Drugs KILL

My heart is heavy with sadness this morning. I want to tell you about something that happened Wednesday. I'm not using real names or locations because there will be a murder trial about this. I don't want to be part of pre-trial publicity that might be prejudicial.

We, my husband and I, have a dear friend who called early yesterday morning. She'd been up all night. A few weeks ago she confided about the hell her sister has been living through. Her sister's teenage son, involved with drugs since high school, had grown increasingly violent with much violence directed at her. The deputies had been called to the residence many times because he was beating up on her, but each time she would not press charges. He was her son. Desperately, she loved him. She prayed he would clean up. She did everything she could to get him to clean up.

In the end, she lived in fear. She became even more afraid that if she pressed charges, he would be released and would take out his fury on her. She was a tiny petite woman. Her teenage son is well over six feet.

Finally, she did have an arrest warrant for mental reasons sworn out. He was picked up. The shrinks said he was normal. He was released.

He stabbed her to death sometime this week. They don't know when yet. Her body wasn't discovered until Wednesday night. He was still on the premises and was arrested.

She was a single mother who did everything she could for him. She loved him dearly. He had grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who loved him. In the end, none of that meant anything compared to the drugs he was hooked on and the devastation wreaked on him.

Who are his victims besides his own mother? Her sister. Her elderly parents. All the family. Friends. The list is long.

Why do I write this? To make these points.

If you haven't tried drugs, DON'T. There's increasing evidence that there's a genetic factor in addiction. Maybe you have the gene that predisposes toward addiction. Maybe you don't. Do you really want to test something like this?

If you are on drugs, do whatever you need to do to get off. You may save a life--your own, or the lives of everyone who cares for you.

If you know someone on drugs, and you care about them, do whatever you have to do to get them off, even if that's turning them in.

If someone is physically abusing you, press charges. It doesn't matter if the abuser is your spouse or your child. Do it the first time. If it's an ongoing thing, then plan ahead for shelter and support from family, friends, or social services. Don't let it become a cycle of abuse that climaxes in unspeakable violence.

Drugs are killing our country. They are the scourge of the small parish in Louisiana where I grew up. You can't pick up a newspaper without hearing about some drug-related violence. You can't listen to a news broadcast without hearing about it. When kids get hooked young, the situation is particularly dangerous.

We had friends whose daughter tried drugs in middle school. By high school they had to have a forced intervention which culminated in shipping her out west to one of those isolated drug rehab places. She came home, hating them. She graduated from high school and moved out, never wanting anything to do with them again. They got her off drugs, but they haven't heard from her in years. They don't know whether she's alive or dead. They saved her life for the short term, but they suspect it was too late.

My daughter had a college friend whose older boyfriend gave her meth. She dropped out of college, spent months in a rehab, and struggles to stay clean. Her family moved away in order to break the connection with the bad influence. Drug sellers never let you alone. If you're around, they'll get to you. Users can't return to their old life with their old friends.

Meth has got to be the worst. I think they ought to make posters of before meth and after meth pictures of users and hang them along the hall ways in high schools. I've seen documented photographs. Meth can take a beautiful, glossy-haired woman in her twenties and transform her in a few years, should she live that long, into a toothless, straw-haired woman who looks fifty or more.

The next time you watch a movie, notice how drug use is glamorized or made part of the humor, especially in movies aimed at young people. Is it any surprise that kids think drugs are cool, hip, or just a funny thing?

Drugs do kill. No, drugs didn't wield the knife this young man used to repeatedly stab his mother. He did that. But drugs killed his life and every hope and dream he had. And drugs killed the hopes and dreams held by those who loved him.

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