Friday was Tim Weber’s last day as drug prevention and treatment liaison with the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, but it wasn’t a slow day. He was at drug court in the morning and, in the afternoon, helped finish shooting on “Heroin Still Kills,” a reboot of the late-1990s original viral video educating on the risks of opioid abuse.
And even Thursday afternoon was filled with Weber doing what he had done for the office since joining it in 2015 — going to the scene of a drug overdose and offering the advice of someone who, as a former addict who had overdosed, had been there. Someone who could get the overdose victim to some help.
Weber will be taking a role with the new Kennedy Addiction Recovery Center that is opening in central Pennsylvania.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for me, to be a part owner and part of developing a treatment program I believe will work,” he said. “I will still be able to help people as I do in our county, I will just be doing something a little farther away.”
Weber said the plan is to create a year-long recovery program that doesn’t just focus on detox and mental and emotional recovery, but bridging the gap into a meaningful role in society so people can thrive.
“In the last six months or so of the program, we will put through an internship program to teach them how to work and give them a skill. It’s something I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “We get people into treatment and then into sober living and they keep working for $10, $12 per hour and they don’t have a skill.”
Weber, a former heroin user in recovery, ran his own organization, Weber Sober Homes, before joining Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo in his office in 2015. There, Weber worked in DeLeonardo’s education outreach programs in Carroll County Public Schools, and in the Early Intervention and Major Overdose Initiative. With the initiative, Weber helped divert drug users to treatment over jail, and even went door to door to try and convince those who had overdosed multiple times to seek treatment before their luck ran out.
As of July, 19 of the 42 people identified on the Major Overdose Initiative list were in treatment.
“Working with Brian, the stuff we have done in the county — it’s amazing what has been done in three years,” Weber said. “This has been the best experience of my lifetime.”
“We are going to miss him and wish him well,” added Deputy State’s Attorney Ned Coyne. “We will work hard to get the right person in the position. Brittney Sabock will continue in her role as an outreach specialist; our Major Overdose Initiative, she and Tim worked on that together, identifying the high-risk victims of overdose and trying to reach out.”
And while those efforts haven’t succeeded in rolling back the rising number of overdoses over the years, Coyne said, he believes they have kept the numbers from climbing faster.
“It’s trending to not increase as much,” he said. “We are continuing to work hard to do outreach; we continue to try and help people who overdose get into treatment.”
In the most recent overdose statistics as recorded by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, August saw two fatal drug or overdose deaths, keeping pace with the two deaths recorded in July. This was, however, a 71 percent decrease over August 2017, which saw seven fatal overdoses, according to crime analyst Christine Garvin.
Weber, like Coyne, said he believes Sabock will do an excellent job in keeping going the initiatives he helped spearhead.
“They are in 100 percent good hands with Brittney. She knows what to do and, to be honest, she is more detailed and organized in keeping records,” Weber said. “It’s really awesome for me to see Brittney be where she is because I met Brittney before she became clean and sober, so this couldn’t make me happier.”
Weber said his role in the State’s Attorney’s Office made him happy, too, but the time had come to move on.
“It was a hard decision to make because I knew I could be here as long as I want to be,” he said. “But this was an opportunity to help people directly and create a program that will really change the lives of a lot of people.”