Tommy Jones Foundation
Dedicated to the Reduction of Youth Substance
PO Box 958, Granite Quarry, N.C. USA 28072
Phone- 704-633-3543. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
web site www.tommyjones.org
Date: November 18, 1999
Subject: Rowan County Personnel Association
If there is one thing I hope to accomplish
at this meeting it would be to at least change one person's view point
on treatment and substance abuse. The reason I say that is because
most "normal" people don't comprehend substance abuse. Most are skeptical
of treatment thinking that it rarely works, is expensive and would be unnecessary
if only the abuser would just stop doing drugging and/or drinking. That's
how I used to think especially my first treatment
center experience. I didn't understand Tommy's problem. I though
it was just a matter of willpower. You know kid.."Just say no!"
Gosh.. was I so terribly wrong! I've learned in the worst possible way
how foolish I was and now he's gone. I've had a terrible guilt complex
too because of all the things I have since learned. Of course there was
far more to it than just that. Much went wrong that set the stage for this
terrible tragedy to occur and most of what went wrong was out of our control.
But first I need to tell a little about my son.
Consequently, the most important point that
I can leave with you is that treatment is the best option though not all
treatment centers are as effective as they could be. I encourage all of
See his site.
Tommy was a great kid. It would have been impossible to imagine that at
his induction into the National honor society that two years later he would
have died from heroin. Just unbelievable how this can happen. However that's
what helps them hide drug use. Parents like me are lulled into thinking
"Heck, he's too smart plus he's working part-time, plays in the band..surely
this occasional screw-up is just that." So just becasue they are
smart doesn't mean you shouldn't be alert. Infact,the more talented
and intelligent they are the more likely that they will use hard drugs.
Tell what I know about Dec 1996 and the introduction
of snortable high potency heroin to southern rowan county and Goldie
Billings and his horrible activities that hurt so many young people. There
were at least five young men I know who got hooked because of his efforts.
One died(Tommy) and the other four are in/out of remission. In fact, one
was a pall bearer and he still went back to using heroin(last report though
is that he's been in remission) Such is the power of this drug!
works better than incarceration but not getting started abusing substances
obviously is best. This article by Dr
Allan Lesher bests describes how effective it is. However his paragraph
describes the general public's flawed perception of addiction.
addicts cannot resist abusing drugs, even in the face of
severe negative health and social consequences. This compulsion comes
about because prolonged drug use causes structural and functional
changes in the brain. With modern brain-imaging techniques, scientists
actually can see these dramatic alterations in brain function. ""
Unfortunately, the cost of treatment
is increasing and insurance companies are reducing the amounts they will
spend. In addition, detoxing which is something I didn't really
know about, is required for most hard drugs. That's very expensive and
with Granite Knitwear's plan that cost alone wiped out most of the funds
available. Before that though I learned the hard way what it means to have
the treatment center certified. If it's not, then the insurance
company won't pay. You don't want to learn that at the time you're trying
to get your kid into treatment. So what's happening now is that most users
can't find treatment so they keep using until they do, end up in jail or
die. This is the biggest obstacle for current users. If we could
get effective treatment to all those that need it we wouldn't have a drug
problem. Drug dealers would go out of business because of a lack of demand.
You know the standard business rule that 20% of your customers provide
80% of your business? That works the same way for alcohol and illicit drug
dealers. You ever wonder why alcohol businesses spend money on feel good
advertising like "know when to say when" yet don't help fund treatment
centers? I suspect because they don't want to lose customers!!
Treatment works but many times it takes repeat
visits. There was one father whose son had been in various treatment
centers 7 times in 10 years with one visit being a year in duration!! Can
you imagine the cost and the hardship he had to endure!! Thankfully his
son has been in remission for quite some time now. Then there is
Judge Larry Ford. His son spent a year in a treatment facility in Atlanta.
His wife even moved there so she could be near him. It worked and his son
is doing great. The point is however that most people cannot afford that
amount of treatment. However there is low cost or no cost treatment
centers. Call the Recovery Network at 800-400-RNET. Also, there are still
affordable places like Hope Valley in Dobson and the Mcloid center in Charlotte
which has a 28 day program. The faith based 60 program at Bethel colony
in Lenoir does wonders too and it is virtually FREE. Also, some treatment
centers are a scam unfortunately. My Amethyst
is a good example of that.
Treatment may be our only option. Education
efforts are failing at least for our kids who are abusing substances at
record levels. Eradication of the supply is not possible especially as
our brilliant government and business interests push globalization. Since
NAFTA, 80% of drugs now come across the border from Mexico. The price
of narcotics has been cut in half or less and the purity is 2 to 3
times what it was back then. Next year will probably bring the CBI
and SubSaharan Africa bill which will bring in 70 more countries in which
drug dealers can utilize to piggy back with. All it takes is 100 pounds
of heroin and the drug dealer can make gobs of money. The current dealer
price is $317 per gram times 28.35 grams per ounce times 16 oz per pound
times 100 pounds equals $14,379,120! That's just the dealer price-on
the street it's worth 2 or 3 times that much! In a 20,000 pound container
load of t-shirts( which is about 5000 doz at $18 a dozen) it would be easy
to conceal a hundred pounds of H. You could dump the shirts and still make
alot of money. In fact, that may be why the apparel business is so bad!!
Anyway, the point is that there will be more drugs than ever so only education
and treatment will be our options for prevention.
One other consideration for treatment is the
concern many have over the use of Ritalin
and other mood-altering drugs. Ritalin is a heavily abused substance
and in fact the kid who kept pushing drugs on Tommy was prescribed Ritalin.
They would crush the pills up and snort them. That's one aspect of it's
ramifications. In addition and what could be a horrendous problem we will
face is that there are over 3 million kids on this stuff. If they think
they have to do drugs(Ritalin) to concentrate in order to work then what
will they think they need to take in order to have fun, get over
a bad day or any of the other myriad aspects of life? Of course, they will
think they need to do another drug!! I don't understand why more people
don't understand that. The implications for their children that they allow
this to happen could be catastrophic!!
urge management to maintain high treatment
funding levels. For one, when they recover they are the most loyal workers.
But the most important reason that it might save someone's life.
Have an Employee Assistance Program.
For a $1 an employee per month, you can have a good program thru the Next
step in Salisbury NC. While only 4 or 5 employees have availed themselves
of this service at GK it is an inexpensive method to afford limited substance
Talk about it SA. Keep a section in your newsletter
reminding your employees about your available services on substance abuse.
Is any of your employees doing anything in the community to combat SA?
Write about it! When community activities are planned to combat SA put
a reminder in about the date. Include my SA Journal in one of your
Keep information about substance abuse
available in your break room. Your local Elks Lodge has a good program
that's FREE. You can also get FREE information like Growing up Drug
Free-A parents guide to prevention- US Dept of Education.- 1-877-4EDPUBS.
Excellent publication and itís free. They also have Turtle Talk and
4 other Posters available that can be distributed. There'splenty of video's
like this one on Inhalant Abuse-donation of $10 or more requested
800-269-4237. This group also is a worthy one to join. Itís called Synergies-National
Inhalant Prevention Group. Iíve learned a tremendous about substance abuse
thru this organization. Website is www.inhalants.org
Listen Magazine- great for your
teen- subscribe to PO Box 859, Hagerstown MD 21741. Annual cost-$24.97
For my views on what we need to do to reduce substance abuse go to
Also, there is much wrong with using drug testing to enforce a drug
free work environment.
They are easily beatable as these two links show
This letter and all of the links are accessible at this address-->
Thank you so much for this opportunity to speak to you. We can minimize
substance abuse but it's going to take a concerted and permanent effort
by the community, business, government, social groups and churches to do
it. If we don't then there will be others like Tommy who will fall thru
the cracks and be another statistic in our failed War on Drugs. It doesn't
have to be but quite frankly I don't believe the people of this community
will take the time to understand the problem. Most people don't have a
clue and don't want to know let alone have the courage and tenacity to
minimize substance abuse. Still I made a vow to try and maybe here today
I will have made a difference with at least one of you. That's all I ask.