Carroll County Emergency Responder's Letter to Editor on Heroin and Prescription Drug Problem
A candidate forum was held by the League of Women Voters. At the forum, I raised the significant 263% increase in drug overdose deaths in Carroll as a major issue I wanted to aggressively address, and noted that the last year-end numbers from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed Carroll County had more heroin deaths than Frederick or Howard counties, and more prescription opiad deaths than Prince George's County. I also noted that our Carroll County Health Department stated we have an "epidemic" right now. My opponent said we do not have a heroin epidemic, and that our major issue is marijuana. I strongly disagreed, and contend this shows why after 20 years their is a need for new leadership in combating the drug abuse issue.
Our police, who have endorsed me for State's Attorney, and our emergency responders know the severity of the heroin and prescription drug issue that we face. Thank you to Mr. Cox for publicly recognizing this fact in his letter to the editor.
Letter: Address county's heroin problem
Carroll County Times
By W. Rodney Cox
I recently watched the debate between State’s Attorney candidates Jerry Barnes and Brian DeLeonardo and, after hearing Barnes’ closing statement that a top law enforcement official stated to a health department official that there is no heroin epidemic in Carroll County, it doesn’t exist, and Carroll’s major drug problem is and always has been marijuana, I was stunned.
When I first joined the volunteer fire department 35 years ago you could count on one hand the overdose calls we responded to. Now, you need both hands and feet to county the calls we respond to in a week.
While in the waiting room at Carroll Hospital Center recently, I heard a boy that could have been no more than 15 years old look at his father and exclaim “but I really need my fix daddy,” and his father said “you’ll get it.”
Go into Sheetz on any given night in Westminster and you’ll never see so many people who go in there stoned. I don’t know where Barnes has been in the last few years, but this nation is experiencing an epidemic of heroin use that’s been the worst there’s ever been. Some jurisdictions are allowing police officers to carry Narcan in a spray to administer to overdose patients.
I’ve seen a Ceasar report that the governor of Massachusetts has declared a state of emergency in response to heroin use, and with officials like Martin O’Malley, Anthony brown and now Barnes, it is no wonder Carroll County may be the safest county in Maryland. But it won’t be if we deny there’s a problem.
I urge every citizen, police officer and EMS provider and medical professional, if you are tired of treating heroin addicts, if you want our children to be safe from the corner pushers, if you are tired of seeing our homes and property broken into, on June 24 join me in voting for DeLeonardo as our next State’s Attorney.
W. Rodney Cox