COLUMN: Death of an Addict

Updated 4 years ago by David "Alligator" Williams
COLUMN:  Death of an Addict

A young man was found overdosed on heroin, with the needle still in his arm on Monday evening. It was a sad end to a young tortured soul that many knew and many tried to help.

TS was a familiar face to many in the downtown Huntington area. Although he was raised in Proctorville, he moved to Huntington after his mother died and he died homeless in a vacant house on 5th Avenue and 13th Street.

He could regularly be spotted at Hal Greer Speedway or 7/11 panhandling for money to buy heroin. He was a likeable, good looking young man in his early twenties.

What makes the story sadder is that people tried to help. Many would give him shelter or food for a few nights but even more tried to help him kick his addiction to heroin. He had received help from rehabs and hospitals in the region.

Chief Joe encountered the man twice and tried to help him. The Huntington Police Chief put him into L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Assistance Diversion). LEAD is a program that rather than arresting a drug user the law enforcement officer has the authority to direct the person to treatment.

I saw TS around my apartment several times and talked to him as my daughter went to school with him and knew him. I told him about several options he had and although he was nice about it, I detected that although he did seek out help often that he was not quite ready to quit.

TS was rarely alone. He would panhandle all day with some of his addict friends and then they would go shoot up together. his best friend had recently violated probation because he failed drug tests and was sent to prison. TS missed him and looked awkward not riding along with his buddy. His buddy had a good job and helped TS from time to time get drugs.

It's sad that a young life was snuffed out, when not only was there help available, but he accepted the help. It appears that he was more interested in the company of other people and shelter than actucally beating heroin; but then, again this is just my speculation and I am a man who has never done drugs and has no idea just how evil heroin's withdraws are. It is easy for me to speculate that he did not want help or was just too weak; but in reality, I have no idea what it is like to kick addiction.

It is just easier to feel like I did the best I could to help him or tell myself that this is what he really wanted. It just seems so frustrating that this young man that so many tried to help died alone on a dirty, hard kitchen floor. I will miss seeing him, ...R.I.P. TS.

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