Families Deal With Consequences of Drug Addiction
Wilmington residents share their stories of how drug abuse by relatives impacted their family.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part Three is Patch’s five-part series on drug use in Wilmington. Part One featured input on the topic from town officials and police and Part Two included a look at a potential drug coalition forming in town. To find all of the week’s stories in one location, visit the topic page for the series.
Jen Mason has seen the damaging impact of drug addiction first hand, and she isn't the only one with a similar story.
Mason’s sister began using Oxycodone about 12 years ago following a car accident and has struggled with substance abuse ever since, now turning to heroin on a regular basis.
“It can happen to anybody,” said Mason, a Wilmington resident. “We come from a middle class family where my father told us every time we left the house to wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive and don’t do drugs. My sister wasn’t hang around with bad people. It just spiraled out of control and she got in way too deep.”
Mason said her sister’s addiction reached the point that she was receiving FedEx packages of prescription drugs at work, and she was forced to file for bankruptcy because she had used so much credit to purchase drugs.
After more than a decade of seeing the negative impact her sister’s addiction had on her family, Mason said she now has very little contact with her.
“People keep praying for our family all the time, and that’s all we can do because I just can’t help her anymore,” said Mason. “I don’t wish this on anybody. I am so worried for my own kids. It’s been a very hard 12 years, and it was extremely difficult to tell my parents that I no longer want a relationship with my own sister.”
Another Wilmington resident, who wished to remain anonymous, has seen similar struggles in her own family. The woman’s has a son in his early 20s who started using drugs as a young age.
After high school graduation, her son used a variety of prescription drugs in addition to drugs like cocaine and marijuana. He was eventually arrested on drug charges earlier this year.
“I have been able to sleep knowing that he isn’t on the streets using drugs, but my heart is broken thinking of him in jail,” said the anonymous woman. “When I read about all of the (recent) overdoses, one resulting in death, my heart sank. I feel so bad for the parents. I have empathy for their pain and suffering. My son is in jail, but he is alive.”
Both the anonymous resident and Mason agree that education is the critical aspect of preventing drug addiction, especially at the middle school age.
Mason said the potential drug coalition is a good first step, but she also said she believes more needs to be done in town.
Wilmington Police Chief Michael Begonis said these stories aren’t uncommon among drug addicts, and it exemplifies why the town is hoping to use the coalition and other means to lower the amount drug use in Wilmington.
“It’s heartbreaking for me to see. It’s sad,” said Begonis. “I’ve seen it ruin families, very good families that have done everything right. It destroys families, and that’s the real tragedy of this whole thing.”