Battling heroin, from all sides in the Finger Lakes

Even a mom with a career in mental health and addiction treatment couldn’t save her son from heroin.

“I am helping people in their darkest hour. But I never thought this darkness would strike my own son,” said Rachel Bruzee, whose advocacy for families in crisis took on a new urgency when she nearly lost her son, Nicholas, 26, to heroin four years ago.

Bruzee, who lives in Geneva, has a resume that includes work for Lakeview Mental Health Services Inc. and Finger Lakes Area Counseling and Recovery Agency (FLACRA). Now, in a personal battle for her son and for others struggling with addiction, her advocacy is a round-the-clock mission. That involves a project called Endure Outreach Network and efforts toward passage of Casey’s Law in New York.

Casey’s Law was inspired by the death of Matthew Casey Wethington, a Kentucky man who died at age 23 of a heroin overdose. It passed in Kentucky and has similar versions in Florida and Ohio. The law provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize their own need for treatment due to substance abuse and the disorders that come with it. Casey’s Law allows parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of a person (over 18) impaired by substance abuse.

Bruzee learned first-hand what it’s like when your child is addicted to heroin and you are helpless.

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