He was making a run for it. A man who was set to go to trial in Massachusetts removed his court-ordered GPS-enabled monitoring device and headed to Rhode Island. It took a few months for law enforcement to catch up with him in a basement apartment in Providence, but when they did, they caught him with a kilo of fentanyl and 10 grams of heroin as well as miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.
Felony drug charges and gun charges in Massachusetts were quickly compounded by drug charges in Rhode Island, including possession of fentanyl and heroin, and possession with intent to deliver fentanyl and heroin. He was also charged with being a fugitive from justice in Massachusetts.
The fentanyl alone was estimated by state police to be worth between $30,000 and $35,000 on the street. At this time, the man does not have a lawyer to assist him in the trial set for July. He is being held without bail.
Many ask, why would this man make a bad situation worse? Why go on the run and rack up more charges rather than face the consequences and move forward?
These are questions commonly asked by family and concerned friends of people who are living with addiction and continually make choices that only seem to worsen their situation. Why not stop? Why not turn things around? For many, as much as it may have to do with drug use and addiction, it is also a question of lifestyle.
Many people who live somewhat “off the grid” and engage in drug use and criminal activities do not view their situation as in any way “less than” anyone who chooses to have a taxable income and stay drug-free. In fact, some feel that they actively chose a life that occurs under the radar of society, viewing themselves as rebels, anarchists, or free thinkers who have nothing in common with anyone who lives a “straight” life and follows the rules of society. It is difficult for them to believe that they could ever be satisfied or happy without the constant change and adrenaline rush that comes with living socially underground where there are no real social rules or boundaries. They cannot imagine going to the same job every day, dressing according to a job’s dress code, paying bills, or making small talk with neighbors who are all doing the same thing.
These may be very intelligent people—artistic and creative or incredible business minds who do not feel that they fit anywhere other than where they are. Drug use may feel like normality, another element that allows them to feel like they are in control of their life and their emotions.
It is this attachment to “the life” that can become the biggest obstacle to recovery, and it’s one that takes time to overcome.
The best way to get started making changes that can initially seem completely overwhelming is to take the first step. For some, this first step is to get into a drug addiction treatment program, but for others, it may be an even smaller step. It might be calling to learn information about drug addiction treatment services to get an idea of what to expect, going to talk to a doctor about the problem and what the options might be, or making a single social change that lessens the amount of violence or personal risk taken on a day-to-day basis. The road to recovery is long. It does not happen overnight, and no one is expected to become someone they are not. Many who once lived a life defined by extremely violent crimes and devastating drug use have gone through treatment, gotten sober, and stayed engaged with their community by telling their story and helping others to find a way out.
Anything is possible, and it can and should start with small steps that create incremental change and work toward building a long life in recovery. Are you ready to help your loved one see what the first step might be to move away from a life defined by the threat of violence, incarceration, and death?