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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hitting the high road

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

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

Part 2

John Doe, a Clay county man, hung up the phone in a panic. His probation officer had just notified John that he had to submit to a random urine test for drug usage. Knowing that he would test positive, John also knew his probation would be revoked and he would be sent to jail.

How had this happened? How had he gotten to this point? John started using marijuana out of curiosity his senior year in high school. But to maintain the soothing, mellow effect he desired, John's habit escalated into daily use. Then even that wasn't enough. Eventually he added methamphetamine because that was the drug of choice for most of his friends.

Marijuana was John's drug of choice. "I never liked the long, drawn out, staying up thing," John said. "I wouldn't use meth unless I had some pot with me to bring me back down."

John never smoked pot before or during work. He smoked it on the way home from work to unwind and relax. Meth was different.

"It was like a hot cup of coffee to start the day." John said. "Meth comes in a sack," he explained. "A rock-like form that breaks up into powder. Kind of like sugar that takes moisture."

The original, most common way to use meth was snorting it. Now the majority of users smoke it. Hard-core users are showing a dramatic increase in needles for intravenous access.

Life was cool for John. School was all right. He enjoyed his job and had lots of friends. Drugs were not a problem. They simply made life more enjoyable.

However, balancing everyday life with a drug induced life is difficult to maintain. The weight of something like bad luck can upset that balance and start a spiraling free fall.

On a November night several years ago, the tall, lanky, 20 something John was out with some of his buddies goofing off in a remote wooded area in Clay County. They'd been smoking marijuana and were just playing around.

A game warden from another county had been driving around the back roads and got lost. He saw the boys and approached them to see what they were doing. As he got close, he smelled the marijuana. Busted!

For whatever reason, their case got hung up in court. After several delays, it still was pending in May of 2001, when John went to Indianapolis. He was driving a friend's vehicle to Terre Haute to pick up a part for his own car.

A passerby thought he saw John drinking beer while he was driving and phoned in his license number to the State Police. John wasn't drinking beer or anything else. He didn't even have a cup, bottle or drinking container in his car.

Since he had the marijuana trial still pending in Clay County and he had been using meth, John was driving very carefully and made sure to stay under the speed limit. So he was totally surprised and off guard when a State Police car pulled him over.

He quickly tried to get all the drugs and paraphernalia out of sight. The police said they stopped him because he had a cracked windshield. They spotted a baggy with meth in it that John had overlooked in his haste. Busted!

John admitted his guilt in the other County as part of a plea agreement. He still had the pending case in Clay county which was a misdemeanor charge. If he admitted guilt in both counties, the second county would reduce their D felony for meth possession to a misdemeanor after he completed probationary terms for the marijuana possession charge in Clay County.

John received a fine, a one year jail term which was suspended, 90 days at the Fellowship House, a half-way house in Terre Haute, mandatory counseling and a year and a half probation in which he agreed to remain drug free.

Tomorrow: During probation, John has to determine the importance of drugs in his life.

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