Note: This was originally published on Jan. 6, 2005.
PEABODY — OxyContin and heroin addiction are afflicting a new generation of young people, most of them anonymous to the general public.
But there's one person on the North Shore whose drug problems have been played out on the front pages of the newspaper and in a national magazine.
Jeff Allison was one of the best pitchers ever from this area, named the high school baseball player of the year by Baseball America magazine. He was drafted in the first round by the Florida Marlins and signed to a contract worth $1.85 million.
But now the 20-year-old is back home in Peabody, lucky to be alive after overdosing on heroin July 17 in Lynn.
Allison started taking OxyContin in high school, before he was drafted by the Marlins. He reported five weeks late for spring training, then left the team without permission. He forfeited $200,000 of his signing bonus and is not being paid by the team.
Allison now says he is working out and plans to make a comeback with the Marlins at spring training in February. In an interview with The Salem News in November, Allison called his drug experiences a "bad dream."
"The only thing to do is move on and look ahead," he said.