I have spent much time in the last three years learning about drug abuse. In order to acquire a decent understanding of the epidemic that chokes our communities, I have promised myself to keep an open mind while continuing to find information, both first-hand and published, that will make me better equipped to help in some small ways. It is not always easy to grapple with an enemy with so many tentacles that reach deeply into businesses, professions, and homes. I feel I have taken my fair share of criticism for being fervent about my ideas and openly active in my efforts.
Indeed, I have expressed some staunch opinions and spoke out with undue emotion during meetings and gatherings where I should have been silent. I understand this fault; when it happens, I am regretful of these actions.
I so admire the silent type that speaks eloquently with a few well-chosen words. I wish I had the temperament and the patience to be more calm and to hold my tongue. I really do try to work on my annoying behavior, but I am certainly a slow learner when it comes to changing habits.
Meeting and discussing drug abuse with so many people over the years, I feel the urge to communicate information and ask questions that trouble my understanding. To be quite honest, I still need to listen much more and speak a lot less. I need to tone my emotions. Though I do believe we all have talents that we should tap, unfortunately, most of mine are head-on and pointed. I only hope that God allows me to use my skills in the correct manner. I so believe that education is the hope for saving lives from drug abuse. More than anything else, we need the strong bedrock of an informed mind to make large strides.
I am also prone to see continued action as the proof of convictions. Many believe in the cause and are content to work within their own families to help end abuse. Nothing is wrong with that effort. We desperately need people to do that. And, with most problems, the family-centered approach would work wonders. But, I feel, those who really want to induce large-scale changes must reach beyond their own families and be missionaries to all -- family, friends, and strangers. I have grown to love and respect the warriors who consistently put their feet in the muck and keep slogging along.
I feel disheartened when people claim nothing has changed for the better. I understand how they feel that way as they evaluate any progress against abuse. It seems a new drug always takes the place of another that becomes better controlled, or another tragedy occurs despite the work people do to stop them. Many times I, myself, feel that the dragon is just too big to be slain, but then I think of one life that has been saved or one family that has been bettered through the united efforts, and I have faith that these miracles will continue to occur. I know right will prevail if enough effort is expended.
I also feel selfish at times. So many good people support so many good causes that save lives. I become so focused on drug abuse that I tend to forget the problem is just one of many. I have to remind myself that I have chosen to work on a particular danger, certainly not the only danger. If others did not put their boundless energy into fighting other diseases and curing other problems, we all would suffer greatly. I do not mean to be prejudiced against other worthy causes.
As people are paying for their criminal behaviors with prison time, fines, and lost licenses, I know I face a great deal of hatred. I have been threatened, as many others I work with have. I am sure there are many who want to hurt me by any means possible. More than a few would like to see me dead.
I have been faced with lawsuits by crooked lawyers who work for criminal enterprises. I and my family have endured numerous printed and uttered statements that defame our character. To say that threats are reason enough to sit this fight out may be wise advice. I understand the reluctance of people to put themselves in harm's way.
Believe me, I have healthy fears. I am not significantly brave by any means. But, I have to live with myself, and I wholeheartedly believe that unless more people unite to fight this evil soon, the future will not be worth living as Scioto County becomes a haven for abuse.
So, as you can probably tell by now, I feel guilty. I have spoken out, and perhaps, at times, I have spoken out too loudly. I sincerely apologize to those I have offended who fight in a different, more controlled manner. To those greedy individuals who continue to spread the disease of drug abuse in my county, I offer no apology. I will continue to become better educated and make every attempt to hone my skills. I so wish you would add your unique talents to stopping abuse. The life you save may prove to be your own loved one.
"It is well that there is no one without a fault;
for he would not have a friend in the world."