Last May 21, 2017, Two addiction counselors from Westchester, PA were found dead from opioid overdoses inside the same halfway house facility where the drug addicts they were treating resides.
Police said that emergency medical teams arrived at Freedom Ridge Recovery Lodge Sunday afternoon after residents found the counselors unresponsive and called 911. The men died at the scene and their identities have yet to be released by authorities.
Both men worked and were at the home as on-site counselors. They also handled all medications, dispensing them as well as making sure they were locked away properly. While many addiction counselors are also former addicts, no information has been given if this was the case for the two men.
Law enforcement officers also found heroin and fentanyl baggies with "Superman" and “Danger” logos in the counselors’ rooms and have issued a warning to the public to be on the lookout for these marked baggies, saying they contain drugs “likely to kill anybody who uses them.”
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said that “If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example. Opioids are a monster that is slowly consuming our population.”
This story - along with the recent CDC estimate that there are 91 overdose deaths a day in the United States alone - points to the fact that the menace of drug addiction continues to be a prevalent and disturbing trend in today's society. Researchers from McGill University in Canada last week also released a study wherein this acceptance of the culture of drugs - seeing it on media, having friends who use it, it seems to be a societal norm - is actually influencing a growing number of people who think they can just use drugs recreationally. These people are actually in the biggest danger of becoming the most easily addicted.
Drug use and addiction have huge negative emotional and mental health consequences to both the addict and those around him. But there is also a very real financial cost to addiction. It contributes to poverty levels since the drugs are expensive and addiction usually leads to the loss of salaries and employment. A large number of addicts will commit crimes to pay for their drugs, which then affects the cost of healthcare, drug addiction treatment and rehab programs, and additional law enforcement.
Addiction is a continuing menace to society. It breaks up the family and can even trap future generations in a cycle of continued poverty, and addiction, and poor financial management. If those who are supposed to help other addicts, fall victim to the drugs themselves, concerned citizens need to stay vigilant and need to work with law enforcers to try and end this crisis even more than ever.