I don’t normally like to post long excerpts of other people’s work, but what Dr. Tony posted is powerful stuff. He’s an ER doctor in a community hospital in Tennessee.
I’ve recently done a construction project for another rural county hospital. I learned then that meth is the number one problem they deal with–and it’s getting worse.
An interview of AR by ST.
AR is a 14 year-old girl who was brought to the ER by EMS after the Sheriff’s Drug Task Force raided a home with a meth lab. ST is a counselor with Child Protective Services.
ST: Do you know why you are here?
AR: My mother was arrested and the cops said I had to come here.
ST: Do you know why your mother was arrested?
AR: The cops say she was making meth.
ST: Was she?
AR: My mom said to keep my mouth shut.
ST: What we discuss today is going to be used to help you, not to hurt your mother. I need to know what chemicals you may have been around.
AR: I don’t know what kind of stuff I been around. Lots of stuff.
ST: Do you feel safe at home?
AR: I guess I do. But I been worried about my Sissy and Bubba.
ST: How old are they?
AR: Sissy is 10 and Bubba is 3.
ST: What are you worried about?
AR: Well, them chemicals you talked about. And the people that come over.
ST: What about the people?
AR: They always have guns. My momma has a rule that you have to leave you guns and knives at the door. There’s always a big pile on the floor at the front.
ST: Do you touch them?
AR: No. But Bubba got ‘hold of one once. A gun, I mean. I don’t know what kind. But Sissy and me had come out to clean and found him in the front hall waving a gun around. He wouldna shot it, I mean he don’t know how. But we were afraid of an accident. Sissy and me was real scared until we got it from him.
ST: Why didn’t you get your mother?
AR: She was asleep and we couldn’t wake her up.
ST: How often did your mother have people over?
AR: Oh, there was people over all the time. But sometimes she would have these parties and lots of people would come over. The would use drugs and drink and have sex. Everybody would end up naked on the floor of the living room.
ST: And you and your brother and sister were part of this?
AR: No, ma’am. I mean, we would watch TV in momma’s room. When everything would get quiet, me and Sissy would come out and pick up all the needles so as Bubba wouldn’t get into them. That was scary.
AR: Yeah. You know you can get sick from them needles. That’s why we can’t let Bubba get ahold of ‘em.
This story is a typical meth story. The guns, the sex, the needles, the abuse–they are nearly always present in meth cases. Tony argues that these byproducts of meth aren’t a function of the drug’s illegality, but a function of the mind-altering nature of the drug.
So let’s talk about drug legalization . . .