I am not an elegant writer. I have never written a letter to the editor before, and I am fumbling through my limited vocabulary to make my best attempt to write down what is in my heart.
It seems that all of us, no matter what our economic or social standing is, have a loved one who is, or has been, affected by drugs. This problem is no respecter of one’s financial portfolio or professional success. My 30-year-old son is facing prison—not for a violent crime or for stealing, but for arranging, although admittedly misguidedly, “to do a friend a favor.” He bought a little marijuana, divided it up and sold it to some friends so that he could have his for free.
I am not advocating legalizing marijuana or attempting to minimize that he broke the law, but he was not “pushing drugs to kids,” he was not stealing to support a habit and he has no violent crimes on his record.
The people he sold to sought him out and asked him. These people could have been anyone: business owners, doctors, attorneys, the people next door—people who otherwise lead productive, tax-paying lives.
My son is addicted. Drinking made him sick, so he believed marijuana was the safer option, even though it’s illegal. He thought he needed something to numb the pain of a difficult childhood. His father was an alcoholic and left when my son was very young. I hit rock bottom after the divorce; my son was 12.
I now have been clean and sober for the past 15 years. He knew he needed help. He secretly reached out to find a drug rehabilitation center, but they are very expensive and he hadn’t found one before he was arrested at his home a month ago. He had been clean and sober for six years previous to a relapse in 2010. He is one of the most kindhearted people there is. He is very loving and loyal and would help anyone who needed him. He is a hard worker and has a job, which is willing to take him back when he’s ready. He is an important part of our family and was a valuable contributor to the community prior to relapsing. I have every reason to believe he will be again, once he gets the help he needs.
After weeks of researching various programs, I have found that available financial assistance is, at best, very limited, especially in Summit County. Yes, this is a family problem, but it is also a community problem, so I am turning to our community. His life hangs in the balance. Does he deserve to be in prison? Or does he deserve help?