I had heard of methamphetamine—it’s almost impossible not to—but I didn’t spend much time thinking about the growing problem of meth in Kentucky. I had no reason to, until last week.
On Wednesday morning I received a phone call informing me that a friend of ours had been seriously hurt in a meth lab explosion. He was flown to a hospital in Louisville where he died later that day.
My friend was a husband and father. He helped coach Little League ball teams. He loved to smile, to laugh, and whenever someone needed help, he was always one of the first to extend a hand. He was a good person who made some poor choices and he paid for his mistakes with his life.
Now our small, close-knit community is left wondering “Why?”
Perhaps a better question would be “How?” as in, “How do we stop this growing epidemic?”
Certainly educating the public, and especially our children, about the dangers of meth could help curb use, but it won’t stop it—and for those addicts who end up in prison, there isn’t much help either. According to The Courier-Journal, Kentucky has only two programs with a total of 55 slots for the 6,400 inmates for our county jails. University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol research says that as many as 80 percent of the 12,300 Kentucky inmates have drug or alcohol problems. Obviously many more treatment programs are needed.
My friend’s children went to bed one night, and when they fell asleep they had two parents and a nice home. In the middle of the night, their lives were shattered by an explosion that cost them their father’s life, their home, and their security. And it’s happening over and over again all across Kentucky.
Isn’t it time meth became more than just a word we hear on the evening news? Isn’t it time we stopped looking the other way when someone loses too much weight or exhibits other warning signs of drug use? Our silence and ambivalence is too expensive. The financial and emotional cost is staggering, and it’s one we can no longer afford to ignore.
Meth is no longer someone else’s problem. In one way or another, meth has become everyone’s problem.