No Place Safe from Wrath of Heroin
No place can escape the opioid crisis. Plainview NY is a sheltered, wealthy Long Island town but it has not been immune to the opioid crisis – as one family mourns the loss of their son to overdose.
As reported by the Long Island Press, as a child growing up in Plainview, Garrett Kassler loved the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Once a teenager, it was water and the outdoors. He wanted to open a scuba diving shop, live on the beach, and enjoy a simple life.
His parents, Lee and Lisa, had moved to the upper middle-class suburb when Garrett was a baby, as it promised great schools, little to no crime, a good neighborhood and the perfect place to raise a family.
“We watched our children [including daughter Erica, now 24] flourish from pre-K through high school,” Lee says. “We were active in the PTA, we both coached soccer and Little League, we watched our children closely and made sure they stayed out of trouble.”
Garrett first had trouble dealing with stress while away as a college freshman. A campus doctor prescribed Xanax. His parents were comforted that it was a physician. But Garrett’s mood and behavior began changing.
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Garrett seemed to improve and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. But a call came a few weeks into boot camp. Garrett, unable to meet the vigorous demands, was discharged. Home again, he continued to use drugs.
In 2014, Garrett’s doctor prescribed Vivitrol®, an opioid-receptor blocker that stopped his cravings and blocked him from getting high. It worked well.
Clean for 14 months, Garrett volunteered with Nassau County’s drug education and awareness programs, speaking at events and sitting on the Heroin Prevention Task Force. He helped launch the county’s “Shot at Life” (Vivitrol®) program and became a recovery coach. He planned to become a credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor.
On Feb. 4, 2017, excited after he passed a drug test and landed a new job, Garrett Kassler would use once more and overdose in his Plainview home at the age of 26. It was Fentanyl, and powerful painkiller often added to heroin, that killed him.
Garrett was one of 195 people to die from opioids in Nassau that year, including another Plainview man his age.
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To learn more about how a Long Island family is coping with the loss of their son to overdose, please visit the Long Island Press.