Vickie Glatfelter knows firsthand the horrible effects heroin can have on a family.
“I’m just the mother of an addict who is now my angel,” she said.
Vickie’s son Bob, 28, grew up in Dover and struggled with drug addiction for several years.
“He started with recreational use of OxyContin, Percocet, and those types of things. He became addicted to those and when it got to the point in his life when he couldn’t afford to buy pills he turned to heroin.”
Bob died in April 2014, just ten days after leaving a rehab center.
Now, Vickie is on a mission to make sure no other mother has to lose a child to the drug.
“It’s not just in the inner cities or back alleys; it’s here,” she said.
Vickie along with dozens of others, including York County Commissioner Chris Reilly and York County Coroner Pam Gay, held a rally in Dover Saturday.
Their goal is to educate people about the growing problem of heroin addiction.
“Because it is so cheap and so readily available and so accessible you can virtually go into any part of York County and buy a 5 dollar packet of heroin,” Commissioner Reilly said.
“Heroin has such a horrible stigma that nobody wants to talk about, but you need to talk about it,” Glatfelter added. “You need to educate, not just the kids but the parents; everybody.”
In 2013 there were 17 heroin-related deaths in York County. So far in 2014, there have been 27; that’s a 189% increase within one year.
Vickie hopes this rally will offer information on resources as well as support to others who are battling addiction, either personally or through a loved one.
“I didn’t know about all the support that was out there when I was living with my son’s addiction but I wish I did and if I can offer that support to someone else and let them know they’re not alone and that there are people out there that care and can help, that’s what I want to do,” she said.