Anti-Heroin Ad Features Father of OD Victim From Maine [VIDEO]
Will Gates was an accomplished downhill ski racer and a molecular genetics student at the University of Vermont. He was also a heroin addict who passed away in 2009 of an overdose. Now, his father is speaking out about Will's addiction, in hopes of saving others from the same fate.
Attorney General Janet Mills is sponsoring a public service announcement campaign aimed at Maine's heroin epidemic. And she's doing it using a one-minute PSA that features Henry 'Skip' Gates of Skowhegan talking about his son Will.
"Skip Gates' story is very compelling," Mills said in a press release. "When families see the ad it is my hope that it will spark a conversation about the risks posed by heroin and other opiates. These drugs are in all of our communities and Skip shows us that it is not just the 'typical addict' that is dabbling with and dying from this poison. Trying opiates just once can kill you or lead to a lifetime of miserable addiction. It is that simple."
Gates has been the focus of a documentary, called 'The Opiate Effect' and has spoken to high school students around the northeast about the impact of his son's death. He urges the students to think twice about using heroin even once. Schools or organizations interested in hosting Skip Gates for a presentation of 'The Opiate Effect' can contact Heather Putnam with the U.S. Attorney General's office to schedule a visit.
Heroin has replaced pharmaceutical opiates as the drug of choice in Maine, as the availability of the pharmaceuticals decreased. According to AG Mills, the overall number of accidental drug overdoses in Maine was high in 2013, but relatively steady. However, the percent of those deaths that were heroin related jumped from just 4 percent of the total in 2010 to almost 20 percent in 2013. Early numbers suggest that the number will increase again in 2014.
If you, or someone you know is battling addiction, log onto the State of Maine website for information on substance abuse services and hotlines to help you become drug-free.