A cry for help amid the vicious cycle of addiction

(Editor’s Note: The Express’ policy is to not publish letters to the editor or columns without identifying the author. In the case of the letter below, however, we’re making an exception because of this mother’s cry for help … not only for her son, but for others facing similar, life-threatening struggles. Further, we respect this author’s honesty and are sensitive to concerns about the impact identifying her could have on her and her child. It is a message our readers must hear. But at the same time, we want to emphasize the challenges the county (and society) face amid this epidemic of addiction, and recognize the county’s ongoing drug treatment court as just one its responses to helping people change their lives. Time and again, court officials demonstrate that they know how parents feel helpless when their child falls into addiction.)

I’m writing to The Express in hopes others will see what I perceive as injustice in our county and maybe receive some answers or other opinions.

My son has made his fair share of mistakes at the young age of 19.

I feel guilty sometimes and wonder where I went wrong or what I could’ve done differently as a parent.

It’s no secret addiction destroys lives and tears families apart.

My son is an alcoholic and drug addict.

As I write this, my son is again sitting in the Clinton County Correctional Facility.

What I find upsetting and disturbing when I speak to him is the amount of 18 to 22 year olds who are also sitting down there with the same disease.

Most of these young men have been in trouble for some kind of drug or alcohol-related issue.

Most of these young men are there for a probation violation due to using drugs or alcohol during their probation.

I’m sad to see that our county believes that the punishment for these young men is to sit in an overcrowded jail, not even a cell because there’s no room.

They are in an open, dorm-like area.

I don’t believe this is in any way helping any of these young adults.

We have a serious drug problem in this county and it’s time people make changes.

Throwing these guys in jail for 30 to 60 days does nothing to help rehabilitate someone with an addiction.

The Clinton County Correctional Facility is not a rehabilitative facilty.

The prison does make money letting these young adults sit in there, and to anyone who says they are sitting in there on taxpayer’s dollars has never had the pleasure of dealing with someone in jail.

Trust me, that is not the case.

Not to mention the amount of state inmates that our county takes in to make money on housing them.

I don’t think state inmates should be housed with our county inmates.

So these young men are sitting there waiting for court on a crime they should have received appropriate treatment for from the beginning.

All our county is doing is giving them a place to sit and hang out with others until they have a court hearing, in which most of them will be released on time served.

Then the cycle starts over again.

They are not getting help they truly need, but the county has no problem taking their money every month for fines, fees, urine tests, and probation costs.

I feel the county has turned our justice system into a way to pay for its excessive budgets.

I also question why someone must go through multiple hearings for the same case?

Our local system is beyond efficient. Most of these young men don’t have jobs because they have been in and out of jail for their addictions.

When they are released, they can’t get a job and/or their addiction overcomes them and they are back into the same cycle again.

I know for a fact a lot of them start selling drugs to make money to pay their fines and/or feed their addiction.

These kids need picked up and sent immediately to a detox facility or for rehab.

Most of these kids know the people selling the drugs; instead of spending all your time, money, and resources on picking up 50 kids, how about finding the big fish bringing the stuff into the county.

Drug trafficking into our county is a huge problem.

I get frustrated every time I speak to my son and he mentions the other young men being housed with him and the reasons why they are there.

They need our help.

There needs to be another way to help these young men and woman.

Our county doesn’t have an issue throwing them in jail.

Maybe we can use these resources to help our young adults overcome the very reason they are incarcerated to begin with.

I personally don’t know what the answer is; I only know there has to be a better solution to the vicious cycle that’s happening in our county.