By: Lacy Hilliard
Many local residents struggle with substance abuse and/or mental health issues. In an effort to raise awareness for these issues, The Tomahawk has partnered with the A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition to put together a series leading into the month of September. The series will highlight local residents who have overcome substance abuse and/or mental health issues and have gone on to become productive members of society. Their battles are unique but the foe is not.
Michael Jordan, or perhaps better known to some as Red, was first introduced to drugs at age 9. By age 15, Jordan was an active drug and alcohol user. We saw a lot of things children shouldnt see, said Jordan in reference to the childhood he and his sister endured. Though Jordan experienced things that wouldnt typically be considered that of a normal childhood, Jordan places blame on no one but himself for his substance abuse issues, My mother tried as I got older. She once called the police on me but I did what I wanted. It was a choice. A choice I enjoyed. I knew I was doing wrong. From pills, marijuana and alcohol in middle school, Jordan quickly graduated to harder drugs and it wasnt long before his life spiraled out of control.
Many health care and law enforcement officials cite methamphetamine as the worst drug this generation has ever seen. It doesnt take long for users to become dependent on the drug, which at its lowest form is created by combining toxic chemicals like drain cleaner, battery acid and antifreeze. The effects meth leaves behind on the body and mind are devastating and can include erratic and violent behavior, psychosis, seizures, severe tooth decay, troubling hallucinations, malnutrition and liver and kidney damage to name a few. The drug can also cause permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and eventually death. The effects combined with the highly addictive nature of the drug make it extremely detrimental and difficult to overcome. Jordans experience with meth was no different.
Meth is true evil. It steals who you are, said Jordan of his former struggles with meth. Fortunately, Jordan is in the minority and was able to overcome a lifetime of addiction before it permanently impacted his health. Without placing any blame on past experiences, Jordan said, A man once told me, its not what happens to you, its how you react to what happens to you. For a recovering addict more of their life after drugs is a second by second, minute by minute, day by day struggle. Though Jordan has been free of methamphetamine for almost 10 years, he knows this struggle all too well.
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