Attention To Opioid Epidemic Fades As Death Rates Rival The AIDS Crisis

The Federalist | 7/15/2019 | Tristan Justice
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Matthew Schoonover was a lively, energetic 21-year-old who grew up in a wealthy suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Schoonover’s childhood was filled with all of the amenities a boy could have: a nice home, a loving family deeply engaged in his upbringing, and a group of supportive friends in a tight-knit community.

Throughout his life, Schoonover was busy. He kept involved in multiple extra-curricular activities, played sports throughout the year, was an active member of his church youth group, and went to camp in the summers.

Situation - Ellen - Schoonover - Matthew - Mother

“He really grew up in an ideal situation,” Ellen Schoonover, Matthew’s mother, said. “Never had an enemy.”

In high school, however, things took a turn for the worse. Matthew started partying with drugs and ended up becoming dependent on them, coming down with a disease that ultimately took his life.

Matthew - Family - Schoonover - Drug - Use

As far as Matthew’s family knows, Schoonover’s drug use was limited to marijuana and alcohol in high school but escalated to opiates during his first year of college at Lee University in Tennessee. While it was ultimately Matthew’s ADHD that made school difficult, his struggle with addiction didn’t help, and Matthew later went to rehab.

The day after he emerged from a rehab facility in May of 2012, Matthew overdosed. Matthew’s story has become far too common in communities across the country, and many remain in denial about the issue.

Ellen - Worker - Son - Drugs - Kids

Ellen, a former social worker, said she never suspected her son would begin using recreational drugs and always spoke to her two kids openly about the risks of substance abuse. Opioids, however, were a different category of substance abuse than marijuana and alcohol.

“Back then, I couldn’t even define what an opiate was,” Ellen told The Federalist. “I thought Paul and I had done every single thing right as parents to insulate our boys from the ‘bad drugs.’”


Since the loss of her...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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