By Kelsey Clements
The Williamston Post
Narcotics is a rising problem in Williamston.
“If you would have told me that my kid would be sticking a needle in his arm, I would have thought you were nuts,” said Phil Pavona, father of Eric Pavona and director of Pulmonary Services at Sparrow Hospital.
A seminar led by Pavona was held at Williamston Middle School on March 16 to inform parents about a program he started called FAN (Families Against Narcotics), which educates people of warning signs and preventative strategies.
“I am doing this seminar for one reason; I don’t want you to bury your kid,” said Pavona.
After two previous heroin overdoses, Pavona’s son Eric, was pronounced dead on Aug. 28, 2011.
Mike Freeman, assistant principal at Williamston High School, said police and school officials sense a growing problem in the area. Freeman said that there have been overdoses and fatalities in the community.
“It’s a big problem. It usually starts out where people begin with opiates as pain killers and then go to heroin because it’s cheaper,” said Freeman. “No one is regulating it, and it’s super dangerous.”
Pavona said that the problem of narcotics is more of a suburban problem than it is with people in inner cities.
“Kids in small town suburbs are naive. They have money and are a target for drug dealers,” said Pavona.
He said that in Ingham County, there are 6,000 people addicted to narcotics. There are programs and therapists to get people help after they are addicted, but Pavona said that the most important goal of FAN is prevention.
“We are a pill-popping society. We have medication to take care of anything nowadays,” said Pavona.
He informed parents about strategies to prevent addiction. He said to lock up medications and talk to and form close relationships with children.
Police Chief Bob Young, Williamston’s Chief Police said that it is a nationwide problem, and it is growing rapidly in Williamston’s community.
“We are all in this together and together we can make a difference,” said Young.