Pubdate: Sat, 12 Oct 2002
Source: Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, AL)
Copyright: 2002 Daily Mountain Eagle
Author: Susan Sanford


Have you paid close attention to the police blotter of late? If you have, 
you have noticed that thefts all over the county have involved the taking, 
not of just one or two items, but of whole housefuls of items and 
appliances, or entire shops of tools. I believe these thefts are directly 
connected to the drug trade. People who do drugs have an urgent and 
compelling need to get their hands on as much cash as possible. They will 
do anything up to and including robbing their parents, elderly grandparents 
or other family members to obtain quick funding.

One of the things that has concerned me recently is the rash of 
drug-related cases in and around our county, and in particular, deaths and 
sicknesses of people I know who have problems with substance abuse.

When we think of drugs, we usually think of the hard stuff, that trash 
being manufactured by lawbreakers on the corners of our hometown streets or 
down at the local body shop, or even out on the backyard barbecue.

When the citizen of average intelligence reads the list of ingredients 
which go into the making of illegal methamphetamine, he wonders where the 
users were when they passed out brains.

Drain cleaner, cold medicine, anhydrous ammonia, brake cleaner, camp stove 
fuel, ethanol, iodine, lithium batteries, lye, and starter fluid are some 
of the unhealthy - in fact, deadly chemicals used in meth and are killers 
in any combination. Lye and battery acid alone will eat skin and flesh in a 
second, and reports I have received say that meth eats away at the body 
from the inside!

For whatever reason, people decide to test the "high" received from taking 
this trash into their body by several methods - snorting, shooting or 
perhaps unknown other ways of committing an early suicide.

And the most deadly drug to come along in some time, oxycontin, has also 
made itself known. It is mostly used for pain suffered by cancer patients 
who have exhausted other methods of pain relief and can only be obtained by 
prescription. This very morning, a news story told of five persons in a 
city who were arrested for forging oxycontin prescriptions.

I was told the almost unbelievable story of a relatively young local man 
who has continued to go to the dentist to have his teeth pulled - one by 
one - so that he can get a prescription for the drug, until he has almost 
no teeth.

Recently, I was talking with a young man I have known since he was a 
toddler. Since I had not seen him for a while, I was shocked to see that he 
had lost so much weight, he was almost skin and bones, but declared that he 
had put on weight since his treatment for meth addiction. His skin was 
colorless with big circles under his eyes. His pretty smile was gone and 
his teeth were ruined. He was sweating profusely as he told me of talking 
with an acquaintance who was once overweight and was now thin, also as a 
result of being on the deadly drug. The other person had told him that he 
was doing the drug on a daily basis because he felt as if he would die from 
withdrawal pains.

The sad fact is that he will surely die from doing the drug.

Almost weekly, we publish obituaries of people who have been consumed by 
the drug, or perhaps committed suicide or been killed in accidents directly 
resulting from their involvement in substance abuse.

Where do we start to control the epidemic of drug use?

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the younger we start education 
about drug abuse in the school systems, say even second and third grade, 
the better. Young children are very smart and this is one issue that will 
not disappear by our ignoring or minimizing it. The dangers of drug use - 
and even prescription drug abuse - cannot be overemphasized.

Of course the most valuable tools in the war against drug addiction are 
still caring parents and family who know what is going on with their 
children. I wonder how this can be when we see hundreds of kids standing on 
streets, in parking lots, and cruising malls - both inside and out - at all 
hours of the night with no supervision.

There is one thing that remains true. A loving God has given us the most 
valuable gift we will ever have here on earth - life. We only have one and 
we have been instructed to take care of it because it is the temple of the 
soul. I Corinthians 6: 19-20.

And make no mistake about it, the devil "walks around as a roaring lion, 
seeking whom he may devour." I Peter 5:8.

Now if we could only get the drug-user to see the picture of himself 
walking around with satan by his side, arm around his shoulder, perhaps we 
could begin to help him.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens