Updated: Nov 25, 2020
In the beginning after my sons death I had an interview with Sarah Grace and 21 news. This was put in my lap when RAH asked me to be apart it was only 3 weeks after my sons death,
Due to mitigating circumstances out of my control and fueled by anger and broken heart I took this to the Cumberland County Commissioners meeting. That evening I then went to the Carlisle Borough Meeting. I did not go this alone. I had a couple of wonderful ladies in my corner. One of those ladies took what I had written and smoothed it out a little and this is what impacted this coalition other than a friend creating the blog space to direct my enrgy torward the better good. Here is what I wrote:
Good morning, My name is Allan Jones First and foremost I would like to thank you for
allowing me to speak today. My intention is to open a line of communication with you,
as well as everyone else in Cumberland County.
I stand here today humbled before god, as a father, broken but not defeated. I lost my son to heroin overdose 2 months ago. Since that horrific day, I have started a journey fueled by the promise that I made to my son, as my whole world and his came crashing down around me. I am here today representing a group called Carlisle area Anti-Heroin Coalition that is rapidly gaining the support of the community. On behalf of this group, I present to you one question. Why after 4 plus years of devastation is heroin and its dealers and its slaves are still on our streets, infecting our families with their poison, killing our loved ones, stalking our children and traumatizing everyone affected by this crisis? In fact over 50 of PA’s 67 counties have experienced opioid overdoses with Cumberland county having above the national average death rate. Carlisle had the most overdoses of any township or borough in Cumberland county in 2016.
I can present you with multiple occurrences, mainly text messages, of predatory acts. I can present to you a list of 24 names within a 5 mile radius that are active in selling or selling and using Heroin. I can present to you text messages and emails regarding tips , names, phone numbers, addresses of these active dealers. I have walked these streets just as my great-grandfather, my grand father, my mother, my children and my deceased sons child. I did my own investigation beginning with my sons personal affects and with the help of a 2 year recovering addict that is still very connected. My communication was constant with a detective who has lost all sight of what is most valuable to us all, which is life!! This detective has sent me things that could be construed as intentional negligence. This detective has made reference to our user dealers, users, and low grade dealers as the leaves on the ground that have fallen off the tree. His concern was not the leaves. He wants to chop down the tree instead. He elaborated further from there excluding the immediate threat to our community. The coalition says that this line of thinking or mentality is allowing our children and loved ones to be killed at an overwhelming rate. This man fails to realize the fallen leaves nourish the tree and without them the tree would die and wither. No demand and the supply will have no place in our community. Now it comes down to one thing, we the people of this community want those dealers off our streets! I can guarantee that there is enough evidence on every single one of them. Over the course of the last month, 2 of 21 names died within the last month and only 1 has been incarcerated. We the fear the dealers, we fear the dealers slave, we fear heroin and what is done to each and everyone of us whether it be friend or family or just by acquaintances. So again I ask you why are they still allowed to remain on our streets? Our plea to you and all of our local law enforcement is to please give us sanity, safe streets and piece of mind so we can function again without this fear. You sir are in a unique position to facilitate the end of this crisis, but only if you are willing to take affirmative action. With the position you hold and the support of the community you can make Carlisle a model town in ending the opioid epidemic by facilitating new legislation as well as public programs to give addicts the necessary resources to get and stay free from the clutches of this terrible affliction.
After I had spoke the words above I presented another speech by an individual who felt uncomfortable taking the podium.
This is what they wrote:
Good morning and thank you for being here. Our Coalition is made up of many walks of life. The commonality we all share is that everyone involved in the Coalition has been affected by the heroin epidemic which is alive and thriving. Our focus is to make Carlisle a safe haven from the evil which permeates the streets, and to prevent our future generations from suffering the losses we have experienced. I personally live in a high traffic drug neighborhood. Heroin needles litter my yard that abuts the playground behind my house. Children play there every single day. The dealing is open air and brazen.
I would like to outline some of our ideas and goals for you here:
One short-term goal we would like to propose and seek funding for is to install signage in high-traffic areas in our neighborhoods. These signs would warn about the presence of hidden surveillance cameras ‘by order of the police’, which would not actually exist, but would help deter the flow of drugs initially. Eventually, and as funding would permit, we would like to actually install surveillance cameras that would prove invaluable to our police department. We are in the process of obtaining quotes for manufacturer’s best pricing if we can get the necessary approvals from the Mayor and/or the Chief of Police to implement this plan. Any guidance or funding the County could offer would be most appreciated.
Another short-term goal is acquiring 301(c)4 status. We are discussing neighborhood watches, heroin awareness marches, and intend to network with other successful coalitions with the same goals, including Chatham’s Pathway to Recovery . We do not take our cause lightly, and we aim high. Long term goals are most certainly in the early discussion stages, but include educating our children, providing a community center, and reaching out to our elected leaders to pass legislation for programs or treatment for addicts. One idea we have come up with is to attach a fine to all DUI’s in Cumberland County that we could use to implement our plans and ideas, directly benefiting addicts who need but cannot afford treatment, such as Vivitrol and rehabilitation. Can you offer any guidance as to the steps we would need to take to effectuate this plan? An addict who recovers is most likely to return our favor, and give us vital information leading to the arrest of the criminals who peddle and profit from their poison, which information we could then provide to the police, thereby providing anonymity to the informant.
Next was the Forum at the middle school.
The story has not ended.....