“A quick decision can change your life forever.”

Elizabeth Bocock

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“A quick decision can change your life forever.” This is the message that Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin W. Hall and his son Ryan tried to convey to the 8th graders last Tuesday the 27th. They talked about an issue very near and dear to their hearts:  drug addiction. This father and son team knows a lot about drugs, and not just because Sheriff Hall was on the drug task force team for two years. They know so much about drugs because Ryan himself is a recovering Heroin addict. Ryan told his story to us to try and show some of the students what happens when you start messing with drugs.

When he was just in 8th grade, Ryan started using Marijuana, and his dad had no idea about it then. Shortly after, he broke his leg playing football and was in the hospital for five days and on painkillers for a month. Then he had his wisdom teeth pulled and was on painkillers once again, after that he broke his leg again because he jumped off of a waterfall. By then he was hooked on painkillers.

Shortly after he broke his leg for the second time he started community college. That was when his dad found a little bit of Marijuana in their house. Ryan’s dad said that he absolutely could not be using drugs, and if he couldn’t follow that rule then he would have to move out.

Ryan ended up moving to his Grandma’s house his Sophomore year of college, the same year he started using Heroin. At first Ryan would go to his drug dealer, who lived an hour away in Roanoke City, every other week when he got his paycheck. Then it became once a week then once a day. Eventually Ryan could no longer afford the drugs he was buying and would have to sell some of the Heroin he bought. He even had to resort to stealing items from stores to trade to his drug dealer so he could get his daily dose of Heroin. When he was at his worst Ryan was using ten bags a day, which in street language is a “bundle”.

Then one day Ryan’s dad came to his Grandmas house. That day two known drug addicts came to  the house and were asking where Ryan was. They claimed that Ryan had stolen their Xbox and had cashed it in for money. That was when Ryan’s dad started suspecting he was on drugs.

Thankfully, one day, Ryan decided to stop. He didn’t want to shame his family or himself anymore, and he didn’t want to put his grandma in danger any longer. The judge who tried his case sentenced him to 18 months in prison. Ryan still has to go IOP (Intensive Outpatient) several times a week.

The main reason Ryan and his dad came to our school to talk to the 8th graders is because “It’s easier to to tell kids to not do drugs than addicts.” They helped to bring awareness to a very serious issue that might not be effecting most middle schoolers now, but might in their not so far future. Ryan wants all of us to learn from his mistakes instead of making our own.

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“A quick decision can change your life forever.”