The Current

‘Be Free of It’ assembly outlines dangers of opiod crisis

Vicki Wong

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On Tuesday, May 1, the Be Free of It assembly was where Lea Edgecomb and her mother talked about their family’s experience with opiate overdose in front of juniors and seniors.

In 2009, a depressed 15-year-old Edgecomb had been living in Montgomery County and overdosed on one dose of heroin. Emergency medical technicians tried to reverse the effects with Narcan, but she would not wake up even after several doses. She went into cardiac arrest and then into a coma for three months, and became a quadriplegic.

“Consequences of your choices are incredibly important for your life and it’s something that kids need to think about as they move into the grown-up world,” Principal Carol Goddard said.

Her mother, Lisa Essich, became emotional sharing how she felt when she found out that her child had nearly died from an overdose. Essich also had other children, one being a 11-year-old whom she did not pay attention to during the incident to spend time with Edgecomb on life support. The 11-year old child was confused and alone, and attempted to commit suicide.

“I was shocked because I didn’t realize that someone in our county, someone so close to us, could go through something like that,” junior Mia Zuniga said.

The Peace of Hearts nonprofit organization along with co-founder Kyle Sefcik reached out to Watkins Mill to share the family’s experiences. The family “had a great message for juniors and seniors at the time of year when things are really busy and there’s a lot of celebrating [with] parties and graduation,” Goddard said.

Edgecomb graduated from Quince Orchard High School and attends Montgomery College. She and her mom have told their story to more than 20 schools. “I think that [their story] really opens other people’s eyes to the fact that [overdosing] is real. You’d always see [videos in class] and it’s like, ‘Oh, this is what opioids do to you,'” Zuniga added.

“Everybody makes decisions every day, either the right decision or the wrong decision,” Goddard said. “It’s important to think about how you make up your mind… because you’re going to suffer consequences if you choose [the wrong one].”

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About the Writer
Vicki Wong, Editor-in-Chief

Vicki Wong is a senior at Watkins Mill and one of the Co Editors-in-Chief. She has been writing for The Current since her sophomore year and primarily writes news articles. In the future she hopes to travel the world.

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