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July 5, 2013

LIFE AFTER PRISON: Woman said trip to jail during addiction helped turn her life around

CLARK COUNTY — OVERLINE: LIFE AFTER PRISON



Editor’s note: By request, the News and Tribune has agreed to withhold publishing the full name of the subject of this story.

 While curled in a corner of her solitary jail cell three years ago, 26-year-old Meghan found herself face to face with certain truths. Drugs had taken over her life. The retching and shaking she was experiencing from withdraw gave testimony to their powerful hold.

So did the fact that she was behind bars in the first place.

Along with her boyfriend, the Clark County native had held up and robbed three pharmacies in Central Indiana to sustain her hefty hydrocodone addiction. But at that moment in her cell, all she was trying to do was survive the cold-turkey detox from her $1,000-a-day drug habit.

Clarity of mind can be a curse and a blessing. After a while, the sickness stopped and the gravity of her situation began to seep in. Meghan had confessed all her crimes to the arresting officer. There was no going back, not that she wanted to return to that path anyway. For more than 30 months, she served time mostly at the state’s all female prison in Rockville where a program helped turn her life around.

THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL

Looking at Meghan’s high school yearbook photo, you wouldn’t peg her as a future convicted felon. She marched in the band and made good grades. In college, she pursued a nursing career.

Before long, the girl that had always done everything right fell into the wrong crowd. Getting married at 19 to a recreational drug user didn’t help matters either. Her husband introduced her to hydrocodone. What at first was seen as some weekend fun gradually grew into a daily necessity.

“Over a couple of years, I went from being this straight-A student on a path to success to being a drug addict, a drug dealer,” Meghan said. “I started shooting up and things just escalated. My disease took over to where I couldn’t focus on anything other than the drugs.”

Consequences of her growing addition quickened. After dropping out of college, her marriage began to fall apart. Further and further down the rabbit hole she fell until little of her old life remained.

Too proud to return to her parents’ house, she lived in her car for a month while she figured out what to do. With no job, no possessions and no money, but still in need of a fix, she decided to move in with her drug dealer and began to sell drugs on her own.

“I’ve always said I never sold myself for drugs, but in a way I did,” Meghan said. “I guess that’s when things started to really spiral out of control.”

Trouble has a way of finding people who are already in difficult circumstances. Police busted Meghan’s apartment with a search warrant, causing her to flush $20,000 worth of product she had on loan from a bigger supplier down the drain. Drug dealers really have issues about not getting paid. So much so, this one threatened the couple with injury if the money wasn’t returned. A few days later, they went on the run from both the law and their supplier.

“That’s where we came into a big problem because both of us had such a habit and a dependency on this drug that we no longer had access. Our supplier wasn’t going to supply it to us. So we had to start trying to find new people and new ways,” Meghan said. “That’s when we turned to crime.”

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