News Articles Text Version

Date 3/16/2001
News Source Bucks County Courier Times
Headline Oxycontin's toll hits home with Phila. pharmacist
Article Text Oxycontin's toll hits home with Phila. pharmacist In pharmacist Ron Hyman's Fishtown neighborhood, Oxycontin hit hard. By J.D. MULLANE Courier Times E-mail In pharmacist Ron Hyman's Fishtown neighborhood, Oxycontin hit hard. The heavy-duty pain reliever, often prescribed for cancer patients, has become a popular drug on the streets. It gives a heroin-like high, law enforcement officials say. In fact, three teens who lived near his store, Esterson's Good Neighbor Pharmacy, died from the drug in January and February. One of those deaths hit close to home for the pharmacist. Lauren Meehan, who was 18, worked for Hyman as a cashier. She had graduated from John W. Hallahan High School and was training to become a medical technician. "A beautiful girl," said her grandmother, Theresa Meehan. She said Lauren was the oldest of eight children. Her mother had a drug problem. When their father died two years ago, the children moved in with their grandmother. Itching for independence, Lauren moved out of her grandmother's house and in with her boyfriend. She took a job after school as a cashier at Hyman's pharmacy. "She loved her life. She loved that little job. Everything seemed to be wonderful for her," Meehan said. Until Jan. 13, when Lauren and another teen took Oxycontin and died in their sleep. Hyman said the pills were bought on the street, since he accounts for every pill he has in the pharmacy. Hundreds came to Lauren's viewing and funeral. Among the mourners was Eddie Bisch, a neighbor. Bisch was 18, a stocky kid with an easy smile. He attended Kensington High School and planned to study culinary arts. He and his sister lived with their grandparents a few doors from Lauren. Eddie came home late from a party on Feb. 18. He had been drinking, and it was obvious, said his grandmother, Maureen Bisch. "He said 'Grandmom, I had too much beer.' I hollered at him. But he said 'Good night, Grandma, I love you. I'll be all right. You worry too much about me,' " Bisch recalled. That was the last thing Eddie said. The next day his sister, Christy, 15, found him dead - another victim of Oxycontin. At Eddie's viewing, an uncle spotted a young kid, maybe 16, putting money into Eddie's casket. The uncle approached the boy and asked what he was doing. "He said that he went to high school with Eddie, and that one day he was standing in line and realized he had no money for lunch," recalled Eddie's grandfather, Edward Bisch. "Eddie was standing behind him and said 'Here, take this' and gave him lunch money. The boy said Eddie didn't even know his name - and he promised to pay him back." RELATED STORIES