Mar 14, 2016 7:26 PM

Exclusive: Woodstock couple speaks from the heart about son's overdose death

WOODSTOCK- Karen McNamara of Woodstock says of heroin, "You have to learn to love the addict and hate the disease."

Karen and Kevin McNamara, parents of the late 34-year-old-Jesse McNamara, looked through old family photos Sunday morning.
Remembering their little boy and not the heroin addict he became.

Jesse died on March 4.

"They found him face down in his apartment on the floor dead, probably about 12 hours after he took the shot," his father
Kevin said.

Reminiscing Sunday, Karen said, "he fell off one of the big horses one time and he said the going down part was really fun. And that was my first indication that we might have a problem here, because he likes the adrenaline, he likes that rush," Karen said while sharing one of her memories of her young son.

It was his death that brought the family together with the Woodstock Police Department to write a public plea last week, in the form of a
press release, to shine a spotlight on addiction that took the life of their son.

Woodstock Police Department Press Release 03-11-2016

On March 4th, 2016 the Woodstock Police Department responded to an apparent overdose death. The investigation is still
pending and the Woodstock Police Department and any with information should contact Sergeant Ryan Oleson, 603-745-8700.

At the request of his family the Police Department has prepared this press release. Jesse Ryan McNamara of North Woodstock
died Friday, March 4, 2016 at his home. He was 34. Jesse had been struggling with addiction for several years and had been
doing well for the past few months. He had been working with his father and things were improving. Then very recently, he
relapsed. He relapsed and now he is gone. The official results of his cause of death will not be released for weeks, but we
all know his addiction undoubtedly is the basis of his passing.

Jesse was born in 1981, a year when there were very few overdose deaths in New Hampshire. In 1981 a gram of uncut heroin cost
more than a thousand dollars. Today our state is seeing hundreds of deaths and the price of heroin is less than a tenth of
what it was in 1981. This trend will continue if we do not come together as a Community, as a State and as a Nation to combat
the problem. Every day every person should commit themselves to doing something about this crisis. If you know someone who is
suffering from addiction then spend time with them. Tell other people about their addiction who can help them, tell as many
people as you can. Get that person as much help as you can. Then work with them through their recovery which hopefully will
last a long, long lifetime.

Jesse was the son of Kevin G. and Karen J. (Hamilton) McNamara. He was a 2000 graduate of Lin-Wood High School in Lincoln,
NH. He loved the outdoors and nature, especially hiking, kayaking, and big mountain skiing. Most importantly, he enjoyed
spending time with his daughter. But that is all gone now, all we have is memories. We must remember Jesse and the hundreds
of others who have lost their battle with addiction. Remember them and do what you can to prevent these tragedies from
happening in your community.

It is important to help local law enforcement with any information you can so that we can make arrests of those who deal
drugs. Finally, we must all work on prevention strategies to address all substance abuse so our next generation will not will
not be faced with such a crisis.

"Well there's a lot of families that are embarrassed by it, it's not the case here. If anybody can be helped by it if one
person you know listens and makes a difference that's why we're doing this," Kevin said.

The McNamara's shared their story to show that the heroin epidemic is not just in the big cities but in the small tourism
towns of the White Mountains as well.

"Lincoln and Woodstock is an oasis of drugs," Karen shared with NH1 News while also wanting to remind people that an addict
may be harder to identify than you would think.

"The heroin addicts used to be the junkies you'd see on the street and you knew who they were. And now the face of a heroin
addict is you know, upper middle class, well-educated, cherubed faced," Karen said.

The McNamara's are committed to searching for answers that led to their son's death.

"Back in the' 60s and '70s and, I don't know, probably '80s, I got into a lot of cocaine and I was a bartender so I had
unlimited access to alcohol, and used way too much," Karen said. "I didn't want the kids, my children, to grow up with a drug
addict and alcoholic as parents."

"Just trying to do the right thing with your children as people do growing up, you know sometimes they follow in your
footsteps; work a good job, raise a nice family," Kevin said. "You would expect some of those things to rub off and some of
them did."

Yet despite their efforts, they watched Jesse's life unravel because of addiction.

"I called DCYF and had his daughter removed from his home," Karen shared. "We even had him arrested and put in jail where I
work, to keep him alive."

The McNamaras shared that Jesse had remained drug-free for the past year, even drug testing him themselves.

Jesse worked with Kevin at their family business, which created an environment where Kevin felt he always could have an eye
on him.

"I worked with him the day he died, until 5 in the afternoon and I didn't notice anything," Kevin said.

"Who's giving people drugs that's killing them? You know? Its the Fentanyl. The Fentanyl and the heroin is 95 percent sure
what killed my son. He didn't know what he was taking."

"I think it's really hard to distinguish the line between helping and enabling," Kevin said. "I mean I was very proactive, I
never let a day go by that I didn't worry about it."


--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --

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