When drugs meet alcohol, the results are crippling. It's called poly-addiction. The effects cannot even be calculated, they are so far-reaching. It's only when disaster hits that the situation is finally flushed out and exposed. By then, it's so late that there is often collateral damage. We, as a people, need to huddle up and figure out a way to reach out to those who know they in trouble but have no idea how to stop.

Fear of withdrawal is the primary reason for not stopping once a user knows he or she is in the grips of addiction. By that time, it has taken over like an unwanted guest that can't be evicted. The addiction is calling the shots and the user is at its evil mercy. Little compassion and rare understanding usually meet the person in trouble.

If we as a people do not figure out how to reach out a branch of hope, I believe the cummulative losses will equal that of any war to date. The ripple effect is startling as these dual addictions impact family, friends and employers.

In the many AA meetings I have attended, I've heard story after story of the horrible after-effects of mixing alcohol with meds-both prescribed and illicit. They were heartbreaking and unbelievable. Law enforcement clearly does not have the resources to meet the needs of those in the grip of this double-duty addiction that grabs soccer moms and juveniles, businessmen and bums.

I don't have an answer. I so wish I did. For the sake of the kids whose lives are affected, educations undermined, and lives thrown so far off course that it often takes the miracle of forgiveness to allow the participants in this macabre experience back into the fold of humanity. Churches help, but again, they don't have the resources to address the situation head-on. The best they can do is offer help with utilities and food-which quite a few do.

Here in Nacogdoches, where I now live, there are people and places to go for help in maintaining a steady life while one tries to regain balance from multiple addictions. Going into rehab is simply not an option for many of America's poor, single parents or heads of households. It is often the stress of those situations that led to the multiple use of substances to ease the pressure of the terminal workload required to maintain a standard of living today.

Recessions aren't necessarily bad, they are just very taxing. It does make us bunk up, join forces and learn humility. It also gives us a small taste of what it was like during the Great Depression where so many simply did without. It's amazing how little one can live on when the situation calls for it.

Again, I don't have an answer. I want to pose the questions to those with far more years, education or experience than I have. I'll suit up, show up and help if I only knew what to do.

For now, I will hope that this plea reaches many-those among us who do not know what to do. I don't. I see the aftermath, not the solution. As a teacher, I can hope and pray all I can but maybe with fresh ideas, we can move thousands beyond this tragedy of life. Life was meant to be fun-going to movies, watching gardens grow, celebrating holidays, not chemically imbalanced and out of control.

Help me, help them and my course will be set. Let me know your thoughts, conclusions, ideas and I can try my best to put them into action. I am one person but I can commit all my free time to working toward building a bridge to bring these victims of multiple addictions home.

Waiting to hear from you, I am so ready, SherryD

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