For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 2, 2017
County Cable Montgomery show
looking into the heroin epidemic
hits record views for a CCM video
‘Montgomery County: A Closer Look’ talked with experts
and families of victims to show that
the nationwide problem
is prominent in unexpected households locally
ROCKVILLE, Md., March 1, 2017—The first show of a new series on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), Montgomery County’s government cable station, this week surpassed 20,000 online views—making it the most-watched issue-based video in the history of the station. The first show of the series “Montgomery County: A Closer Look” studied how the nationwide heroin epidemic has become a prominent problem in Montgomery County, impacting families that could never imagine it would be a problem in their homes.
Heroin—The Quiet Epidemic debuted on CCM in September. It also became available via streaming at the Montgomery County web site at http://tinyurl.com/z9982v8 and on YouTube at https://youtu.be/RkHtrNxkXPE . In the first week of its release on YouTube, the 30-minute video was viewed more than 2,500 times.
The show originally aired on CCM, which can be viewed on Cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast; Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon. The show additionally was broadcast on the Montgomery Community Media station, which also is a member of the County’s organization of PEG (Public / Education / Government) cable channels.
Heroin – The Quiet Epidemic is about the rise of overdose cases over the last five years in the County. The show tells the story of families who found themselves trying to battle the epidemic, with some of the efforts too late. One Montgomery County death involved the daughter of a Montgomery County judge, who is featured in the show.
The show also provides signs that parents should aggressively look for—even if they believe there is no reason to suspect their child has a drug problem.
“Every parent needs to watch it,” said a review of the video in the independent online news source Rockville View.
A report released in June 2016 by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows the number of deaths related to heroin, prescription opioids or fentanyl has more than doubled statewide since 2010. In that year, there were 588 such reported deaths in Maryland, including 238 by heroin. In 2015, there were 1,439 such reported deaths statewide, including 748 by heroin. In 2015, Montgomery County had 37 deaths.
In the video, the CCM cameras were allowed into a meeting of the Montgomery County organization that members have named S.O.U.L., or Surviving Our Ultimate Loss. The weekly Tuesday night group started with a handful of mothers one year ago. Its meetings now have about 25 members.
“Heroin—that word was never part of our vocabulary,” said one mother, whose son died of a heroin overdose.
Another S.O.U.L mother said: “By the time we figured out my son was addicted to heroin, it was like he had been caught in a tsunami. He was trying to swim his way out of the tsunami and we were pulling and trying to get him out of it.”
The video advises parents, once aware of the spread of the epidemic, to take a further look if their child sleeps more than normal and often complains of an upset stomach or constipation. Finding items that are out of the ordinary for a child could lead to concern.
Montgomery County authorities are in a daily battle to balance the criminal aspects of heroin with the need to get help for those affected. Many public safety units now carry the drug Narcan, which, when used in time, can pull a victim out of a heroin overdose. The video also talks about Montgomery County’s Drug Court that provides an alternative to jail for some people charged with violations of drug laws. However, legal and treatment options cannot keep up with the increasing demand.
“We are fortunate in Montgomery County to have organizations like S.O.U.L. and individuals like Judge Nelson Rupp, who has committed to much time and effort to making Drug Court a remarkable success,” said County Councilmember Marc Elrich, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee and is featured in the show. “We have passed the Good Samaritan law to encourage people to call 911 in cases of suspected overdose without fear of prosecution, and we are doing our best to get Narcan into the hands of all of our first responders, including the police. But clearly we need to do more. Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. We need to make our communities aware of the dangers of prescription opiates, remove the stigma of addiction, hold physicians accountable for overprescribing and address the pressing need for more treatment beds in the County.”
Susan Kenedy was the producer and reporter for Heroin—The Quiet Epidemic. Mike Springirth was the videographer and editor. Executive producers Sonya Healy and Delphine Harriston conceived the story idea for this edition of “Montgomery County: A Closer Look.”
"The heroin problem in our region is real and it is growing,” said Ms. Kenedy. “We were shocked to learn Montgomery County Police are responding to overdose cases on a daily basis. Awareness is the key to fighting this epidemic—people can't be afraid to talk to their kids about this devastating drug.”# # # # Release ID: 17-062