http://heroinsgrip.com Stories from the front lines of the heroin epidemic in Frederick County, Maryland.
 Tue, 09 May 2017 18:12:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://heroinsgrip.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/cropped-640x640indiegogoDylan-32x32.jpg http://heroinsgrip.com 32 32 May Newsletter http://heroinsgrip.com/may-newsletter/ Tue, 02 May 2017 14:22:36 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=154 May 2, 2017 Newsletter Written by Conrad Weaver It is hard to believe that the month of May is already here!   I am continuing to work on my new documentary film, Heroin’s Grip, and lately I’ve been spending time with Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies...

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May 2, 2017 Newsletter

Written by Conrad Weaver

It is hard to believe that the month of May is already here!   I am continuing to work on my new documentary film, Heroin’s Grip, and lately I’ve been spending time with Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies as they work hard to stop the flow of drugs into our county, and respond to heart-breaking heroin overdose cases nearly every day.  They are doing important work, and are saving lives!

In the News
Heroin addiction continues to make headlines in our area and around the country. This past Friday, April 28, the story about our film was featured in a front page article in the Frederick News-Post. In fact, nearly the entire Friday edition of the Post was filled with stories about the heroin epidemic, including a 34 page magazine that went in-depth on the issue here in Frederick County. I’m very thankful for their coverage of our film!

$25K in the Month of May!
Click to SupportWe have a goal of raising $25,000 in the month of May toward the production of Heroin’s Grip!  We need your help to accomplish this through corporate sponsorships as well as individual donations. We raised a little more than $5000 through our crowd-funding campaign, and we’re very grateful for everyone who made a contribution! That was a good start, but this is far short of the total funds we need in order to produce a high quality film like this. To make a personal contribution or a contribution “In Memory of… a loved one or friend,”  please click here. (All contributions toward Heroin’s Grip are tax-deductible thanks to our friends and partners at the Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates.)

Corporate Sponsors
Our first two corporate sponsors for our film are Securitas USA, and the American Microwave Corporation. We are grateful for their support!  If you would like your company to be represented as a sponsor please contact us!

“The opioid epidemic is affecting all communities and families from all walks of life.  We hope this documentary helps to raise awareness of, and find solutions to address the epidemic. We are grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the efforts of this film.”  – Dwayne M. Gulsby, President, Mid-Atlantic Region, Securitas Security Services, USA

“Thank you for offering American Microwave Corporation the opportunity to participate in this very important project.  I have been following the progression of this drug epidemic in America through television newscasts and find it to be overwhelming.  And now to find it at our doorstep in Frederick County Maryland really hits home.   I hope that, through your movie making skills, you can educate people about the truly destructive nature of these drugs on our friends and neighbors and help save lives. I hope that in some small way, our contribution can promote an effective solution to this growing epidemic.”  – Raymond Sicotte, Chairman & CEO, American Microwave Corporation

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Conrad Weaver
Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook!
Send me an email: Conrad@conjostudios.com

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Sponsors http://heroinsgrip.com/sponsors/ Tue, 02 May 2017 14:02:32 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=147 Here’s a listing of our corporate sponsors who have made financial contributions toward our film project. For sponsorship information, please send an email to Conrad@conjostudios.com   Friends of the Film ($1,000)

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Here’s a listing of our corporate sponsors who have made financial contributions toward our film project. For sponsorship information, please send an email to Conrad@conjostudios.com

 


Friends of the Film ($1,000)

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Heroin’s Grip In the News – Frederick News-Post http://heroinsgrip.com/heroinsgrip-in-the-news-april29/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 12:09:31 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=144 From the Frederick News Post – Originally Published April 28, 2017 Emmitsburg filmmaker explores impact of heroin, other opioids on Frederick County By Kate Masters kmasters@newspost.com Conrad Weaver didn’t plan to focus on heroin. The Emmitsburg filmmaker’s first full-length documentary, “The Great American Wheat...

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From the Frederick News Post – Originally Published April 28, 2017
Emmitsburg filmmaker explores impact of heroin, other opioids on Frederick County

By Kate Masters kmasters@newspost.com

Conrad Weaver didn’t plan to focus on heroin. The Emmitsburg filmmaker’s first full-length documentary, “The Great American Wheat Harvest,” followed farmers and their families as they traveled from Texas to the Canadian border during harvest season. His second also dealt with agriculture — specifically, the effect of extreme drought on crops in the West.

It wasn’t until Weaver saw a friend’s Facebook post about her son’s struggle with addiction that he became fully aware of the opioid epidemic in Frederick County. Soon afterward, other friends contacted him to inform him that their son was using heroin.

“It devastated me,” Weaver said, leaning back in a chair in his home office. “I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve known these people for 12 years.”

His friend’s experiences, combined with a growing number of news reports on heroin addiction across the country, inspired Weaver to explore the effects of the drug on camera. He’s now in the middle of production on “Heroin’s Grip,” a documentary that will examine the spread of heroin and other opioids in Frederick County.

The film, which he hopes to wrap by September, examines the issue from several standpoints. There are interviews with health care workers and addicts and their families, who explain the medical and personal side of addiction. Weaver also worked with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office to cover the work done by law enforcement. In the past few months, Weaver has gone on ride-alongs with deputies, interviewed officers and collected footage from the scenes of fatal overdoses.

“The issue of heroin and opioids is still in the forefront, and I thought his work was an important way to get the message out,” Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said. “I just hope it’ll have an impact on people and make a big splash.”

Circle of supporters

Also backing Weaver’s work is a group of women personally affected by the epidemic, who have similar hopes for the film’s success.

“I hope at some point it will erase the stigma that’s attached to addiction,” said Caressa Flannery, a Frederick native and the owner of the local company Create-a-Pulse Marketing. “That’s our biggest hurdle — that people want to toss addicts aside instead of treating it like a health issue.”

Flannery, 51, was the friend whose Facebook post first alerted Weaver to the immediacy of the opioid crisis in Frederick County. In February 2015, her son, Dylan, was arrested in an undercover heroin operation and served time in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. The news coverage of the event prompted Flannery to post about her son’s eight-year struggle with addiction, an issue she had previously kept hidden.

“Because I’m so active in the community, I just wanted to put it out there,” Flannery said. “It seemed like it was necessary to come clean with it all.”

Both she and Dylan were interviewed for the film, and Flannery has been helping the production by finding other people willing to speak with Weaver. She hopes that the completed documentary is screened in schools and treatment centers, but she also wants the documentary to fight misconceptions about the people who become addicted.

“I guess I hope it kind of hits you in the face, because there’s a stereotype of the people who we think get addicted to heroin,” Flannery said. “But it’s not that stereotype. It’s people like you and me.”

Carin Miller, president and co-founder of the Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, is helping with funding for the film. Donations for the project go through her organization, and she’s also become personally invested in the documentary.

Miller, a Mount Airy resident, said she spent years watching her husband and son battle addictions to prescription painkillers and heroin, respectively. Even after they got clean, she decided to keep up the fight against the drugs. Her advocacy group has raised funds for prevention efforts, testified on legislation in Annapolis and, most recently, raised enough money for a billboard in front of the Frederick County Adult Detention Center that shares up-to-date numbers on overdoses across the county.

“By this time, I thought I’d have all my children raised and be with my husband of 32 years, going on vacation,” said Miller, 56. “But I can’t, because there are kids dying all around me.”

Though Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates are still collecting donations for the film, Weaver is concerned about funding the project. He’s collected around $6,500 in donations, but hopes to raise $100,000 to complete production and market the documentary.

Beyond the expense of running a major film production, Weaver said, are the costs of advertising the finished project and submitting for entry to film festivals — one of his biggest goals for the project.

“My hope is to get it into Sundance,” Weaver said, referring to the independent film festival held annually in Park City, Utah. “Because a lot of families, they don’t know what to do. If my son were using heroin, it would be hard for me to make that public. I really want to help bring the community together because people have been afraid to tell their stories.”

Nancy Wells, a Libertytown resident, also wants wide distribution for the film. After learning about the project a few weeks ago, she now helps Weaver with outreach on behalf of her son, Randy, who died of a heroin overdose in 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island.

“After he died, my motto for myself became, I want to stand out, not stand in,” Wells said. “People need to stop sticking their heads in the sand and saying it doesn’t involve them, because I did that to a certain extent before my son got involved.

“I want these kids clean because I don’t want to see another child die or another parent crying,” she continued. “I want more people to realize — even if it’s only one — what’s happening to our kids. And I think Conrad is trying to do all of this.”

Follow Kate Masters on Twitter: @kamamasters.

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In the News – WHAG http://heroinsgrip.com/in-the-news-whag/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:01:59 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=102 Click here to watch the video. FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – In Maryland, a new documentary is in the works to help raise awareness about the young lives that are being claimed by opioid and heroin addiction in the Frederick County Maryland area. “There’s so...

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Click here to watch the video.

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – In Maryland, a new documentary is in the works to help raise awareness about the young lives that are being claimed by opioid and heroin addiction in the Frederick County Maryland area.

“There’s so much stigma, and there’s much discrimination against our children who are suffering with the disease of addiction,” Said President and Co- Founder of the Frederick County Chapter for the Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, Carin  Miller.

This is a response to the opioid and heroin addiction death toll that continues to grow not only throughout the country, but in the Frederick County Maryland area as well.

“In western Maryland we had five deaths since the Friday before last,” said Miller.

Miller has experienced opioid and heroin addiction first hand with not only her husband, but also with her son. She believes that awareness through education is key, and that’s why she’s honored to be apart of a new documentary that will touch on how this issue has impacted the area.

“For us to be offered this opportunity to be apart of this film with Conrad…it’s so important that we get the word out to our community members that our children are sick,” added Miller.

“The documentary that I’m producing is called “Heroin’s Grip,” and it’s a story about the addiction issue with heroin and opioids here in Frederick County as we all know it’s a nationwide problem, and we’re going to dive deep here into the county,” said Executive Producer, and Director with Conjo Studios, Conrad Weaver.

By diving deep, documentary Director, Conrad Weaver means speaking with those who have experienced the growing issue first hand.

“We’re working with law enforcement, we’re working with the court system…we’re working with health care workers, and mental health associations and workers, as well as current addicts,” added Weaver.

Weaver says the film is expected to be completed by September, and they hope to have it featured in several major film festivals around the country.

To help support “Heroin’s Grip” please visit: http://heroinsgrip.com/

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In the News…Frederick News-Post http://heroinsgrip.com/news-frederick-news-post/ Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:46:43 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=97 Originally published on fredericknewspost.com Seminar Shines Light on Heroin, Opioid Use and Addiction By Mallory Panuska mpanuska@newspost.com This time a year ago, 25-year-old Maya Schwegler was on a downward spiral. After years of opioid use, the Montgomery County resident and Frederick native was living...

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Originally published on fredericknewspost.com

Seminar Shines Light on Heroin, Opioid Use and Addiction

This time a year ago, 25-year-old Maya Schwegler was on a downward spiral.

After years of opioid use, the Montgomery County resident and Frederick native was living in and out of different hotels, selling herself for drugs, and had admittedly terrible relationships with her loved ones.

Then one day, after entering into a methadone program to wean herself off of the opioids that she had been addicted to for years, she woke up and decided she was done.

“Methadone has saved my life,” Schwegler told a roomful of attendees at a seminar Saturday at Soldierfit in Frederick. “I had been to multiple rehabs, done multiple programs, nothing ever worked for me. Now I’m going on 10 months clean, all thanks to methadone.”

Today, Schwegler’s life has taken a complete 180. She is visibly healthy, happy and full of energy. She has a good job, a car and a place to live, and is in a great relationship. She has also fully repaired her relationship with her family.

“Besides the material things I’ve gained, it’s the self awareness, the self acceptance,” Schwegler said. “It’s amazing, it truly is.”

Schwegler is one of many people who have struggled with addiction.

At Saturday’s seminar — which Soldierfit Chief Operating Officer Danny Farrar organized — attendees shared stories of struggle, heartbreak and loss stemming from addiction to heroin and other drugs.

Pamela Knight, a 52-year-old Libertytown resident, was one of the panelists for the seminar.

She shared a powerful story about a years-long addiction to pain pills. Knight started with Vicodin in 2011, which a doctor prescribed to help her heal from a back injury. She moved on to doctor shopping for stronger pills as she became more addicted, and finally began buying pills on the street.

She eventually had to enter a treatment center for medical detox after trying to quit on her own just did not work. The recovery effort was long and difficult, but she made it through. And today, she is three years sober.

One aspect of her journey through addiction and recovery that she wants to be sure people are aware of is that addiction is a disease, just like cancer or any other medical issue. She said that is what many people do not understand and something that needs to be communicated when talking about it.

Frederick resident Caressa Flannery also understands the importance of education and communication, which is why she is helping to create a local documentary. “Heroin’s Grip” shares stories from addicts and loved ones in an attempt to “shine a bright light” about the heroin epidemic in Frederick County.

“Heroin is killing people at a rapid rate and we need to all in this community do something about it,” she said during Saturday’s seminar. “Every single one of us, it touches our lives.”

Flannery’s son, who will turn 26 Tuesday, struggled with a heroin addiction but will soon celebrate his three-year anniversary of sobriety.

Not everyone is so lucky to undergo treatment in time, though.

Several other attendees Saturday said they lost loved ones to heroin and opioid use. The victims were young, in their teens and early 20s, and their family members came to share their experiences and encourage people to spread the word about talking to their children and other loved ones about the dangers of these substances.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said during Saturday’s event that heroin use is growing and more and more overdoses and deaths are occurring.

“Right now we are taking five times the amount of heroin off the street than we saw a year ago,” he said.

In 2012, Jenkins said law enforcement handled 21 heroin overdoses, with a total of six fatalities. In 2013, those numbers tripled with 64 overdoses and 19 fatalities.

Over the next three years, it only got worse.

In 2014, Jenkins said authorities responded to 130 overdoses countywide with 28 ending in fatalities, 2015 saw 140 overdoses and 19 deaths, and 2016 had a record 403 overdoses and 51 fatalities. Jenkins said law enforcement has already responded to 30 overdoses in 2017, with two that turned deadly.

He said more recovery resources are available now and law enforcement officials are able to save more people who overdose. However, he said many users are playing a game of “Russian Roulette,” when they use now because they always expect someone will save them. That is not always the case, though.

“The problem with it is people say they’ll go ahead and shoot up and think someone will save them,” he said,

To attack the problem once and for all, Jenkins said more attention needs to be paid to treatment efforts, which is the focus of his office.

“It’s a commitment of the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I’m focused on it, I’m committed to it, and somehow we’re going to get a handle on it. It’s going to have to run its course. We’re not going to arrest our way out of it.”

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

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February 27 Press Release http://heroinsgrip.com/february-27-press-release/ Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:52:00 +0000 http://heroinsgrip.com/?p=84 Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 27, 2017 Frederick Film Maker Launches Documentary on Heroin Crisis Frederick, MD –  The story of Frederick County’s heroin crisis will soon be shown on the big screen in a documentary film being produced by Emmitsburg, MD film...

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Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2017

Frederick Film Maker Launches Documentary on Heroin Crisis

Frederick, MD –  The story of Frederick County’s heroin crisis will soon be shown on the big screen in a documentary film being produced by Emmitsburg, MD film maker, Conrad Weaver.  “The heroin and opioid epidemic has devastated hundreds of families, individuals, and businesses all across our county.  We see it in the news nearly every day and it’s easy to think that it’s someone else’s problem. We think that it’s a Frederick or Baltimore issue. It’s not! It’s in our neighborhoods. My neighborhood. My small town. It’s our community’s problem, and we must work together to solve it.  I couldn’t simply stand by and watch, I had to get involved. That’s why I’m making this film,” says Weaver.

The film is being called Heroin’s Grip and will tell the story from a variety of angles. Weaver intends to interview current addicts, healthcare and mental health workers, officials from the law enforcement community, as well as families whose lives have been shattered by heroin and opioid addiction.

“We need more documentary films like this so that you become a part of the solution,”  says Charlie Smith, State’s Attorney in Frederick. Smith was interviewed for the film to include his perspective on the epidemic.

Filming began in early February and will continue through the spring months. Weaver hopes to complete production by early September in order to submit the project to a number of major film festivals around the country.  He plans on releasing a DVD version along with educational materials related to the film some time in 2018.

Weaver is not working on this alone. He’s recruited Caressa Flannery,  a Frederick entrepreneur and mother of a heroin addict who’s in recovery. Together, they have partnered with the Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates who will help manage the fund-raising efforts for the film.

Weaver is launching a Crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to raise money for the production of the film. Interested donors should visit the film’s web site at www.HeroinsGrip.com for more information.

Weaver is an award-winning film maker. Most recently he received a Mid-America Regional EMMY© Award for his 2014 documentary, the Great American Wheat Harvest.

Contacts
Conrad Weaver, Executive Producer/Director
Phone: 301-606-7794
Email: conrad@conjostudios.com
Twitter: @HeroinsGrip

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