Prescription drugs, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Is it the perfect combination for an exhilarating high, or a mind altering cocktail that ends in death?
Porter-Starke Addictions Councilor, Leo Smith, has seen at least 50 people he knows die from this type of combination in the 10 years he’s been working with clients in Starke County.
We might have been shocked by the tragic death of icon Whitney Houston, but Leo Smith wasn’t. He sees Whitney Houston-type tragedies every month.
“I’ve been talking to some of the people I work with at Porter-Starke and we were talking about this incident. One of them brought up local people. We started identifying people that we knew in this area that passed away due to these drug and alcohol addictions. People would get up and share their stories about how they knew this person. It’s a celebrity problem and it’s terrible when these things happen with celebrities, but let’s take a look at what’s going on here,” said Smith.
How many times when we hear of a local drug or alcohol overdose do we categorize it as a deserved fate? Leo Smith doesn’t. To Leo, they are all as important as Whitney Houston.
“They’re human beings, they have people who love and care about them and they love and care about people. The most difficult thing there is about addictions is when a person crosses that line into the addiction, regardless of what they love, the addiction takes over. That’s such a hard concept to understand.”
If you follow the WKVI website you would think that locally we’re in a meth crisis. Leo says, don’t underestimate the prescription pill abuse.
“Meth is making a big comeback. It’s always been here, but for a while there you didn’t hear a lot about it. Everytime I’d look at it on the WKVI website, there’s a meth bust. It is huge, but there is a bigger prescription drug problem. Some people refer to it as the Starke County mix.”
Every addict has a responsibility to inform their doctor of their particular addiction when he or she is considering a prescription drug.
“If you are a recovering addict or alcoholic, you need to let your doctor know what you are. At least you have a game plan and they can say you’ve got some options rather than writing you prescriptions.”