Survivors pay tribute to the man who helped them


More than 30 people, many of them alive thanks to Eddie Sorensen, got together Wednesday to remember the man who had helped them with their own addiction.

Edward “Eddie” Neil Sorensen, of Castaic, who spent his adult life saving the lives of drug addicts – scores of people struggling with drug addiction in the SCV, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose Monday.

On Wednesday night, many of the addicts he turned into survivors, attended a candlelight vigil in his honor in Canyon Country Park on Soledad Canyon Road.

Many of them shared testimonials of tribute to the man they pointed to as having turned their lives around by turning them away from drug addiction.

Jason McClure who organized the event said on this Facebook page: “Let’s remember Eddie was all there for us one way or another. Thank you. My condolences to the family. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!”

Sorensen, 33, born in Los Angeles and a graduate of Saugus High School, was found Monday morning dead inside at the house of a friend in Littlerock outside of Palmdale.

“It was reported a possible drug overdose,” Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner told The Signal Tuesday.

Sorensen was one of two people who died this past weekend of suspected drug overdoses.

Nadia Inez Esmaeel, 29, of Santa Clarita who had graduated from nursing assistant school at the top of her class, died Friday night at the house of a friend in Sylmar of an apparent drug overdose.

While many turned out to pay tribute to the man who steered them away from pain, many others in the SCV continue to struggle with addiction amid a deadly heroin epidemic.

Esmaeel’s mother, Deanna, told The Signal that her daughter “had a bright future ahead of her, and then she was introduced to heroin.”

“One of the most dangerous times in the life of an addict is not when they are in active addiction,” Deanna Esmaeel told The Signal. “It is in the time directly after they have had a clean period, either been through detox and/or rehabilitation.”

“During this time, their tolerance level is very low, and if they enter a period of relapse or try to go back to their normal dose of their drug of choice, it can be deadly. This is what happened to Nadia.”

Cary Quashen, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Executive Director of Behavioral Health and Director of Action Family Counseling, issued the same warning Tuesday after learning of Sorensen’s death.

“A lot of the individuals who lose their lives to overdoses were clean and sober for a long period of time,” he said.

“They pick it up again for whatever reason,” he said about addicts who relapse.

“And, what happens is, their body can’t handle what their mind wants,” he said.

Quashen has been advocating this past month for the public to become more aware of a particularly strong batch of heroin in circulation throughout the SCV since late last month.

On April 25, he spoke at a press conference about the nationwide heroin-opioid epidemic at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, the day after eight patients had been treated at the hospital for heroin overdoses and two days after the body of David Alexander Esquivel, 28, was found in the restroom of Bouquet Canyon Park.


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