How America’s Opioid Epidemic Moved A Hero Into A Villain

Completely heartless” is the only way to describe the violation that George Elwood Tschaggeny supposedly perpetrated last month, Sgt. Pete Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, told The Oregonian.

As the heroes of a deadly May 26 strike on a Portland train set bleeding from spear meanders, police add 51 -year-old Tschaggeny plagiarized a backpack and wedding ring from one of the succumbing guys — the ring directly off his finger. The pieces belonged to 53 -year-old Ricky Best, a retired Army veteran and marriage father of four who had tried to stop a known white supremacist from mistreating two young women.

Many were quick to peg Tschaggeny a monster. But current realities is the alleged burglar was once celebrated for his bravery, too.

In 2010, Portland police awarded Tschaggeny the Civilian Medal of Heroism after he and another man grasped an armed bank crime suspect in March of that year. The apportion award, which the Portland Police Bureau associated itself with HuffPost, described the two men’s activities as” courageous and selfless .”

That was years before Tschaggeny’s life was upended by addiction, as The Oregonian and KOIN 6 News reported the coming week. Before he, like too many other Americans, became part of the deadly opioid epidemic now broom communities across the nation. Before he became homeless and are determined to steal from a dying man.

” Not in my wildest dreams would I ever suspect he’d be facing what he’s facing ,” Tschaggeny’s former wife told The Oregonian.” This is just not him .”

” Addiction is a situation of madnes ,” his sister Camille told KOIN 6, adding that frantic beings often do desperate stuffs.

Portland Police Bureau
George Elwood Tschaggeny supports his Civilian Medal of Heroism award in 2010.

Tschaggeny, like Best, is a military veteran and was formerly merrily marriage, according to The Oregonian. He ran in property administration, dreamed of opening a restaurant and, in his spare time, enjoyed hiking and biking.

But he dealt with chronic knee agony stemming from childhood traumata, which was eventually dealt with at prescription anaesthetics. And as some opioid prescriptions do, Tschaggeny’s led to addiction. Eventually, he turned to heroin.

If you think for one minute this can’t happen with someone in their own families, you are grossly mistaken. Camille, Tschaggeny’s sister

The life of the man whom his sister told KOIN 6 you are able to” crave in your community” — the guy who in 1998 stopped along a highway to help an injured motorcyclist — immediately unraveled. Tschaggeny ended up in and out of rehab. In 2015, his wife filed for divorce and later a restraining notice. Then came homelessness and run-ins with the laws and regulations, including an seize for attempted burglary last year.

” He ever answered,’ It announces you, it announces you, it calls you ,'” his former partner told The Oregonian, referring to his addiction.” And every time something made him down or he give person down, it contributed him back into this deep pit .”

Portland Police
George Elwood Tschaggeny in a police booking photo.

As happy as it is, Tschaggeny’s story is far from unique.

Since 1999, opioid prescriptions and sales have quadrupled in the United States, a surge that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks” helped create and fuel” epidemic diseases of misuse and overdosing. In 2012 alone, U.S. physicians handed out 259 million opioid prescriptions — one for every adult in the commonwealth. When they can no longer acquire prescription anaesthetics, those who have become addicted may turn to cheaper heroin. Some resort to crime to pay for their attire. Others end up a statistic, among the approximately 90 Americans that croak every day from an opioid overdose, according to 2015 CDC statistics.

Few commonwealths ought to have harder hit by the crisis than Oregon. In 2015, nearly 1 in 4 Oregonians received a opioid prescription, and the government systematically grades in the top five for non-medical employment of prescription opioids, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Undertaking the outbreak was the subject of a sounding Wednesday before the Oregon House Committee on Health Care.

These eras, roughly 75 percent of new heroin users start out utilizing prescription drugs, according to Dwight Holton, a former U.S. lawyer for Oregon and the present CEO of Lines for Life, a nonprofit working to prevent substance abuse and suicide. After so many years of dealing with misfortune after misfortune, Holton said he’s” candidly sick and tired of satisfying mothers who have lost children to opioid overdose that started with prescription drugs .”

Tschaggeny’s story” crystalizes how quickly you can go from the guy next door to someone so frantic that they are able to do something that most of us consider entirely impossible and inhuman ,” Holton said.

Surveillance video released June 1 by Portland police shows the suspected thief, later identified as Tschaggeny, going off a MAX Light Rail train. He’s wearing black shorts, a black Marilyn Monroe T-shirt and a pitch-black baseball cap. In his hands are two knapsacks, one of which police do belongs to Best and contained a number of” personal items important to the Best category .”

The following period, a tip-off from a Domino’s Pizza employee contributed police to a homeless camp along Interstate 84. There they found Tschaggeny, allegedly wearing Best’s wedding band and in self-possession of his backpack. He was arrested without incident.

On Tuesday, Tschaggeny pleaded not guilty to felony indicts of identity fraud, crime and misuse of a corpse, The Oregonian reports. He’s due back in courtroom July 24.

Tschaggeny’s sister suggested that her friend had an opportunity to initially been trying to help Best. However,” when he saw that there was nothing he could[ do] to influence a positive outcome, the voice of the addiction grabbed him and enunciated,’ Dude, we’re in a desperate statu. This is time for a frantic deed ,'” she told KOIN 6.

She added that she is” horribly, horribly sorry” for the additional anguish her brother effected the Best family and alleged,” I’m not praying for the family’s forgiveness. I think it’s an ask too great .”

But she hopes parties is understood that her friend is duelling a crippling addiction.

” If you think for one minute this can’t happen with person in your family ,” she added,” “you think youre” grossly corrects .”

Like it.? Share it:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.