Falling Prey to Prescription Pills, and the Consequences
When I first started writing about substance abuse, I used to tell readers that sometimes you don’t know who’s an addict. It could be your son’s teacher, your personal trainer, the student next to you in college, your colleague at work. My point, of course, was that substance abuse is widespread and affects all classes. Since writing those words, I’ve read a bazillion stories that identify a million other people, too. Just a few months ago I posted about an addiction counselor who abused alcohol and killed someone when she got behind the wheel.
Two recent news stories show yet other people who became addicted and saw their lives spiral out of control. One young woman is from the town adjacent to the one where I grew up and had the world at her fingertips at one point. Now she’ll be serving two years in jail. Her sentence was four years, but the judge gave her credit for time served. Barely out of NYU, Jennifer S. started a technology company with a few other people and sold it for a ton of money during the dot-com boom. She and her boyfriend lived high on the hog, summering in a snazzy rental in the Hamptons and buying a loft in NYC.
But she became addicted to painkillers, found herself in a drug ring, and sold guns as well. One of her cohorts was a NY policeman who stole guns from his colleagues’ lockers. Jennifer could have gotten 15 years, but even four sounds hard to take. She sold the pills on craigslist and to an undercover officer at a New York Starbucks. A bankruptcy trustee will sell the loft, as ordered by the court, and I imagine the money will go to the authorities to be distributed accordingly. Jennifer is 38 now. When she gets out of jail, I’d love to hear that she’s getting her life back on track and forgetting the high life, pardon the pun. Here’s an earlier story about the early promise she showed and how her life unraveled. What a lesson about not letting money go to your head. (In fact, she has a few lessons to share.)
Jennifer’s story caught my attention because she’s some who lived near my hometown. But another story that really got my attention is titled “A Dazzling Priest’s Lurid Fall, to Drug Suspect.” I don’t know why, after writing about how drug abuse can hit anyone, that I should be surprised when members of certain professions fall prey. In effect, this CT Monsignor was living a double life. In January he was charged with possessing and conspiring to sell drugs, and he could go to prison for life. In 2011 people noticed he was thin and fidgety, seemed distracted and missed appointments.
An informant said he bought drugs from the priest, and an undercover officer bought them as well. The clergyman was thought to have made over $300,000 from his drug business and had been planning to open an adult toy store, purportedly to launder money. Very sad.