After six months of planning and two months of film production, a Carroll County grass-roots anti-drug group will premier its "Heroin Kills" music video tonight at the county's annual drug summit.
Linda Auerback, founder of Residents Attacking Drugs, thought of making a music video when a friend's 13-year-old son mentioned that RAD's most recent public service announcements about heroin abuse reminded him of an MTV video.
The 30- and 60-second segments, which have been running on television stations in Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maine, include the jarring music and lyrics of Eldersburg musician Bobby Hird, a guitarist, singer and songwriter who spent 17 years with the rock band Crack the Sky.
Hird, who attended Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County with Auerback, wrote two songs for the video "Heroin Kills," a stark depiction of heroin addiction that was produced about two years ago by RAD. The group - consisting of parents whose children have died or suffered because of heroin addiction and others interested in preventing drug use among the county's youth - was formed in January 1998 after 15-year-old Liam O'Hara of Westminster died of a heroin overdose.
Set to Hird's rock 'n' roll diatribe against the highly addictive drug, the MTV-style video "Heroin Kills" includes scenes shot in the hallways and a bathroom of Westminster High School, a cemetery, Carroll County Detention Center, the emergency room entrance of Carroll County General Hospital, a Westminster home and a local hotel.
The video features portrayals of paramedics trying to revive an overdose victim, a father finding his son dead of a fatal overdose, female students finding a classmate slumped over in a bathroom stall after a heroin overdose and a young woman prostituting herself to earn drug money.
"We didn't want it to be so down that kids won't watch it," Auerback said. "So we really tried for a haunting, eerie effect that will make them want to see it while getting the message across."
The annual drug summit is sponsored by the county commissioners and organized by Junction Inc., a substance-abuse prevention and treatment facility in Westminster. The meeting provides an opportunity to inform the community about how the county is fighting substance abuse. Speakers from law enforcement, the justice system, public schools, treatment services, community groups and prevention services will be featured.
Mark Yount, Junction's substance abuse prevention coordinator, said the gathering will showcase positive activities in the county. That includes performances from Fool Proof, a county high school theater group; the Magi, a self-esteem-building musical group that visits area schools; and Students Helping Others in Understanding Themselves, an anti-drug organization. SHOUT clubs have been formed at most county middle schools. Organizers also will show a segment from the "Just Say No" video.
The summit begins at 7 p.m. at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers on Route 140 outside Westminster.