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Recovering: Carthage panel addresses opioid addiction | Local News

“Charles ‘Destin’ David Shryock, age 22, Carl Junction, passed away on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at his home.”

The cause of Shryock’s death — an apparent opioid overdose — remains unspoken in his obituary. Friends and family were left to struggle in private with the full story: that he was one of the estimated 2 million Americans who have problems with opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

Overdose deaths are less common in the Joplin area than other parts of the state. But in many ways, the problem is already here.

People across the Joplin area have been devastated by opioid abuse. And they have already begun to recover from losing a brother, husband or father, or of being beset with addiction themselves.

Their stories of recovery are a valuable resource, providing a map of addiction that could help contain its seemingly inexorable spread.

But sharing their experience isn’t easy. It requires piercing the veil of silence that continues to surround addiction in America, even as the country is devastated by an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. It means confronting the shame that keeps addiction out of obituaries and exacerbates addiction itself.

“He never wanted to disappoint me,” said Kathie England-Hinds, Shryock’s mother.

Speaking out

In an attempt to shed light on addiction in the Joplin area, a group of people affected by opioid abuse gathered Thursday night in Carthage to share resources and stories of recovery.

“Seeing as we as a family have been through that, we want to help others in the community,” said Samantha Mountjoy, 22, whose father died last year after a long struggle with opioid addiction.

The panel was organized by Jennifer Cartright, Mountjoy’s aunt. In addition to losing her brother to opioid abuse, Cartright, who runs a medical services business in…

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