AND THEIR 11 MONTH OLD DAUGHTER. AMONG THE SILENCE, A LIGHT PEEKING OUT FROM THE SECOND FLOOR BATHROOM.>>NOBODY ANSWERED ME. DAVID: THE COMMOTION AWOKE THE BOYFRIEND.>>HE STARTED HOLLERING TO ME. DAVID: INSIDE, RYAN WAS SLUMPED OVER THE TOILET AND THERE WAS POWDER ON THE COUNTER.>>IT WAS OBVIOUS SHE WAS SNORTING SOMETIME OF DRUG. DAVID: SERGEANT BAKER WAS NOW ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CALL.>>I CALLED 911 AND SPOKE TO MY DISPATCHER, SAYING I NEEDED HELP. DAVID: HE PERFORMED CPR.>>THAT WAS THE LAST ACTIVITY. DAVID: WAITING FOR HELP.>>THEY GAVE HER SEVERAL DOSES OF NARCAN BUT IT WAS TOO LATE. DAVID: RONNIE BAKER DIED. HER CAUSE OF DEATH WAS ACCIDENTAL OVERDOSE ON HEROINE AND THA FENTANYL.>>WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. DAVID: THERE HAD BEEN A HISTORY OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE. PILLS, BUT NEVER HEROIN.>>ADDICTION CHANGES PEOPLE. IT MAKES GOOD PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS, BUT IT IS NOT NECESSARILY MAKE THEM BAD PEOPLE. DAVID: NOW A YEAR LATER, RONNIE’S DAUGHTER IS TWO, LIVING WITH BAKER AND HIS WIFE IN A HOUSE FULL OF MEMORIES.>>SHE LOOKS AT THE PICTURES OF HER MOM AND SHE KNOWS WHO IT IS. DAVID: WHEN SHE ASKS FOR MOM, THE TWO LOOK UP PAST THE SECOND FLOOR BATHROOM RIGHT TO THE SKY.>>I TOLD HER THE FULL MOON IS MOM. SH SAYS GOOD NIGHT, MOON AND GOOD NIGHT, MOM. DAVID: WE ARE ALL LOOKING AT THAT FULL MOON TONIGHT. SERGEANT MATTHEW BAKER JOINING US NOW WITH THE LEADER OF YOUNG PEOPLE RECOVERY IN PORTLAND. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY. WE TALKED ABOUT YOU WEARING THE UNIFORM SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE STATE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT STORY?>>IT IS HARD WATCHING THAT STORY. I WISH WE DID NOT HAVE THIS EPIDEMIC. IT DOES NOT SEEM TO BE GETTING ANY BETTER. I JUST WISH WE COULD SNAP OUR FINGERS AND START ALL OVER. DAVID: WHEN YOU WERE IN THAT MOMENT, DID YOU SEE ANY SIGNS? WE TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THERE WAS NOT A FOREWARNING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FEBRUARY NIGHT. WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU FELT, LOOKING BACK ON IT, THAT YOU FELT YOU COULD HAVE DONE? MATTHEW: I DON’T THINK I COULD HAVE CHANGED ANYTHING LOOKING BACK ON IT. TO THE BORROWING OF $40 AT A TIME OR $20 AT A TIME, OR SEEING THAT MUCH MONEY DISAPPEAR IN THOSE INCREMENTS. DEEP DOWN INSIDE, I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG. I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO FIX IT. I OFFERED MY HELP TO HER OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND SHE WOULD NOT ACCEPT THE HELP. SHE WOULD NOT ADMIT THERE WAS ANY KIND OF PROBLEM. DAVID: ANDREW, YOU SEE THIS KIND OF THING ALL THE TIME. IS IT A SIMILAR STORY THAT YOU HAVE? ANDREW: DEFINITELY. MY MOTHER IN THE SAME WAY WOULD TALK TO ME, ASK ME QUESTIONS. AND AS OFTEN AS I COULD, AS BEST I COULD, I TRIED TO BE HONEST WITH HER BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH THAT I FELT TOO SCARED AND TOO ASHAMED TO TALK TO HER ABOUT. IT REALLY WAS NOT UNTIL IT WAS TOTALLY UNDENIABLE WHAT WAS HAPPENING, THAT REAL OPEN DIALOGUE STARTED AND THE CONVERSATION SWITCHED TO, ALL RIGHT, LET’S — WHAT ARE WE DOING? LET’S TRY TO DO SOMETHING AND TRY TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. LET’S KEEP WORKING TOWARDS THIS. YEAH, THERE IS LOTS OF SIMILARITIES AND UNFORTUNATE SIMILARITIES TOO. DAVID: ONE OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT WHEN WE MET CLAIRE ADGER HOUSE — AT YOUR HOUSE, HOW GREAT SHE IS. SHE DOES KNOW WHO HER MOM IS AND YOU HAVE MADE IT A POINT THAT YOU WANT TO SHOW HER AND TELL HER ABOUT THE DISEASE. TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT. MATTHEW: ABSOLUTELY. WE KEPT EVERYTHING FROM THE TIME CLAIRE’S MOTHER WAS BORN UNTIL THE TIME WE HAD THE FUNERAL SO THAT AS CLAIRE GETS OLDER, SHE CAN BE EXPOSED TO ALL OF THIS. I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW WHO HER MOTHER WAS AND I DON’T WANT HER TO HEAR WHEN SHE IS OLDER THAT HER MOTHER WAS A BAD PERSON OR SOMETHING, BECAUSE SHE REALLY WASN’T. SHE SUFFERED FROM A DISEASE AND I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT CLEAR KNOW THAT WHEN SHE IS OLDER. DAVID: ANDREW, TO PLAYOFF THAT A BIT, HOW IMPORTANT FOR YOU — I KNOW IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT TO NOT USE WORDS LIKE ADDICT AND TO SAY THIS IS A DISEASE, A DISORDER. ANDREW: NOUNS CARRY WITH THEM A LOT OF WEIGHT. SPECIFICALLY THE WORD ADDICT, WE’RE CERTAINLY NOT TRYING TO CHANGE SAFE SPACES WHERE PEOPLE SPEAK CERTAIN LANGUAGES THAT ARE UNDERSTOOD. THAT IS AWESOME. I CERTAINLY GOT A LOT OUT OF THAT TOO. BUT IN THE PUBLIC, FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE STILL ACTIVE WITH USE, WHO ARE SEEKING RELIEF FROM THIS SHAME AND THIS FEELING OF NOT UNDERSTANDING WHY THEY CANNOT FIT IN OR CANNOT FUNCTION OR CAN’T RELATE OR CONNECT AN D LABELING — IT CARRIES A LOT OF WEIGHT AND IT SEPARATES A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM ENGAGING IN SEEKING HELPFUL BEHAVIORS. DAVID: HOW WOULD YOU LIKE SOMEONE WHO IS WATCHING THIS WAS EXPERIENCING THIS TO REACT TO THIS TONIGHT? MATTHEW: IF THEY ARE AFFLICTED WITH THIS DISEASE, I WOULD HOPE THAT THEY WOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PROJECT HOPE, PROJECT SAVE ME IN OXFORD COUNTY, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE AND THE MEDICAL PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP THEM. DAVID: WE HAVE A LOT MORE AHEAD. COMING UP, THE LIFE-SAVING DRUG ON THE FRONT LINES IN THE FIGHT OVER OVERDOSES.>>IF I CAN SAVE A LIFE, WHY NOT? THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE TO IT. I CANNOT IMAGINE WHY SOMEONE WOULD NOT HAVE THAT.

6 Comments

  • Reply Slayer Jeff January 12, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    It's bad in Sanford… Stick to the weed ppl

  • Reply Xattack21 1 November 5, 2018 at 7:38 am

    JAIL ALL THOSE DISGUSTING JUNKIES!!!

  • Reply Todd 76 December 20, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    God bless that officer
    Heart of gold.

  • Reply Fossil Diver February 28, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    There will be a Final Solution to the drug problem

  • Reply Dan Craver June 28, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    FARVA

  • Reply NonGmo1 November 8, 2019 at 1:03 am

    When crack was PUT in the Black community It was Jail time and 3 strikes you're out. Whites dying from Opioid's/heroin, a bill is passed to use Tax Payer money to HELP with special Drug courts that practice NOT to convict people, .Nothing RACIST to see here is there?
    The Opioid/Heroin overdose issue is a problem that mainly affect white America, according to Law Enforcement "We cannot arrest our way out of this" Now that white kids from the suburbs are dying, all of a sudden it's an epidemic. KARMA is a B*TCH …

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