Mom Affected By Drug Epidemic Hopes Program Helps End Problem

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A string of overdoses have ripped through Anne Arundel County, with police saying more than a dozen people overdosed in just one day. Three of those died.

This, as the governor declares a state of emergency in response to Maryland’s ongoing crisis with heroin and opioid addiction. Governor Larry Hogan announced $50 million in funding over five years to help fight the opioid epidemic.

In Baltimore, authorities report they had 35 drug overdoses over the weekend. A crisis some fear is only getting worse.

The opioid epidemic continues to crush loved ones across Maryland.

In Anne Arundel County this week, 16 reported opiate overdoses in just one day. Last year, roughly 1,200 people died from drug overdoses statewide, with nearly half of those in Baltimore City.

“It’s completely shattered our family,” said Colleen Hosler, who son died from overdosing on heroin.

Grief that’s unimaginable.

“Pain I probably can’t even explain,” said Toni Torch, whose son died of an overdose.

Loved ones left wondering why.

“Nothing could ever be the same again,” said Hosler. “Our family is not whole anymore.”

Officials at Union Memorial say more often than not, a patient that ends up in the ER for overdosing, winds up back at the hospital hours later after overdosing yet again.

Colleen Hosler’s son, Christopher, died from overdosing on heroin back in 2008.

“It escalated really quickly,” said Hosler. “Me, being just a mom, didn’t know anything about heroin.”

The heartbroken mother is helping Medstar hospitals. Those like Union Memorial, offer the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program.

It’s a different approach where peer recovery coaches attempt intervention with patients as soon as they’re admitted.

“We make it so a patient comes in and has the opportunity to live another day,” said Natalie Hough, peer recovery coach at Medstar hospitals.

With counselors who’ve battled addiction themselves.

“By me having that experience, it opens up an automatic rapport,” Hough said.

For Colleen Hosler, it’s a chance to make sure other moms aren’t stepping into her shoes.

“It’s happening in your family somewhere. It happened in my family, it wasn’t suppose to, but it did,” Hosler said.

Officials continue to express concern about the use of the drug Fentanyl, which is even more powerful than heroin.

Colleen Hosler is the head of a support group for families of people who are battling addiction. She urges any mother or family member who needs help, to get in contact with her at 443-956-9618.

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