Horrors of Heroin in Hannibal
A new video chronicles the deadly effects of opiod abuse in America’s Hometown. The video shown during Tuesday’s Hannibal City Council meeting left an emotional intensity felt throughout council chambers. Mayor Hark requested a 10 minute recess at its conclusion. The production is a stark account of three deaths due to heroin, and the devastating effects on the families left behind.
Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis says the video is part of the HEET initiative. HEET is an acronym for Heroin Enforcement Education Treatment. After a spike in heroin overdoses began in 2015, Davis and Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn teamed up to battle the problem through enforcement and education. Davis says Felony drug arrests were up 30% last year. Misdemeanor drug arrests were up 22%.
Law enforcement is not immune from the devastating effects. One of the stories on the video involves the death of Collin McHargue. His father is Lt. Mike McHargue of the Hannibal Police Department. Lt. McHargue and his wife arrived home from a vacation to find his son lying on the bed lifeless. McHargue found himself calling 911, but it was too late. Collin died from a heroin overdose.
McHargue approached Chief Davis about telling his story, in hopes of .preventing someone else from experiencing the grief his family endured. After discussion with his wife and older son, he decided to share the tragic details. Included on the video is audio of the actual 911 call.
The video features two additional stories of those who experienced a similar loss--the families of Greg Baldwin and Kevin McSmith.
Chief Davis says the videos were originally planned for local use by HPD and the Marion County Sheriff. However, the message is so powerful that numerous law enforcement agencies have requested it. Those include the Missouri Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police, Pike County Sheriff, DARE, and Palmyra Police Dept.
Chief Davis says while enforcement is a big part of addressing the issue, it’s just one tool in the battle.He says it takes the combined efforts of a community approaching the problem from different angles.