senator-jim-mathias-speaking Worcester County Warriors Worcester County Maryland

As the rain poured down on Ocean City, the litany of tourists teetered onto their beach house decks. But in the high arched walls of the First Presbyterian Church, the tone was somber, filling the room of around 50 attendees. This was the third meeting of the Worcester County Warriors, a group dedicated to providing education, awareness, support and access to resources for those affected by the opioid epidemic. Heidi McNeely, a founding member of the Warriors and mother to a son who suffered from opiate addiction, gave the opening words. "We are tired of the heroin epidemic, we are tired of the overdoses and we are tired of the deaths," McNeely said. "We're advancing this mission so we can save this county." Following McNeely's opening remarks, she introduced Senator Jim Mathias, who had powerful words regarding the epidemic. "I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands, but if I...

About 50 people – advocates, teachers, nurses, lawyers, parents and children of addicts, and those on the road to recovery – came to the first meeting of the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction last Thursday at the Ocean Pines Library. Jackie Ball and Heidi McNeely, two local mothers who have watched their children struggle with heroin addiction, organized the meeting. “It makes me cry to see so many people tonight,” McNeely, a Bishopville resident, said. “I think we are all so thrilled. “We have formed this group out of a passionate desire to eradicate opiate abuse and deaths in our county,” she continued. “We want to be able to help the people that we love, whose lives have been altered by opiate abuse, and to help each other in this tumultuous journey of loving someone who is addicted to opiates, or having loved someone whose life was ended as...

launching-treatment-program Worcester County Warriors Worcester County Maryland

Six months ago, two mothers who had watched their children struggle with heroin addiction stood in a conference room in the Ocean Pines Library with about 50 strangers during what was the first meeting of their new group, the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction. Information was exchanged, tearful stories were told and a larger discussion was started by founders Jackie Ball and Heidi McNeeley about what can people do to help friends and family members struggling with addiction. A month later, during the group’s second meeting, attendance had swelled to nearly 300, partially because a series of fatal overdoses in the area drove even more people to ask that same question. By this time, delegates and senators had gotten involved, along with local law enforcement, officials from local schools, and several workers from the Worcester County Health Department.

Worcester County Warriors Worcester County Maryland on local-news

The heroin epidemic is widespread across Maryland and being described as cheap, powerful, plentiful and probably in your backyard but let's face it, this isn't a new topic but a local group that's fighting back is. "I wish we could be talking about the orioles or the nationals game right now. This is a tough subject that we're here for tonight," said Corey Hassett, a recovered opiate addict. Corey is from Berlin and he says speaking in anonymous meetings is easy but this gathering Tuesday night was anything but anonymous. It was a meeting of Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction and Hassett's family sat in the audience. He says it's the first time he's talked about his addiction to them and he admits it's one of the hardest things he's ever done. Hassett says he thought he had kicked his long term addiction until a doctor prescribed him opiates...

Worcester County Warriors Worcester County Maryland meeting at church

Founders of Worcester County Warriors Against Opiates, Heidi McNeely and Jackie Ball, hosted a meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Ocean City on July 21 to present more information to people interested in fighting the growing drug addiction in the area. Speakers included Bernard Sarkissian from The Retreat Center demonstrating Meditation and Music Therapy as a tool in fighting addiction along with Chrissy Ehrhart from Zenna Wellness discussing Yoga and Sound Therapy. Dr. Michael Hooper discussed the new Vivitrol Vaccine that blocks the effect of euphoria from drugs and to round out the meeting, Ryan Ellis, a recovering addict, talked about his journey into and out of drug addiction. Pictured, from left, are McNeely, Hooper, Ehrhart, Sarkissian and Ellis. Photo by Ted Page