No. 357

A few days ago I got a very touching letter from a young man who was in jail in another state. He begins by saying; “I saw your article about drugs and not knowing who your friends are. Someone brought a newspaper into the cell and I found it lying on the table. Reading about the two young men reminded me that it is not only young college age people who get into real trouble because of drugs.” He then began to tell me, in a three page handwritten letter, the most horrible story about events in his life that led to his incarceration and the loss of his family, at least for the time being.
It should be understood here that presenting columns of this nature bring me no real pleasure, because we would all rather hear about success and other positive things, but if my column helps thousands of people avoid the pitfalls of using drugs, it will be worth it all. The true-life experience this young man related to me is especially fitting because it is not about “Illegal” drugs but about “Prescription” drugs that have been his undoing. There are a number of issues in his story that can touch each of us and I bet you can figure out what they are.
Here are some of the details that may place you inside his skin so that you can feel and experience some of the things that he is experiencing. He said that soon after graduating from college his wife gave birth to their third child, a son, and she later returned to work at the local hospital, while he remained home to take care of the children. (Keep in mind that this is his story) In August he noticed that his right arm was going to sleep even when he was up and about. Within a month the numbness was replaced with a throbbing pain. After he consulted his family doctor and went through a number of ordered tests, he was prescribed pain medication.
He remained on the pain medication until he underwent spinal fusion surgery the following May. While on the mend from the surgery he was prescribed a stronger version, Percocet 10mg and then he noticed that both of his legs were burning, even though he was on this medication. At this point he consulted the same neurosurgeon who had performed the first surgery. The diagnosis was another spinal fusion surgery and again was prescribed another pain medication, this time Valium 10mg was also added. He said his family could tell that something had changed in him, but they were the only ones until now.
On the morning of April 22nd, the day after his baby son’s 2nd birthday, he awoke around 10:30 AM and found his two school age watching their little brother. He had not gotten up to take the children to school. Being arrested by the state police at his brother’s house was the next thing he remembered. At this point, I am going to break in and summarize his story. This man left his three children and went to call his wife who was 100 miles away, working at another hospital. After he got to his brother’s house, he looked and could not find his son. The creek behind the house was up and he just knew he had fallen into it, so he called 911. The police and rescue squad arrived and after a thorough search, the child could not be found.
All of his children were found three days later at an apartment and he was charged with three counts of felony abandonment and for DUI. He had been in jail for 42 days because his bail was so high he could not raise it. The rest of his story about the consequences of his actions is even sadder, but as he said, “I had never used drugs before and the “Prescription” drugs were a new false sense of security for me.” He concludes with these words, “I can only wait and hope for the best; I hope my family will still want me.” The point is simple. You, or I, can get hooked on “Prescription” drugs. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)