Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

November 14, 2013

Opening up on teen drug abuse

Forum to tackle real dangers of addiction

(Continued)

Heseltine said that while heroin goes for around $40 a bag, enough to get high for a day or so, a Percocet or Vicodin pill costs $70 or $80 apiece on the street.

“The cheap alternative is heroin,” he said.

Weiksnar, who studied at MIT, has written a book about the heroin addiction that led to her daughter’s death. She said her daughter admitted she was an addict in November 2009 and voluntarily entered treatment.

“Five weeks later, just shy of her 21st birthday, she died from an overdose at the treatment facility,” Weiksnar writes in her book, “Heroin’s Puppet.”

“I wrote this book so parents, educators, clinicians and young people can learn from my daughter’s six-year battle with substances,” Weiksnar wrote in a press release.

Weiksnar, a frequent speaker on teen substance abuse, also has a son who graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover.

“Despite my undergrad from MIT and two master’s degrees, four years ago, I was clueless about the extent of this epidemic,” Weiksnar said. “Now, I am determined to educate families based on my experience.”

In addition to Weiksnar, a probation officer, a school guidance counselor and parent support advocates with Learn2Cope will also attend next week’s forum, Fahey said. The forum is open to students, parents and residents of Andover and surrounding communities.

“The Andover Police Department and Andover Youth Services see firsthand that America’s No. 1 public health problem, adolescent substance use, is on the rise in our community,” Fahey said. “We want to raise public awareness and offer solutions at the forum. Everyone needs to know what’s happening today, from grade school to the elderly.”

Staff writer Bill Kirk contributed to this story.

IF YOU GO

What: “Just Listen: The Real Deal: Substance Abuse in Andover, 2013,” a community forum hosted by Andover Police Department and Andover Youth Services

When: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m.

Where: Old Town Hall, 20 Main St.

How: Free

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