How a Drug-infested Motel in Northwest Dallas ‘ruined Many, Many Lives' in Coppell

The funerals for the former Coppell students began about three years ago. The former star lacrosse player. The one-time basketball heroes. The used-to-be straight-A students. The bright, the handsome, the sweet. And each time a body was buried, each time a parent said farewell to a child, there was silence about what claimed them. There were, instead, only the tear-stained wails of too soon, too young. Finally, Colleen Michaelis said what other Coppell parents would not: Their good kids, raised in a city Money magazine not long ago deemed one of the best U.S. cities in which to live, were dying of heroin overdoses. She knew because her son Tommy McClenahan, who played lacrosse, was among the young and the dead. His was "the typical path" of an opioid addict, Tommy's mother said Monday. He went from Hydrocodone — prescribed while in college following a wakeboarding accident — to OxyContin to the heroin that killed him on Aug. 10 of last year at the age of 24"Nobody was being forthright about what was going on," Michaelis told me. Her voice was as full of sadness and fury as when she addressed her boy's life and death on podcasts about opioid addiction last year. "When Tommy died, I said, 'I am going to speak to the elephant in the room, because here we were are again in the same place, mourning the loss of a great kid.'"But only last week Michaelis discovered her son and other young heroin users from Coppell likely shared something else in common: a place in Northwest Dallas called Han Gil Hotel Town. The rundown motel became infamous in recent weeks after dozens of federal agents stormed and shuttered the place beneath a helicopter's search light.  Continue reading...

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