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WBHM-FM Radio 90.3 interview "Recovering Addict Brad Blount on a  Dark Time, and How He Escaped It."  by Dan Carsen
INTERVIEW: Recovering Addict Brad Blount On A Dark Time, And How He Escaped It

 By: WBHM-FM 90.3's Dan Carsen

 Brad Blount, 24, in his house in Vestavia Hills.
 Photo by Dan Carsen.

 90.3 WBHM Vestavia Hills-- Heroin use is on the rise in Alabama. In Jefferson County alone, reported overdose deaths doubled between 2013 and 2014. And contrary to old stereotypes, the drug doesn't respect race, class, or neighborhood boundaries. Brad Blount of Vestavia Hills is proof. He's from a solid family in that well-heeled suburb, but in this first part of WBHM's coverage of the issue, the 24-year-old tells reporter Dan Carsen that despite his advantages, his life took a dark turn:

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"OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL"
"Waking Up about Addiction"
FEBRUARY 10, 2015
By: Emily Williams

  
"Brad Blount and Suzie Sarcone shared stories and provided parents with tools to best approach their own children about drugs and alcohol."

 “I was on the right track, or what seemed like the right track, to doing everything you would want to do in life and everything that parents would ever want from their kid,” said Brad Blount, his image playing on a large screen in the crowded ballroom of Vestavia Country Club. A room packed with people remained silent as Blount said, “But I ended up becoming a heroin addict.” An organization whose vision is to prevent substance abuse in central Alabama, the Addiction Prevention Coalition strives for its goal by pushing for community collaboration.
One way the group spreads its message is through events like the “Wake Up!” breakfast, where recovering addicts like Blount share stories and provide parents with the tools to best approach their own children about drugs and alcohol. The breakfast featured Blount and another young adult whose stories of addiction hit close to home. Each grew up in an affluent community attending highly-rated schools. But as APC spokesman Danny Malloy said, “There is no one-size-fits-all for addiction.” Suzie Sarcone, a 17-year-old student at Mountain Brook High School, and Blount, a graduate of Vestavia Hills High School, have led lives deeply affected by substance abuse. “I wasn’t drinking because I liked it, I was drinking to get drunk,” Sarcone said. Sarcone said she grew up in a family environment where addictive behavior was prevalent and found that alcohol and drug abuse helped her to forget about her difficult home life. Blount’s opiate abuse began after a football injury to his shoulder, he said. He was prescribed Lortab – and later, Oxycodone – for his shoulder and quickly became dependent on the drug without realizing it. Once the pills ran out, his search for a quicker and cheaper fix led him to heroin, he said. Both Sarcone and Blount offered knowledge that parents might not otherwise be able to obtain. Each talked about what methods were most effective — and ineffective — on their journeys to recovery. Blount and Sarcone agreed that the greatest indicators of substance abuse are not physical symptoms. With eye drops and an extra layer of clothing, Blount said, he easily disguised his physical symptoms from his parents. “I was always gone,” Sarcone said. “I was never home, and I would lie about where I was.” She would also constantly ask for money, giving any excuse imaginable to get it, she said. Once the problem is identified, Blount and Sarcone said a parent must take care in how they approach their child. “Parents are going to pass judgment unconsciously,” Blount said, adding that parents must be aware of their tone in order to have truthful conversations with their kids. The goal is to be as open as possible to any discussion, whether the topic is good or bad, said Sarcone. Both speakers said, whether or not a child abuses substances, engaging in non-threatening discussions about drugs will keep them better-informed. But when a punishment must be put in place, Sarcone said, a parent cannot waver. She said when it comes time to lay down hard rules, it is important for intentions to be clear. Phrases like “I didn’t raise you that way” are counterproductive, Blount said. “Be careful about shaming your kid. We know you didn’t ‘raise us that way,’” he said.
Both speakers said a parent should avoid extremes, such as forbidding a child from seeing certain people or going to certain places. “It’s like telling them not to eat the cookie,” Sarcone said. Adults must always remember what it is like to be a teenager, when every disappointment seems life-altering, said Blount. “It’s really important not to minimize their feelings,” Blount said. “Be aware of what they’re going through.” He said his parents came to terms with results of the injury long before Blount could himself, and it was that injury that eventually led to his addiction. Both Sarcone and Blount stressed that it is not always parents’ fault when a child becomes involved in addictive practices. Parents cannot make their children’s choices for them, but they can shape the way their child chooses to behave, they said. “My goal is to prevent other people from going through what me and my family experienced,” Sarcone said. During her recovery, Sarcone said, she and her mother have found a balance and have reached a state of open discussion. With the help of Sarcone and Blount, APC is opening drug-related discussions in a community-wide setting in order to promote similar discussions inside the home.
“The greatest challenge we face is getting the community to be open to discussing these issues,” said Steve Briggs, APC founder and board member.
For more information about the APC, visit www.addictionpreventioncoalition.org

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"Curbing Heroin Deaths" 
WELD for BIRMINGHAM 
By: Tom Gordon 

A POLICE OFFICER AND STATE LEGISLATOR WANTS TO MAKE LIFE-SAVING DRUG AVAILABLE TO FIRST RESPONDERS. 

Birmingham Police Captain Allen Treadaway, who also serves in the state legislature, wants to put naloxone in the hands of those who might save heroin users from overdoses. 
Photo by Tom Gordon. 

BIRMINGHAM POLICE CAPTAIN ALLEN TREADAWAY, WHO ALSO SERVES IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE, WANTS TO PUT NALOXONE IN THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO MIGHT SAVE HEROIN USERS FROM OVERDOSES.  
BY TOM GORDON. 

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ABC 33/40 "Addiction Prevention Coalition talks to Vestavia Hills community" 

 Former Vestavia Hills High student-athlete shares his story of drug addiction.

http://www.abc3340.com/clip/11082954/addiction-prevention-coalition-talks-to-vestavia-hills-community

     

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ABC 3340 "Communities "Wake-Up" to threat of drug abuse"

Posted: Jan 29, 2015 5:45 PM CST Updated: Jan 29, 2015 7:23 PM CST

By: Cynthia Gould

click here to watch video:

It was a chance for parents to hear from the kids themselves about what works and what doesn't, when it comes to steering children away from the pit-falls of drug use. “I wasn't drinking as a social thing; I was drinking to get drunk,” explained Suzie Sarcone. Only after she got caught drunk at a football game did she get the help she needed. Now she works to make sure parents see the warning signs. [App users: Click here to watch the embedded video] Sarcone and Brad Blount were among those sharing their stories at a packed “Wake Up” breakfast in Vestavia where leaders work to make sure the problem is not swept under the rug. “I shouldn't be here today with the stuff I was doing, the lifestyle I was living,” explained Blount. He was a popular high school athlete when injury ended his playing time. The pain pills quickly lead to a $600 a week heroin addiction. “I had no faith, no care in the world. Everything revolved around when am I going to get that next fix.” The Addiction Prevention Coalition which hosted the event believes the best way to fight abuse is to train young people, send them back into the schools where they can lead conversations about the dangers of drugs. “The stuff I grew up with doesn't work: the coercion, the manipulation, the scare tactics,” says Carl Lynn with APC. He reminds parent to remember not to judge and condemn others when they make mistakes or it will make your child less likely to talk about their own. The students also warned parents not to give their kids too much cash and really keep tabs on where they are and who they're with. Even a locked liquor cabinet is not fool-proof. If your child is prescribed pain-killers, you should keep the bottle and only give them what they need each day. Vestavia and Homewood police departments have drop-boxes to get rid of old prescription medications.
Click here to watch the embedded video

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"Where Are Our Leaders?  Alethia House's Teens Who Care Program Grooms Youth for Service: by Edward T. Bowser for "Opinion," al.com"
"Where Are Our Leaders? Alethia House's "Teens Who Care" Program Grooms Youth For Service: 
 AL.COM OPINION 

By :Edward T. Bowser | ebowser@al.com 
 (About the writer: Edward Bowser is a community engagement specialist for the Alabama Media Group. He can be reached at ebowser@al.com.) 

 "There's been a lot of talk about black leadership lately. 

 Distraught communities are looking for guidance as they cope with recent injustices and backlash, someone who can help them organize and serve as a symbol for their cause... 

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"All In Mountain Brook" advocacy group promotes APC "Wake Up!" event on their website.

The Addiction Prevention Coalition is offering this important free program on November 6th. Click on the image below for the larger version.

wakeup



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