Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Poor old Jeff"

Mom always said that. But don't cry for him, things are looking up.

First off my brother is a drug and alcohol addict. He has been this way since high school and he is now 55 years old. Wait I forgot, mom says he doesn’t drink and only takes legal drugs. He lives with his 80 year old mother, on her social security check. He hasn’t had a real job in over 15 years. About a year ago, we thought he had hit rock bottom. He had run out of friends and money and because of this had to cut down on his booze and drugs. I mean he was able to bum a small amount of money from mom but she wouldn’t give him enough to support his habit. After all she did already buy his cigarettes.

Because he was out of money, he was starting to dry out. For the first time in as long as I can remember, he wasn’t drunk or high when I saw him. He kept talking though about all this money that he was going to get and I believe that was what was keeping him going. Since he was a child, he complained about aches and pains and had every excuse not to work or even do chores. Through his life, he was "fortunate" enough to get rear ended and also break one of his hands and well the pain was just unbearable.

Through the miracle of "working on consignment", he managed to find a lawyer who took his case and finally was able to get him Medicaid. For those that don’t know about Medicaid, it is very hard to qualify for. My mother tried but couldn’t get it but my brother could. And since he has all this pain, his doctor (quack quack) prescribed pain pills. About 6 months had passed since I saw him last. His speech is now slurred and he has to lean on things when he stands. But fortunately, he can still drive mom around. He was able to buy a car because his money was retroactive and he got a big cash settlement. Good thing too because he had to pay that lawyer. Now he can drive to get his free medications.

Now the stuff they give him is pretty strong but to tell the truth it isn’t strong enough for him. He has developed a tolerance for drugs and likes to brag about how much he can take without it affecting him. The time he broke his hand, the doctor gave him enough pain pills for two weeks. He had 30 of them and the prescription said ”take one every 8 hours”. He told me about it and said that he ran out after two days. “Greg these aren’t S#&*” he said. “I could take the entire bottle at one time if I wanted” I wanted to say, why not try two bottles with a whole bottle of Jack Daniels but I didn’t.

He has lots of friends again now too. They call at all hours of the day and night and then drop by and he goes for short drives with them around the block. Mom says that he just needs a little privacy and insists that nothing illegal is going on. When we tell her that he is taking drugs, she defends him and says he is in a lot of pain. Funny the exrays don’t show anything. When we had evidence that he was selling drugs, she said that the girl that bought them was in a lot of pain too and couldn’t afford to go to a doctor so what he was doing was a good thing. He has a heart of gold she says.

Now here is the good part. The local police won’t do anything about it. He is just a small time drug dealer and they want the big fish. It has been two days since I contacted the Medicaid office via email and I have heard nothing. I have to have concrete proof. So my brother will be spending our tax payer money to buy and then sell drugs and there is nothing we can do about it. And we wonder why the system is so screwed up. Oh and don’t worry about him starving to death. He gets food stamps. So once a month he treats his friends to lobster and steak and the rest of the month he lives off of my mother’s social security. She won’t throw him out either. We are just picking on him.

I hope this post makes someone angry. I hope that it makes someone that knows someone in power mad and that something gets done about it. I would rather see him in prison than living like he does but I am powerless to do anything.

Ok here is the positive side. My kids know what is going on and swear that they will never ever touch drugs. They don't even what him to touch them.


Wanda said...

How sad, Greg, but an all to often story in many of our families. Thank you for your honest insight and thank goodness your kids, as mine have seen the effects of drugs and don't want any part of it!!
You post is on the cutting edge and I love it!

just me said...

What a marvelous timely and appropriate post. This is one everyone should read. Thanks for sharing.

Janice Thomson said...

How very awful Greg and as Wanda says a too often common story. I have friends who have a son like this and the mother is the same way too - always making excuses. After some 25 years of this she finally realized and admitted she was part of the problem. Her son is now totally clean and has been for over a year. I wonder if your mother has not been threatened in some way and hence her steadfast loyalty. A person who abuses drugs usually abuses everything in his life and he may be threatening your mother behind the scenes.
It is good to know you can also see a good side to this too - there always is no matter how small.
An excellent post Greg on a steadily growing problem within the
human race.

Bardouble29 said...

Wow, my friend...that is a tough situation.

I do hope all else is going well.

Patty said...

I also have a younger brother, pretty much in the same boat. But my Father who always stuck up for him no matter what, is gone, so now it's Mom, She's not as easy as my Father was. She does worry, my brother has had all sorts of health problems, mostly all brought on by his drinking and using drugs, so he hasn't worked for the past year, and he isn't able to get any disability. Mom worries, I keep telling her, not to, if he can keep his phone, cable and road runner, he's getting money someplace, I only hope it's legal. He spent 7 yrs. in prison on a gun related charge. His wife is now going through radiation and chemo, has a tumor along side of her one lung and a spot of cancer on her one rib. But still she can't seem to give up those cigs. Mom worries about how they are going to pay their doctor bills. I told her not to worry, their kind always seem to get things taken care of and for her to leave any money she might have saved, in her account in case she needs it. He got hooked on drugs when he was going through so many surgeries for neck and back, mostly injuries from falls and car accidents that Im sure happened because of his drinking and using ill legal drugs. I will have to say in the past several years, he has been trying. He belongs to AA, and his doctor FINALLY realizes he can't take pain medications because he can become addicted so easily. He turned 60 this past April. Makes me wonder, has he really changed this time, I can only hope so for his sake, and his wife, but mostly for my Mother's sake.

Beth said...

oh Greg, this is so sad on so many levels...but yet it makes me so damn mad too! There are honest people out there who could use Medicaid but can't get it...

But i won't say anything bad about your brother...just what a good example he's setting for your kids. Really. Nothing like a little dose of reality to set someone on the right path, ya know what I mean? My kids will never drink cuz of my mom and her "problem"....

Kim S in SC said...

Greg: I can hear in your post how frustrated you must feel! Praying that the God of Hope will fill you with His peace. Praying also for guidance as you face difficult decisions both as a brother and a son. You speak so passionately about this subject. Keep sounding the alarm about this plague on society!

Gardener Greg said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. I no longer make excuses for my family. I simply try to live my life the best way I know how.

Liz said...

You said the police aren't interested? I'd love a case like that, even if he's small time. But if the police don't have enough evidence to establish probable cause, there's nothing they can do. The Constitution provides us with pretty good protection, especially in our homes. If he's selling the drugs out of his car, the police could very easily pull him over and hopefully find the drugs. That would mean they'd have to be interested, available, and notified as he's in his car. That might be hard for you to call in, since you don't live with him.

I guess I just want to defend the police. It's not necessarily that they're not interested. A lot of times our hands are tied. Even if you had information that you could give them that proves your brother is selling drugs, they still would have to corroborate it somehow in order to get a warrant.

Fortunately for the drug dealers, warrants don't get passed out like candy. But there are a lot of warrantless exceptions to vehicle searches, I'd go that route if I had jurisdiction in your area.

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