MCCC hosts heroin panel discussion

     The panel is just one in a slew of attempts made by the community to bring awareness to the growing heroin problem in Monroe.

     Quartey introduced the panel of speakers to an almost full classroom in the La-Z-Boy center.

     The audience consisted of students and faculty members, recovering addicts, and parents of addicts, all of whom were not afraid to voice their concerns.

     Mayor Robert Clark even made an appearance.

     One member of the panel, Mary Morris, spoke of her daughter who has been addicted for 20 years and is now in recovery.

     Morris said that while her daughter has been on Methadone for four years, she no longer has to worry if she is alive or not while she is in treatment.

     Also on the panel was lieutenant Mary Kapp of Monroe Area Narcotics Team Investigative Services, formerly known as OMNI.

     She stated that seizures of heroin from dealers in possession with intent to deliver are up 325 percent from last year.

     April Demers of Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition, spoke very passionately about the issue and blames prescription drugs as a gateway.

    “Nobody sets out to be a heroin addict.” She said.

    Demers encouraged community members to safely dispose of their unused and expired medications through the Red Med Box service. Locations can be found at monroedrugfree.org

     It was not long into the discussion of panel members before the audience sounded off.

     Many members were parents who have lost their children to heroin addiction. The most common question was what the family could do to help to addict.

     Ty Gunthrie, recovered addict and panel member, simply put that the addict will only get help if they want it. 

     “I was arrested 13 times and none of them changed my mind.”  He said, speaking of his days as an addict.

      Gunthrie manages the Touchstone Recovery Home, which provides shelter to men who are recovering addicts.

      “We use our way right into homelessness.” He said.

      The lively discussion put the event over the scheduled time and ended with Quartey announcing there will be a Narcotics Anonymous meeting held on campus in January.