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by Abigail Van Buren

'Just Say No' Crumbles Before Lethal Street Drugs

DEAR ABBY: My heart aches for "Someone in Georgia," who buried her firstborn child who died from a drug overdose. I too lost my beloved son from an accidental overdose of "recreational" drugs.

My son was well-educated, talented and handsome. He was not a master of deceit, but he was a substance abuser who eventually became addicted. I was aware my son had a problem and would have done anything to help him. The realization that I had no control over the situation or my son, that he had to want to help himself, was devastating. The powerful grip these drugs have over mind and soul is incomprehensible. These young people do not want to die.

The "Just Say No" campaign was well-meant, but the truth is "It Takes a Village." Our families, friends, neighbors, police, teachers and clergy need to be aware and get involved. The drugs on the street today are stronger and more lethal than ever before. Our kids are addicted before they know what hit them.

As a mother who bonded with, nurtured and loved her firstborn son, I empathize with anyone who has lost a child. The void is painful and everlasting. -- A SADDENED MOM WHO'S GOING TO STAY INVOLVED

DEAR SADDENED MOM: Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your beloved son. My heart goes out to you. Kids who are in trouble with drugs are in over their heads. Anyone who can offer help should not hesitate to do so.

Many years ago, I printed the following, which had been published in the Congressional Record. I wish it were not as timely today, but sadly, it may be even more so:

"'King Heroin is my shepherd; I shall always want ...'

"These tragic words, part of a twisted rewording of the beloved 23rd Psalm, were discovered recently in Reidsville, N.C., in a closed car alongside a dead heroin addict. She was 23 years old.

"Her death was ruled a suicide. A hookup with the car's exhaust had sent carbon monoxide fumes from a running motor into the vehicle. Here's the complete 'Psalm.'

"'King Heroin is my shepherd; I shall always want. He maketh me to lie down in the gutter.

"'He leadeth me beside the troubled waters.

"'He destroyeth my soul.

"'He leadeth me in the paths of wickedness.

"'Yea, I shall walk through the valley of poverty and will fear no evil, for thou, Heroin, are with me.

"'Thy needle and capsule comfort me. Thou strippest the table of groceries in the presence of my family. Thou robbest my head of reason.

"'My cup of sorrow runneth over. Surely heroin addiction shall stalk me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Damned forever.'

"Also found in the car with the dead woman was this written message:

"'Jail didn't cure me. Nor did hospitalization help me for long. The doctor told my family it would have been better, and indeed kinder, if the person who got me hooked on dope had taken a gun and blown my brains out. And I wish to God he had. My God, how I wish it!'"

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