How can people do that to their kids?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

“People put that in their bodies? That’s crazy.”

That thought ran through my head Tuesday as I watched Drug Task Force agents carefully dot the large blue tarp with cans, bottles and containers. Occasionally, I would recognize a name brand, and it would blip that I use that to clean the carpet or to start the grill.

Trip after trip, more items would join the pile. Soon, the crowd watched as coolers and five-gallon buckets filled with who knows what made an outside perimeter. Emergency rescue workers and firemen watched with us and waited to see if their help was needed – you know, in case something blew up or caught fire.

Again, “People actually ingest that stuff? That’s crazy,” went through my head.

Addiction is something that I don’t understand in my head, but it’s a subject that I know too well in the heart.

I’ve made no secret that my family has struggled with depression and alcoholism, and I recognize that is why I have such control issues. I have to feel in control of my life. To do that, I make lists and plans, and plans to make lists. I could never give up control to drugs, so I guess that’s why it’s hard for me to understand how someone could think that putting lighter fluid in a vein is a good idea.

But there are those who do.

A quick search of my computer’s hard drive revealed nearly 50 arrests by the DTF last year – each, we know, with their own story of addiction.

I bet if one were to interview them, their lives would follow the same arc. It starts with alcohol and tobacco, it would seem. Then, maybe prescription pills and marijuana. Before long, it’s on to the hard stuff – meth, heroin, crack and the like.

I’ve been to drug scenes where toys are scattered across the yard. I’ve seen meth-coated plates next to the drainer holding baby bottles, and I’ve witnessed firsthand a family grow by three because a family member was arrested for making meth.

I don’t understand how those people can allow their addiction to do that to their children.

I recognize that addiction is a disease, and it can be treated – and it can be prevented.

But how we do that, successfully and long-term, is a question to which tens of thousands family members, counselors, scientists, doctors and users would dearly love to know the answer.

Myself included.