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Beyond Addiction: Harper Stantz’ mom speaks out about opioid crisis for the first time

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The mother of Harper Stantz, the 16-year-old Binghamton teen hit and killed by a drugged driver, is speaking out about the opioid crisis for the first time since her daughter’s death.

In an exclusive interview with 12 News, she said she never imagined her daughter or family would be victims of the drug epidemic.

The tragic crash happened in March. Kevin Wilcox is now behind bars after pleading guilty to hitting and killing Harper while on Heroin.

The case shook the Southern Tier and the Broome County Sheriff’s Office says drugged driving is a growing problem.

“The heroin epidemic is just wreaking havoc in Broome County,” said Broome County Sheriff’s Deputy and Drug Recognition Expert Kevin Griffiths.

Griffiths is the DRE who evaluated Wilcox after the crash. Documents obtained by 12 News from the evaluation show Wilcox admitting he was an addict, treated by a doctor. The Broome County District Attorney confirmed Wilcox was on heroin at the time of the crash.

“It’s devastating for the community as a whole,” said Griffiths. “You’ve got the victims of incidents like that, like Harper Stantz’ parents that are you know, have lost a loved one because of that.”

It’s an issue Harper’s mother Patty, is hoping her daughter can help change.

“It killed our child. A beautiful innnocent victim in the prime of her life… her life was taken away prematurely because a heroin addict decided to shoot up and then get behind the wheel and run her over at 3:30 in the afternoon,” said Patty.

She told 12 News while she doesn’t blame anyone, “there’s gotta be accountability maybe not by the person who is a drug addict but by bigger pharmaceuticals that are prescribing opioids that make these children or people addicts.”

If you or someone you know is struggling from addiction, there are resources here that can help.

Chloe Vincente

Chloe Vincente is an Evening News Anchor at 12 News.

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