Heroin epidemic gripping Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES -- An epidemic of heroin overdoses has gripped one local town after the death of a 17-year-old this week, and the teenager who supplied him with the powerful drug is now facing serious charges.

Port Angeles Police say the resurgence of heroin might be happening because they’ve mostly squashed problems with other drugs like meth and prescription pain killers.

The latest overdose is one of at least five in Clallam County in just the past ten days.

Family and friends grieve the loss of 17-year-old Maceo’ Neihaus. They wear t-shirts showing his face hoping the community will stop the influx of heroin.

“He was awesome, he was unconditionally loving, he loved everybody,” said Rickie Neihaus, Maceo’s grandmother. “Everyone loved him. This is hell.”

Police say 18-year-old David Zavodny supplied Neihaus with the heroin that killed him. Prosecutors charged Zavodny with running a drug house and they’re considering charging him with homicide. But Neihaus’ family struggles to demonize the man who they believe killed Maceo’.

“Sadness for him as well because he’s just a young man,” said Rickie. “I know a lot of people don’t feel that way, they would like to see bad things happen to him but he’s just a young man as well with an addiction.”

Heroin use has gripped the small peninsula community of Port Angeles. Police say in the past ten days 5 people have overdosed on the powerful drug. Authorities say their success with stamping out rampant use of meth and prescription drugs now means a rise in heroin use.

Clallam County Superior Court placed Zavodny’s bail at a $250,000.

Maceo’s family says the boy always wanted to do something big, that he’d always be remembered. His mother hopes her son’s death will be a wake-up call for other kids to stay away from heroin.

“I have so much anger,” said Miranda Cedar, Maceo’s mother. “Just so much fear for all these children out here.”

Port Angeles Police hope stories like this will keep people from trying heroin.

A funeral for Maceo takes place at the Drennan-Ford Funeral Home Thursday, May 23rd in Port Angeles.