Toward the end of last October my son, William, was rushed to the hospital after experiencing cardiac arrest. After six weeks of hospitalization, during which he was in a coma, it became clear that he would remain in a persistent vegetative state. We made the painful decision to remove him from a respirator, and he died within 24 hours. The cause of his cardiac arrest was a heroin overdose. Most likely heroin foolishly combined with alcohol or benzodiazepines sufficient enough to cause him to stop breathing and reduce the supply of oxygen to his brain long enough to result in devastating brain damage.
Recently I came across an article in the New York Post by Madeleine Scinto, Inside the Lucrative World of Ecstasy Smuggling. The article details the manufacture of MDMA in labs hidden in the woods on the east and west coasts of Canada, MDMA being the main ingredient in Ecstasy. The product is then smuggled into the U.S., where a single dealer, Ragan, grosses up to $45,000 a month for a few hours of work a day selling in New York City. Ragan works at the end of the line of a $4 million a year business where the middlemen who transport and distribute the drug in the tri-state area gross between $200,000 and $350,00 a month each.
When William died his mother, sister, and I determined to create a fund in his memory “to educate and inform people about drug abuse and its prevention, to provide ever more enlightened treatment for addicts, to help make treatment options for addicts more readily available, and to remove the stain of shame surrounding this disease.” Friends have been exceedingly generous, and the fund continues to grow. As donations continue to come in we are encouraged and deeply touched. I often receive the report of the newest donation and am moved to tears.
I read about Ragan and her confederates Nick and Chad and am moved to anger. In the two months that our fund in memory of William has been in existence we’ve raised a little more than half Ragan’s monthly gross. Make no mistake. Our family is exceedingly grateful for what has been given in William’s name. My anger and frustration come from the scale of the fight we’re engaged in. This article happened to be about Ecstasy. Add to that heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, pills, plus whatever I’ve forgotten or remain ignorant about. William, a Manhattanite, spent some time in rehab this past summer in a facility in eastern Long Island. Nearly all the people he was with were young adults like him, many from Long Island. One of his biggest discoveries was that the Long Island addicts were getting their heroin via the same supplier, the same brand, stamped and labeled on each ten-dollar bag. Someone who is surely making more than Ragan, Nick and Chad.
I have no answers. David against Goliath doesn’t begin to describe our fight. More like David against Goliaths. I do know that we remain committed to using whatever resources we can muster: monetary, human, collective and individual – to fight the disease of addiction.
To read the entire Post article, go here: http://bit.ly/VshXEX
For information on the Where There’s A Will Fund: http://bit.ly/TbKu2M