To the Editor,
Hello again from St. Marys Correctional Center.
I feel that one of the reasons I write these letters is that it's somewhat therapeutic. Also, I feel I should at-least attempt to give something back to society, educating the public on the true consequences of substance abuse, which is something I've learned a lot about in the last three years.
Also, when I am eventually released from this madness, I could never take another drink for fear of being criticized as a hypocrite, and that's exactly what I would be. Writing these letters in hopes of deterring someone from using, and then not practicing what I preach? I would have a hard time facing myself in the mirror.
To help someone stay off drugs is by far the biggest reason, because substance abuse is truly an ugly, ugly disease, and this is a miserable life.
So, with that said, here are some numbers, not only staggering but quite scary.
West Virginia leads the nation in fatal drug overdoses, and a report released says that rate is now six times higher than it was a decade ago.
The report found 28.9 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2010 in West Virginia. That's 605 percent higher than 1999, when the fatal overdose rate was 4.1 per 100,000.
And in 29 states, including West Virginia and the District of Columbia, more people die from overdoses than vehicle accidents.
The report says, prescription drug overdose deaths now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined.
More than 70 percent of drugs being abused are coming from friends and family, not street dealers.
Jerry Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health says the epidemic requires nothing short of a full-scale response starting with "prevention and education" all the way through to expanding and modernizing treatment.
Addiction is progressive. In other words, minor damaging consequences will lead to more severe problems. Having moderately damaging consequences today is an indication that worse problems will occur with continued use of the drug.
Kids don't go straight to shooting up drugs with a syringe. They have to start off with that downward spiral, popping pills, crushing them and snorting them to get a faster high, then shooting up. And then they move to heroin.
Take prescription pills out of the equation, and the path is disrupted.
It's a road kids will not go down if the only thing available is heroin.
This, I believe, is very accurate due to the fact that in order to avoid becoming "dope-sick," they will try anything, even shooting up heroin.
Think before you act or react!
Chase your dreams, not drugs!
Warren Wade #31735
St. Marys Correctional Center