Todd Paris: Thoughts on Heroin Addiction and Recovery in Salisbury, a City Buried Alive by a Growing Drug Epidemic

Posted on August 14, 2017

Todd Paris, Salisbury Attorney and Candidate for Salisbury City Council

♦ I am an attorney. I do a lot of family and criminal law. I have done this for 30 years. I have a lot of dead former clients. In the past few years I have represented grandparents, other relatives, and close friends in custody rescue missions where parents are in jail, prison or dead or a combination of these. I end up in Rowan DSS abuse and neglect court occasionally even though I am not on that “appointed list.”

I am aware of a number of cases where young children were found trapped in cars with one or both caretakers passed out with the needles still in their arms. This is bad stuff. What if instead of the police it was a pedophile or kidnapper who wanted that child? What if the heat or cold took the child’s life? Locally children were found in motel rooms with a over-dosed or dead parents…What if?

I’m quoting myself here from a recent Facebook post:

“Let me explain this to the few folks who don’t know. The body builds up a tolerance to heroin and opiates. Eventually they stop getting you high and you have to use just to stay normal. We have a lot of those folks who turn to drug combinations and heroin laced with fentanyl to get high again. Soon after they tragically die. If you are doing this and have children, go ahead and get a grand-parent or non-addicted friend and sign a custody consent order for the kids. It will save a lot of trouble after you are gone and better that you decide who will raise your kids than DSS. I have spent the past month doing grandma rescue custody actions and with and against DSS. It’s hard for an older adult to bury an adult child and then have to fight a custody battle. Think of getting this done before you go.”

Some folks thought that harsh, however it’s real and these things are happening daily in Salisbury and Rowan County. Here are the old lawyer’s thoughts:

Methadone clinics help some folks and they are regulated by the NC Administrative Code to require a step-down over time. Unfortunately, the code allowes take-home doses over time. This has created a black market in take home doses. It is an opiate and thought to be easier to eventually quit. For some it is. Suboxone is a prescription medication combining buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine belongs to a class of drugs called opioid partial agonists, which help relieve symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Unfortunately, some folks have found ways to even get high off of this – very disgusting ways. Taking a drug to get off of a drug works for some folks, but by the time you are shooting up heroin mixed with Fentanyl you are probably too far gone for this.

Two day stays at Novant’s Care Unit, 7 day “de-tox” programs down in Kannapolis or 28 day programs at Black Mountain do not usually work at this level. You need a longer, more holistic approach. The other problem is that you are released back into the same community with the same cell number, same social media sites, same addicted friends and every time you go to the grocery store you see people you got high with previously.  Not good.

What if I told you a free, voluntary program in NC exists close enough for family to visit, yet far enough away from your local sources with a 90% plus success rate that takes addicts and turns them into productive members of society? It returns well parents to children and gives you back everything the drugs took away. You can’t get in if you have pending criminal charges. It’s called Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA) is a unique, nonprofit residential substance abuse facility located in Durham, North Carolina. It works. At the end of the program they place 100% of their folks in real jobs, reasonably far away form old contacts and with a fresh start somewhere else. Folks leave clean, sober, and with money in the bank.

It’s a free, voluntary, two year, on campus program where you can get your life back. In my experience, it works better than anything else in NC and is the only reliable help for folks “this far gone.” Yes, you might not get see your children every day, but then again your children will not get to see you die either. If you are on this stuff, call these people.

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