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‘Haunted House’ Tells Addiction Story

Halloween was obviously a trendy topic over the past few weeks and, interestingly enough, there was a viral story that emerged about it which touched upon addiction. Over in Centreville Maryland, community members set up a very unique haunted house theme, which simulated the terrors surrounding a dependency.

Described as a “walking, shrieking, living, screaming, PSA,” the decked out maze ran for several weeks and gave guests a firsthand look at what it’s really like to face a looming, overpowering addiction. There were dark corners simulating a heroin overdose, a gritty drug arrest scene, jail cells and grieving family members strewn across various rooms.

This event was certainly not for children, but it made a powerful point and even picked up coverage in The Washington Post. Writer Petula Dvorak took a tour herself and summed up the intense walkthrough.

“The haunted house at the Centreville’s Kennard African American Cultural Heritage Center has scenes from a drug den, a frightening arrest, a court hearing, a jail cell, a wrenching family crisis, and a harrowing overdose,” Dvorak explained. “They go into the dark and dirty details of shooting heroin and fentanyl. It’s intense, but conveys a strong, important message.”

Truth be told, Centreville has been heavily impacted by the country’s opioid crisis. It has one of the highest overdose rates in the nation, with 16 deaths over the past few months.

So it’s no surprise to hear that the townspeople came out en masse to help construct this project. Local carpenters built custom rooms, drama teachers coached several of the performers and multiple costume designers got involved. Local police officers helped consult on the arrest simulations and recovery alumni were recruited to educate people after they completed the maze.

Posters and flyers were also created, encouraging visitors to go back and visit the haunted house’s website. There, people can receive access to local recovery resources and contribute to the cause.

“Our hope is that after touring this event, families will engage in thoughtful discussions about the risks of substance use and the benefits associated with healthier decisions,” event organizers explained on their site. “In the end, we’d like our community to come away with a better understanding of community resources available to those in need—and be further mobilized in our fight to address the opioid epidemic.”