Test 3

North TV documentary tackles addiction

NORTH ATTLEBORO - “911, this line is recorded, what’s your emergency?”

“Yes, I need an ambulance at 890 South Washington Street, North Attleboro, Mass.”

“Okay, what’s going on over there?”

“I have a customer at a pump, his car door is open and he is lying down on the ground and he’s passed out between his car and the pump.”

“Okay, so he’s unconscious right now? Do you know if he’s breathing or anything?”

“I have no idea if he’s breathing or not. Another customer that was at the pump…is he breathing?”

“He’s breathing, but he’s lying down on the ground curled up in a ball.”

“Okay, just stay on the line with me, I’m getting units going that way, okay?”

A loud BEEP is heard.

“Respond to George’s Shell. Currently on the line with an employee there. She’s saying there’s a person at the pumps passed out.”

The sound of a siren can be heard.

“Ma’am, I actually have an officer there right now.”

“I was going to say, yeah, I just saw him pull in as you were dispatching somebody.”

That North Attleboro police officer was John Grim.

Someone in a nearby car captured the dramatic moments when Grim administered Narcan to the left nostril of a man lying on the cement. Grim then rubbed the man’s chest, “Come on, what’s your name? Hey, hey, talk to me, come on.”

The man responds as paramedics arrive on the scene.

That call and Grim’s heroic actions took place on September 18, 2017 at 7:25 p.m..

They make up the first few minutes of a new North TV documentary.

Our staff had wanted to follow up on a special we had produced a couple of years ago about homelessness. That award-winning documentary certainly opened eyes about the large number of people without a consistent roof over their heads.

Although educational, the special wasn’t as powerful as it could have been due to the fact we were unable to interview anyone who was actually homeless.

I mentioned that to North Attleboro Police Chief John Reilly after a news interview over a year ago and our desire to produce a documentary about addiction. He suggested I reach out to Brett Luongo, who had formed a group of recovering addicts.

The group needed a place to meet at the time and Reilly had offered the police station’s amphitheater. It was a strange marriage, but it worked.

I knew Brett from when I had called his name many years ago when he was a standout on the North Attleboro football team.

Brett not only offered to help, he also contacted friends who were willing to tell their stories on-camera and we were soon introduced to Sean, Lee, Amy, Matt, Joanne and Chris.

The 54-minute special tells their stories through a series of chapters ranging from their childhood to when they each hit rock bottom. They all admitted to feeling different while growing up, regrets they had and the terrible impact their addictions had on their families.

Some of those family members also agreed to be interviewed, including Chris and Kim, both mothers of recovering addicts.

Kim recalled the night she told her son to leave her home. “I still hear the echo of that door to my apartment closing, when he took all of his stuff in his garbage bag,” she says on-camera while fighting back tears.

“I thought, alright, but what I did hear in the back of my mind was God just did for me what I couldn’t do to myself.”

Another Kim featured was the girlfriend of an addict. I use the word “was” because State Police found him unresponsive one day. Unlike the man Grim saved, it was too late to administer Narcan. “Rigor mortis had already set in,” she explained.

The people featured in the documentary agreed to tell their stories in the hopes they may help others struggling with the many issues discussed.

They also want individuals and family members to know they are not alone; help is available from people who have walked in their shoes.

Click below to stream "North TV Reports: Addiction Hits Home."