DURING MY MANY years at The Herald-Whig, rarely a day went by when I didn't hear about, write about or encounter something about our horrendous local methamphetamine problem.
It is the most addictive of drugs. It destroys lives, dominates our local criminal justice system, requires constant law enforcement attention, costs us a fortune to fight. Toward the end of my newspaper days I became a bit numb from the constant exposure to writing about the drug. This morning, it hit home.
The online story was about a Quincy gal pulled over last night near downtown. Police say she had a "controlled substance" in her vehicle, and she was arrested. Sheryl gasped out loud when she looked at the gal's photo, because she's been in the store a bit lately.
She brought her young son in and signed him up for guitar lessons a few weeks ago. She seemed nice enough, a little high strung. The boy's guitar is a cheap electric that won't stay in tune, so they looked at some new acoustics. She works as a waitress. "I'm trying to save up," she told me. "But I have enough to start him on lessons."
So we started. The little guy is a bit rough around the edges, but he is trying really hard and seems interested. He is bright, has a sense of humor and lots of questions. We are going over basics, technique, learning the chords. Maybe he'll stick with it.
Maybe not. His mom is in jail. What will happen to him? I don't know much about his father or home life. What will he think when he hears about his mom?
The mom is innocent until proven guilty, and it's way early in the game, so I make no presumptions. But if this is indeed meth, I doubt we see her again.
And the kid has the deck stacked against him.