The opioid epidemic first hit home for Carin Miller after both her husband and son became addicted to painkillers.
The struggles of her family to deal with addiction led Miller, a resident of Mt. Airy, to start her own nonprofit foundation to help raise awareness for the issue and to help those addicted to opioids seek treatment.
“My children are good people with a bad disease and I would just like everybody to know that my children did not choose to become addicted,” Miller said.
On April 17, the Music Center at Strathmore will host a benefit concert for Miller’s organization, Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates. H. David Meyers, professional oboe player and Miller’s boss at AgriSmart, a Rockville-based agricultural company, helped organized the concert arranging for his musician friends to perform in order to raise awareness for opioids.
The concert will include Meyers on oboe, the Washington Singers Foundation, and choral group La Camerata Nouve playing music from George Gershwin to the Beatles. Tickets are selling for $50 to $150 per person and can be purchased through Strathmore’s box office with 100 percent of the proceeds going to fight the opioid crisis.
Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, which Miller is the president and founder of, is a nonprofit that helps raise awareness to opioid and heroin addiction and helps those addicted seek treatment by helping offset their medical expenses. Miller said the organization, which is entirely run by volunteers, is mostly made up of people who have had family members die from opioid or heroin overdoses.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 63,500 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, the majority from opioids. According to the study, opioid-overdose deaths increased by 88 percent from 2013 to 2016.
“I think all of us now know someone who’s died or someone who knows someone who’s now died from heroin overdoses,” said Meyers who knows someone that died of an opioid overdose.
The opioid crisis has become a national issue and a hot button topic among local elected leaders. In March, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) spoke on Capitol Hill, saying the federal government needs to spend more money to fight the opioid epidemic. In 2015 Hogan announced plans for an opioid taskforce pledging more state funds and resources directed toward the addiction problem.
In January, County Executive Ike Leggett announced the County had filed suit against opioid manufactures and distributors, claiming the drug companies mislead the public about the safety of their drugs, joining 200 other states, cities and counties in similar lawsuits.