The Cost of Meth - War on Meth Part 5

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

For the past week, we've been sharing stories about people using, making and selling meth. And conversely, the people who fight every day to stop them.

If you think the war on meth doesn't affect you, think again. It's not hard to see the collateral damages associated with the meth business. Families fall apart, innocent children are burned and your taxpayer money is spent to jail and treat meth addicts.

One local woman is taking the battle head on; Suzy Thompson lost her son Keith in 2002 to a meth addiction. At the time, Keith was only 27 years old.

"He said mama listen to me, I love you. I love you more than anything in this world. You've always been there for me but down the road you're going to have to forgive me because I can't run from these demons any longer," Suzy reflects.

Less than a minute later Suzy heard the single gunshot at her son's house next door. The medical examiner told her that if Keith had not shot himself, he would have continued to commit a long, painful suicide caused by his meth addiction.

Suzy said, I don't think people are aware of what these drugs are doing to the brain, the medical examiner told Suzy that at the time of Keith's death, the frontal lobe of his brain had liquefied from all the crystal meth.

Authorities who have seen the wrath first hand say the addicts families are the real victims.

Assistant State Attorney Greg Wilson said after years of defending, prosecuting and investigating meth labs, the people who care about the addict are the ones who suffer far more than the addict.

And Capt. Faith Bell of the Bay County Sheriff Office agrees.

"When it comes down to it, [the family] is paying for it. Because the user doesn't have any money and they don't care if they get help or not, so the family member is paying. Rehab is very, very expensive," Capt. Bell said.

And not every ending is a happy one, "the past three of four meth lab explosion, there have been children in the house," she said.

In August 1-year old Johna Alexis Osborn suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 40-percent of her body in a meth lab explosion allegedly caused by her mother and father.

"If those children are crawling around where they're cooking crystal meth, the fumes and the residue is settling on the furniture, on the floors. They're crawling around. Believe what I’m telling you, it's going to affect their brain," Suzy said.

And the damage is not limited to children.

Bay Medical Center Pharmacist Laura Gould is supporting a family member who is rehabbing from an addiction.

Despite what appears to be a successful recovery, Gould says it's been a long, difficult process, "It's almost like you're in jail too... In a lot of ways," Gould said.

"As a mother, you say to yourself, is there anything in this world I could have done?" Suzy said. But she talks about her son's suicide, hoping it will help keep at least one person from walking the same path as Keith.

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