Kenneth "James" Fusca, Jr., 19, sits in his father's Saugus home on Friday, May 5, 2017. James was living on the street after rolling his truck, until he reached out to his mother for help in overcoming his heroin addiction. He'd been using heroin for about 10 months; smoking the opiate for five months, then switching to injection for about five months. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
Intervention for a heroin addict
By Jim Holt, Signal Senior Staff Writer
Just a couple of steps across the lush lawn of their sunny Saugus home, past the flourish of white roses out front, a girl opens the front door to greet Cary Quashen who has arrived with a promise to bring drug intervention to her heroin-addicted older brother, and save his life.
Quashen, Henry Mayo Executive Director of Behavioral Health and Director of Action Family Counseling, has come to take James Fusca to rehab in Piru – if all goes according to plan.
He shakes the hand of the Fusca’s father, Kenneth, who gives him a brief recap of how the “burden” of heroin has broken his family and led them to this moment - lies, broken promises, kicking his son out of the house, then allowing him to move back into the garage.
At that moment, heroin’s ultimate toll appears on the staircase, as 19-year-old James Fusca ambles slowly down the carpeted steps to join Quashen and his father at the dining room table.
Father and son have the same lean face with a sharp angular bone structure. James is actually Kenneth "James" Fusca Jr., but the similarities end there.
The health effects of a two day drug withdrawal contort the younger man’s face. His mouth remains open as if locked. His eyes are half-shut, they fail to focus.
“You look like s---,” Quashen tells him, wasting no time on chit chat.
Quashen tells the dad to sit by his son. He tells to son to take his father’s hand.
“I want you to repeat after me, ‘Dad, I love my drugs more than you,’” he tells James.
There’s a pause, a brief silence but then Quashen tells the young man again. “I want to tell your dad, ‘Dad, I love my drugs more than you.’”
Quietly, still holding his father’s hands, now looking at him, he says: “Dad, I love my drugs more than you.”
The words are barely out of the young man’s mouth when Quashen asks him: “Is that true?”
With a gut-wrenching sob, the son blurts out. “No.”
The father, up to this moment strong and resigned to the intervention, is now in tears. He hugs his son, this time, through his own tears.
The next words out of the addict’s mouth are his own.
“Dad, I love you so much. I’m so sorry for all the bullshit I’ve put you through,” he says.
Quashen tells father and son to stand up. “Give your dad a hug.”
Quashen, looking on, tells them: “This is what drugs take away.”
(Story continues below)