MS. EMILY BERMAN
We're going to head out to Ocean City, Md. now, for On the Coast…
MS. EMILY BERMAN
…in which Bryan Russo brings us the latest from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Coastal Delaware. Last week, Bryan reported on an uptick in heroine abuse around Ocean City and what police and addiction counselors are doing about it. This week he brings us a more personal tale, that of a man named Kevin Cranfield. Kevin is a well-known member of the skate and surf communities in Ocean City, but he's also struggled with heroin addiction. He's been clean for nearly five years and now mentors others trying to kick their drug addictions. He met up with Bryan Russo at a coffee shop earlier this week to share his story.
MR. KEVIN CRANFIELD
Heroin was definitely not my first drugs of choice, so heroin came a little bit later down the road, but when the one drug that you're into just isn't around, and all of a sudden somebody's like, well, hey, I got this. Well, let's try this. And honestly and truly the first time I tried it I didn't like it. You know, the whole like, once we did it--and we didn't shoot it, we snorted it and got sick.
MR. KEVIN CRANFIELD
I didn't really understand the high because I'm actually really an uppers guy, you know. My addiction's basically based on, like, crack cocaine. And when I lived in California it was crystal meth. I will say that with all the drugs, opiates are the hardest ones to get off of. For myself, it was the hardest one for me to get off of.
MR. BRYAN RUSSO
How old were you when you took the turn towards the so-called recreational drugs, pot, drinking, into maybe what's considered the harder drugs, crack cocaine and heroin?
Well, my first time ever doing drugs I was probably 14, you know. And then it was stuff called quicksilver, it was the stuff you huffed. You got it from the public library. You know, just like any of the huffing stuff. Then I stopped for a couple years and the drugs for me really started probably when I was like 17, 18. And it went from just, you know, smoking weed to drinking, to all of a sudden, before I knew it, my life was already out of control. I mean it didn't take long for me. It went from weed to acid, you know, acid shrooms, all the psychedelics and then it went--I mean, I'm not even talking a year, you know. I started dabbling with the harder drugs, crack cocaine and stuff like that.
Is there any moment while you were using those drugs and getting high, that you thought, I'm losing control a little bit? And if you did feel that, what was it about the high that overrode those feelings and fear or cautiousness?
I started realizing that I didn't use like my friends did. And when I say use and getting high, it's alcohol, it's all of it. It's all mixed in together for me. And I approached some friends and, you know, tried to start changing my life then. It didn't work for the simple fact was the drugs made me feel like somebody, you know. I mean when I was high or when I was loaded I was like even more outgoing. I could talk to the females better. You know, all those little like insecurities that I had that people don't really recognize.
I mean, when I had drugs, I had no insecurities, you know. I thought I was the man. You know what I mean? And that was the first like grab. That was the first thing that I loved about it. You know I felt powerful.
Tell me about when you made the decision almost five years ago to get clean and the process that it's been in staying clean for these five years.
My clean day is December 20, '08. It was probably a few days prior to that I had been actively back to smoking crack again, you know. And then it wasn't so much as opiates, but it was xanax's. And I was going into a lot of benzo blackouts, not knowing what I was doing. And it got to the point of my using was at a height of where, like, nobody knew I was doing it--or so I thought--hiding in my house, the coach is in front of the door, paranoia and the last day that I used the benzos and the crack cocaine was basically trying to kill myself.
I wanted to smoke and take as many pills as I possibly could because I was just done. I was like I'm never, ever, ever, ever going to get this, you know. And I had this like--we'll call it a moment of clarity. I was like, all right. I'm going to give this thing one more shot. From that day on, like I said, December 20 of '08, the effort I put into getting high, I've put into staying clean and into my recovery.
Do kids ever come to you or their parents ever come to you and say, you know, Kevin, we know you've been through this. How do I help my kid from not going through something like this?
Oh, definitely. It's been weird, you know. I've had it on both sides, with the kids coming to me and then the parents coming to me. And there's a crew of kids that, like, I really love them, you know. I took them under my wing and, you know, some of them are doing the right thing and some of them are doing what most of us did at that age. It's scary. But I've also heard some really good things, where a couple kids are trying to get help. I hope maybe it's because of what they saw me go through. I try to be that person that they can go to, you know, when they're scared to go to maybe Mom or Dad. I can't say I'll never get high again, but what I can sit here and say, I don’t ever want to get high again.
That was Ocean City resident Kevin Cranfield speaking with our Coastal reporter Bryan Russo. You can find a longer version of this interview at our website, metroconnection.org. Time for a break, but when we get back, saying goodbye when your school shuts down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1
I'm comfortable at Spingarn. So now they are pushing us out. You've got no choice.
That and more in a minute on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.
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