The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Debby Thrasher Smith, 66, steps into her Ravenna home on Sunday. Her son, Joe, died here Oct. 29, 2014, of a heroin overdose — his third. He battled with substance abuse in the several years before his death.

A mother reveals what it’s like to live with a son addicted to heroin

Valerie Royzman April 30, 2018

I’m standing on Debby Thrasher Smith’s front porch in Ravenna, tightening my trench coat around my waist. The four wind chimes behind me are knocking delicately against each other, and their tinkling...

The front of the Altercare building.

Portage County considers former nursing home for new drug treatment center

Anna Huntsman September 28, 2017

When one enters Judge Becky Doherty’s courtroom, the first word they see is 'hope.'It rests on her desk at Portage County's Court of Common Pleas, painted on a purple rock and spelled out on a wooden...

Local communities combat heroin epidemic

Dana Miller October 19, 2016

Neighboring cities continue to fight not only heroin, but other forms of substance abuse through community and school programs to educate about prevention, how to get help and why it is a problem.In Portage...


Opinion: Addiction doesn’t exclude

Skye McEowen October 19, 2016

Sitting in my room, I hear a door downstairs shut. For some reason, I feel my heartbeat quicken and a faint dropping sensation in my stomach. Dread sets in, just over a roommate leaving for class.It’s...

Recovering heroin addict Jonny Szczesniak, 20, sits on a bench in his Parma, Ohio, apartment complex on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.

Walking away from the dragon: a recovering addict’s tale

Alex Delaney-Gesing October 19, 2016

Jonny Szczesniak was nine when he tried heroin for the first time.He was at a friend’s house after wrestling practice when his friend began breaking down the drug on a table, then snorting it.“I was...

How to get help

Karl Schneider October 16, 2016

Portage County offers resources for those struggling with addiction. The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County suggests two residential treatment facilities specializing in heroin and opioid...

Editor’s Note: Nothing’s changed

Jimmy Miller October 16, 2016

It’s been 166 days since we released, “Losing Dylan: A mother’s story” and nothing’s changed. Heroin is still a prevalent and grave epidemic on a local and national scale.“Losing Dylan” was...

Dylan Webb is a teaching English as a second language major. Contact him at

The dragon bites back: the rise of the heroin epidemic

Dylan Webb September 13, 2016

The heroin epidemic is hitting Ohio, and it's biting back harder than ever. All over social media this week were the gruesome pictures of a couple in East Liverpool who had overdosed on heroin, a young...

Hannah Armenta

Opinion: Josh’s addiction

Hannah Armenta May 4, 2016

I was sitting in Reagan National Airport, waiting for a flight back home to Cleveland last spring when my phone buzzed. The screen read "Joshie".It takes a certain amount of mental preparation to open...

Matt Poe

Opinion: SNL’s heroin skit is crude, honest and sadly, funny

Matt Poe April 19, 2016

Before you decide to stop reading this column because I called a skit about heroin funny, let me explain.  Last week’s episode of Saturday Night Live contained a skit called “Heroin AM,” which depicted...

Kent State student dies of overdose

Payton Moore March 6, 2016

Andreas Diamantopoulos, a Kent State junior and Stow native, died Feb. 28 from a heroin overdose. The business management major had previously received a four-year academic scholarship to attend Kent State....

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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2