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The Ugly Face of Meth Addiction

All around Susie (not her real name), teens chatted and laughed, but not her. She stared blankly into space. Her eyes were glazed, her face was pale, and her hair looked dead. Somehow this teen girl had turned into an old woman over night. Suddenly I was terrified for her. No longer could I naively attribute her appearance and actions to allergies, cold sores, watching television too late, and having a bad hair day. The truth was that I was staring straight at the ugly face of methamphetamine addiction.

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 All around Susie (not her real name), teens chatted and laughed, but not her. She stared blankly into space. Her eyes were glazed, her face was pale, and her hair looked dead.  Somehow this teen girl had turned into an old woman over night.  Suddenly I was terrified for her. No longer could I naively attribute her appearance and actions to allergies, cold sores, watching television too late, and having a bad hair day.  The truth was that I was staring straight at the ugly face of methamphetamine addiction.

The assumption that small town and country life possess immunity against the evils that plague our larger cities is truly an assumption, and we all know what people say about assumptions:  they make an a__ out of u and me.  Poverty, unemployment, wife beaters, dead beat fathers, pedophiles, alcoholics, and drug abusers strike wherever human beings live.  Probably the only plus to living in a small town setting is that we seldom allow people’s problems to remain under the bushel for long. Some of that may be that we genuinely care about our neighbors, and some of that may be that we simply don’t have that much excitement, so whatever chaos exists becomes the topic of conversation that buzzes between our cell phone towers.  All of these afflictions can have cataclysmic outcomes; however, drug abuse seems to be the harshest.

Having worked with teenagers for nearly two decades, I have witnessed various trends in their   illegal activities.  Toilet papering, egging, and having sex in the back seat of the car have become minor offenses beside drug abuse.  Even occasional marijuana use doesn’t seem as bad compared to what I now see except that I know that marijuana is drug abuse’s embryonic stage.

   The toddler stage starts with slipping some of grandma’s hydrocodone from her hip replacement surgery or mama’s Percocet from her root canal last fall.  Once those are gone and no more relatives are having surgery, budding drug abusers have a few choices.  They can either steal pills from the neighbors or advance to something more available—ecstasy, cocaine, heroine, acid, and probably ones that I have not heard of as of yet.       

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  1. what is susie’s real name?

  2. Obviously I cannot tell you her real name, but she could be so many people. Her story is truly universal.

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