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Feb 14, 2017 3:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Former East Hampton Student's Overdose Heightens Community Concern About Drug Use

Jordan Johnson, left, with friends Harrison Janson, Travis Flynn, and Mikey Perez at the New York University Hospital for Joint Disease and Orthopedics. COURTESY OF CHRISTINE MORAN
Feb 15, 2017 9:43 AM

Despite the stress and fear she’s been through since her son, Jordan Johnson, overdosed at a house party in Springs on January 29, Christine Moran said on Tuesday that she is deeply grateful for the prayers and support she’s received, whether it be through Facebook posts or hospital visits.

“It’s been so overwhelming,” she said on the phone, seeming to hold back tears. “This was one of those moments where we all have to come together as one, and they showed that.”

As of Tuesday, Mr. Johnson, an 18-year-old former student at East Hampton High School, was still undergoing physical therapy and rehabilitation at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, to which he had been transferred from Southampton Hospital on February 8.

According to East Hampton Town Police Captain Chris Anderson, police were called to a residence on Neck Path in Springs at 9:18 a.m. on January 30. Emergency volunteers found the 18-year-old unresponsive and transported him to Southampton Hospital. Mr. Johnson had apparently been unconscious for over 12 hours after overdosing at a party at a house on Neck Path the night before where both drugs and alcohol were passed around, according to his mother, who would not comment on what type of drug he might have ingested.

Ms. Moran said her son remained sedated in the hospital and hooked up to a breathing tube until he regained consciousness on February 4 and the tube was removed.

“He’s awesome—he’s a miracle patient,” Ms. Moran said. “He’s got a very positive attitude.”

The young man’s experience has fueled widespread concern among parents and other community members, including Kim Jones and Bobbi Edwards, who set up a community meeting at the Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton on Tuesday, February 7, to discuss the problem. Ms. Edwards, a lifelong East Hampton resident with three children, two currently enrolled at East Hampton High School, and a son who is good friends with Mr. Johnson, said she was deeply concerned about Mr. Johnson and found an equally concerned parent in Ms. Jones, who’s also a drug and alcohol counselor.

“When she saw how upset I was, she said, ‘We need to do something about this in the community,’” Ms. Edwards said over the phone last weekend.

Ms. Edwards said Ms. Jones was able to use the Calvary Baptist Church for the meeting and then used social media and word of mouth to let parents know that there would be a forum about drug use among teenagers. Ms. Edwards said that 50 to 60 people attended the meeting.

“I was very nervous at first, because I know that the community was very angry about what happened with Jordan,” Ms. Edwards said. “Kim and I did not want the meeting based on that solely—we did not want any bashing of schools, or school officials, or police, any of that. None of that happened. It was very surprising. Nobody was angry. It was a good atmosphere. The sole purpose of the meeting was for parents to come together in a non-intimidating way. The parents could say whatever they wanted to say and ask whatever they wanted to ask.”

Teresa Zucco, a Springs resident who attended the meeting with two children at East Hampton High School, said she had heard about Mr. Johnson’s overdose through her children and social media. “There are way too many drugs in the high school,” she said in a phone conversation. “When my two oldest kids were in school, Xanax was really big, but I think heroin is creeping in, and cocaine. My kids know about it, and they tell me.”

Dawn Moyer of Sag Harbor, Ms. Edwards’s sister, who also attended the meeting and who has nieces and nephews in the East Hampton School District, said she has heard horror stories from friends with kids in the district.

“Since Jordan’s incident, some people that I work with who have kids in the high school have contacted me and said that there are drugs in the school, kids are coming to school high already, and are doing drugs while in the school,” Ms. Moyer said. “The only drug that I was told about specifically was meth.”

“I just found this out,” Ms. Moran said of the other parents’ concerns. “All I have to say is that there have been kids that say you can get any drug you want in high school. It’s scary.”

Ms. Moran suggested that there should be more focus on drug education in the district, even starting drug education at a younger age. “It’s sad that your kids are in a little elementary school and everything’s fine and cute, and we love that, but unfortunately we can’t be scared to tell these kids at a small young age what’s going on in the street,” she said. “It’s not just in the cities—it’s hitting us in our small communities, and they have to know. We’re sheltered out here. We can’t be that anymore.”

Capt. Anderson said the police have an open line of communication with the high school, where they have an officer. “We should be notified if there are any concerns that people have about drug use,” he said. “Unless you tell us about it, there’s nothing that we can do. You have to call us and give us the information. All calls will remain anonymous, but we stress that we need to be notified.”

“The school is doing what the school can do, the police are doing what the police can do. It’s our jobs as the parents in the community to come together and do what we can do,” Ms. Edwards said. “Whether that be starting a neighborhood watch, creating private Facebook pages where we communicate with each other, or try to come up with things for teenagers to do out here, because there’s nothing to do, and to bounce ideas off of each other on how to parent our kids more.”

“The meeting was great, but now we need to step it up and do something about it and have a plan,” Ms. Zucco said.

“If I thought my kids were doing drugs, I’d talk to them about it,” Ms. Moyer said. “If I thought that they had a problem, I would go to the school and ask them to help me. It’s so hard for these kids to get help, because they don’t have insurance or there’s waiting lists, and that’s a problem we have to discuss as well, because, aside from the Phoenix House, where can we take them for help?”

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I dont understand how an underage drug house/ party house exists.The cops don't go after drug dealers or illegals in East Hampton. How about you just dissolve them.
By chief1 (2657), southampton on Feb 21, 17 1:32 AM
wow.

Heroin was not mainstream until most recently. We had "China White" in the Eighties, but this is different. And how about that "Krokodil", eh?

Or, perhaps you'd prefer some Flakka?

Welcome to "BladeRunner"...


Feb 21, 17 1:41 AM appended by Mr. Z
P.S. Don't forget the GBL.
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on Feb 21, 17 1:41 AM
I recently had a roommate who was employed by the EHTPD. Worst boozer I've ever met. Once bragged about watching "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" on phone while on duty. Small sample size, but if this behavior is common then it's pretty clear why these houses exist....
By wrk (16), East Hampton on Feb 21, 17 1:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
People are always looking to point the finger and blame someone. While it is tragic that this occurred the main fault lies with the user not the Police. He is 18 and was voluntarily using illegal drugs. I hope he gets help and recovers. I'm glad he had a family and friends to support him.
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on Feb 23, 17 4:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
How about a drug sniffing dog at the schools on a random basis, including staff. Nothing off limits. Times deserve new rules...
By capt rich (12), Southampton on Feb 21, 17 11:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Few would disagree that selling illegal drugs is a big business. With all of the states legalizing marijuana do you think those drug cartels are going out of business? They just change their product line. Heroin use and tragic deaths will continue to grow.
Sad, there are no easy solutions.
By TheTurtle (142), Southampton on Feb 23, 17 1:55 AM
I am a former lifetime resident of Southampton. My children attended school there in the 1960's/1970's. They were among the first wave of kids affected by the use of illegal drugs. Unfortunately the school officials at the time chose to ignore the problem. That was very sad. I hope all the people in all the villages stand up and recognize that it takes cooperation to fight this problem. Most of all DO NOT blame one or two children and their families. Work together to get
help. AND get yourself ...more
By summertimegal (93), southampton on Feb 23, 17 7:24 AM
Where are the parents? The homeowner/father claims he was not aware that drugs were there and in fact denies it was so - facts of an overdose - to the contrary - right in front of his nose. The mother of this fellow nearly lost her son to an overdose - where was she when he was making the choice to almost die? 18 is not old enough to understand the consequences of his choice - it isn't even the legal age to consume alcohol. The frontal lobe of the brain is not fully formed in an 18 year old ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Feb 24, 17 1:23 PM
This is addiction from top to bottom of the food chain. No time for blame. Education is needed. We need more facilities here on the East End.
By Woods woman (133), East hampton on Mar 1, 17 8:19 PM