Carroll County is battling heroin addiction

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 07:12:02-05

More than 300 people gathered in Westminster, connected by one thing.  Everyone inside St. John Catholic Church has been impacted by drug addiction.

"I was on the street in Baltimore living in abandoned row houses, stealing, doing all of the things you would think a drug addict would do," said Tim Weber, the Drug Education and Treatment Liaison for the Carroll County State’s Attorney Office.

His drug, like so many others in Carroll County, was heroin.  Leaders have been working to tackle the problem.

"In 2014 we had 32 heroin and prescription overdose deaths,” State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said.  “And that's very significant for a county this size."

Behind those number are real people, with real lives, and shattered dreams.      

"Being a heroin addict came first before anything in my life,” Evan Burrill said.  “Before being a son, before being a brother, before an employee, before being a student, before everything, I had to do whatever I could do to get those drugs."

Burrill has been helping with an effort to reach out to area students.  A video is being shown at every high school to paint the picture of addiction, and hopefully prevent teens from doing drugs.          

Carroll County was just designated a high-intensity drug trafficking area, meaning federal help is on the way.

"And what that does is it helps us go after those that are bringing heroin in from outside the county," DeLeonardo said.

Leaders hope people who came out to the vigil feel comfort, and know more about the fight.  But they also want folks struggling to know there is a way out.

"We want to spread the word and get as many resources out there for as many people as we can so we can prevent this, and maybe this will become a thing of the past one day," Jason Mckay said.

"People in recovery should stand up and speak out if they had a problem like mine,” Weber said.  “I'm not proud of where I came from, but I'm no longer ashamed of it and I use that to help other people."