Families fighting against the opioid epidemic gather in Downtown Frederick


“It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late to any parent who’s going through this. Reach out,” said Frederick Resident Tina Johnson.

That was the biggest piece of advice from a woman who lost her own son and brother six weeks apart due to overdosing on opioids. They were seeking help, but help came too late.

Almost 100 people gathered in downtown Frederick to spread awareness of the current opioid crisis and share their personal stories with the public.

“I wish I would’ve followed, I wish I would’ve done more,” said Johnson. “My son went under the radar, so I have a lot that I want to do, so I just say to any parent never give up, always hope, always reach out. One of the reasons I’m involved is because it’s all I have left, their memory and to try and keep them alive.”

Founder of the Opioid Spoon Project Domenic Esposito brought his 800 pound steel spoon to Frederick for people affected by the opioid crisis to sign. It’s created to look like a burnt opioid spoon, and Esposito leaves the spoons at the doorsteps of companies he deems responsible for the crisis.

“My mom had found another burnt spoon in the house so it was always a dark, emotional symbol but we’ve turned it into this symbol of accountability now.” said Esposito. “We’re just in the beginning of this opioid crisis and it needs to be front and center at a national level, not just at a community level. We don’t just need to see community efforts and saving lives, passing out narcan, where is the federal government? And, why aren’t they involved in all of this?”​​​​​​​

Many of the family members stressed that their biggest regret was not taking action earlier, but now it’s too late

“My son was given oxycontin and percocets by an adult I trusted for $30 a pill,” said Co-Founder of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates Beth Schmidt. “That’s when my son’s addiction started. I was there, I knew the parents, I knew the friends, I knew everybody, so if it can happen to me, it can happen to you, and I’m not saying I’m a perfect parent than anybody because I’m not. I still didn’t see this happening.”​​​​​​​

Delegate Karen Lewis-Young and County Executive Jan Gardner mentioned the awareness raised is immeasurable to educate community members about the seriousness of the current opioid crisis.

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