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Monday, May 2, 2016

Hitting the high road

Monday, June 2, 2003

Editor's note: This is a true story. However, John Doe is a fictitious name used to protect the man's identity for his safety.

Part 1

With a feeling of panic escalating, John Doe, a Clay county native, broke out in a sweat as he slammed down the phone. What could he do? John intermittently stroked his hands through his short brown hair and pounded his fists against his thighs as he paced the floor in the living room of his parents' home where he lived.

Then with a sense of resignation, he slumped down on the couch, near tears. As soon as he'd heard the probation officer tell him he had to submit to a random urine test, John knew he was going to jail. He knew the test would show positive for both marijuana and methamphetamine.

Suddenly he was angry. Why didn't the police work on getting real crooks? Why were they wasting their time playing cops and robbers with him? He wasn't hurting anybody. Just having a little fun with his friends. What was the big deal?

"Oh, my God, I'm going to jail!" he wailed, again near panic. John was rocking back and forth now, leaning forward on his knees, head down and wringing his hands. He didn't know if the thought of imprisonment was twisting his mind forcing his emotions into a kaleidoscope or if it was a blown fuse caused by the drugs.

He needed a joint now so he could get back some control. A little pot would calm him down, relax him, make things OK. He didn't know it would be like this. He thought he was just a social user and could quit anytime he wanted. When had he become addicted? How had John gotten to this point?

John had tried beer once when we was about 13 but didn't like the taste. Drugs were easily available at Northview High School but hadn't interested John. Then one day, near the end of his senior year, he smoked a joint of marijuana out of curiosity. It made him feel pretty good.

Not long after that, John and a friend met a couple girls who wanted to try marijuana. To impress the ladies, they quickly purchased some pot and they all got high. It started so easily, an occasional social function. John quickly learned that using and sharing pot made him popular and having ready access to marijuana gave him prestige and power.

When John first started using marijuana he smoked it maybe once a week for about a month but gradually it increased to a daily event.

"It took away all the stress of life," John explained. "The stress of starting college, facing the traffic driving back and forth to school every day, dealing with personal relationships. A joint made it all OK."

The initial effect was always the same, a calming, soothing, mellow effect. That's where John wanted to be. But its longevity got shorter and shorter. After just six months into it, he'd have to smoke for a couple of hours continuously just to maintain that effect.

Tomorrow: John starts taking methamphetamine.

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