Do not turn blind eye, stand firm against drugs in our communities

I am a current member of the armed forces and have served as a United States Marine and Army soldier. I have travelled the world and witnessed many things; but as a member of law enforcement as a military police officer and platoon sergeant who is responsible for the welfare for dozens of soldiers, the most disturbing thing is those affected by drugs, specifically methamphetamine.

In 2010, I learned about a friend who I served with in the Marine Corps named Sergio Orozco. He was articulate, well educated, and successful. He was a model, attorney at law, and attended Harvard Law School, and his addiction to meth caused him to commit suicide. The other Marine I served with, Ward Yont, was a headliner at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, California, and he is now serving a life sentence for murder in Arizona because he killed another man in a drug fueled rage. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a childhood friend turned bassist for the rock band Slaughter, named Tim Kelly was killed by a trucker who was under the influence of drugs. And I have seen my own soldiers with once promising lives become addicted to meth and cocaine.

In short, drugs whether it be cocaine, meth or another addictive substance, can ruin your life, destroy your reputation, and hurt the ones you love. It does not matter whether you are famous or not, successful, or rich or poor, because once it has you, it has you.

As a parent who chose to move from California to Madawaska because I wanted a small town feeling of community, I now call upon my fellow parents, Madawaska residents, and Aroostook County community members to hold yourselves and others accountable. Be the proud residents that you are and realize that drugs can kill a community, instead of a friend who turns a blind eye because that blind eye may eventually blind you from seeing a family member, friend, or loved one from becoming addicted.

Nothing is clearer of this than the recent party where an adult provided meth and alcohol to our children, the precious future of our community. If we band together and let people know we don’t tolerate or accept drugs in our community, we can call that a start of a promising future for our children.

As I have chosen Aroostook County as my place to retire, I embrace all of you and this community as the place I want to live the remainder of my life; my hope is that you embrace a culture where we don’t turn a blind eye and tell those who deal in drugs and those who find hard drugs as their life choice, that we do not accept this; and that we do not accept this because we are protecting the future of our community.

Staff Sgt. Donald Mason

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