Part 3- BCHS Drug use prevention Assembly

This is the conclusion to a few news pieces about drug use prevention. Bath County Sherriff Robert Plecker invited two recovering addicts to speak to high school students, and share their experiences, strength and hope. Hearing about the impact of first use, and then addiction, on the lives of these men wasn’t easy.

Ryan, who was incarcerated for eighteen months because of multiple felonies spoke first, and David added more.

“The drug thing is not a joke. It’s doesn’t discriminate on who you are, cop’s son, preacher’s son, daughter. And it all starts with the thing that you guys say it doesn’t start with, and that’s marijuana. If you’re smoking marijuana, and you like getting high, you’re gonna want to get higher. And it’s going to graduate to some other drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine, and you’re never gonna know if you’re an addict, until you try the drug, and then there’s no going back from it.”

Ryan talked about dope sickness, and how addiction escalates.

“I remember getting high, and before I’m getting high, I’m thinking about how I’m going to get high again tomorrow so I don’t get sick. The more you have the more you do, and there’s never enough.”

He described how even after several years of the physical abuse to his own body, and the wreckage of relationships and finances, it still wasn’t as easy to get and stay clean, as one might think.

“What I used to do is, I would go to rehab to make my family happy, put on a show for a couple of months, act like I was doing good until I got caught again, put on a show for a couple of months, get caught again, go back to rehab. And it’s just a continuous cycle.”

One audience member asked about “tough love”, the idea that friends and families of addicts need to change their own habits. They often contribute to ongoing drug and alcohol use by doing too much caregiving, or enabling. David talked about having a heart-to-heart with the addict at a time when he or she can truly listen.

“We’re going to talk about the person you used to be. See if they want a beer then. Because once they start thinking about what it has done to them, that’s the kind of things, when they start looking back, and say, who have I become? I can’t even stand to look at this person in the mirror.”

Both men described every addict having their own rock-bottom, but for David, after nearly loosing a friend to drugs, he knew he had to:

“Get my life back. Until you’re ready to change your life 360 degrees, every aspect of your life, that’s when, you can finally do something about it that’s going to matter.” It means making a whole new set of friends, staying away from some family members, and changing places you may go to eat, drink, or shop.

The visitors to Bath county high school were so well-received, it was clear students would have liked to talk to them even longer, and hope they will come back again. They offered a lot to help these young people learning to make healthy choices. Again, David spoke from the heart.

“You’re sitting here with a golden opportunity, a golden opportunity. I’d give anything in this world right now to be sittin’ back where you all are right now.”

In the Covington and Clifton Forge area there are regular meetings of NA, AA, and Al-Anon.




Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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