Day 3: Meth Epidemic

We accepted a new applicant today. “Pear”, 26, has a bachelor’s degree in food service management, but struggles with severe depression. Like other women we have had at The Well, she grew up with an unhealthy mother.

Pear has a 1-year-old son who has asthma, which she believes came from second-hand smoke: the family of three shares a single room with 5 others, including a smoking grandmother. Pear’s 35 year-old husband is addicted to meth-based drugs. She said he started while in his teens.

A common entry-level drug here for many years was yaba, literally “crazy drug”, a caffeine-methamphetamine mix. A dozen years ago a dose sold for about $8, but it has since fallen to about $3. Now more people are choosing the stronger crystal meth, or “ice”. Drugs are now as common among the lower class as water or oxygen. Just about the only people under 40 not using or selling, it seems, are in prison. It’s something we have to watch for constantly with folks we work with, and when we notice someone with money problems and frequent irritability we get suspicious. Thankfully we are near a government clinic that offers free testing.

It comes up regularly. Today “Pom”, Dtang’s mother made a surprise visit (see yesterday’s post). Pom said she is now legally married to a Christian man from her home town and living in a Bangkok suburb, but prior to that she had been virtually slaving away to support her four children, working wherever she could seven days a week. To keep herself going she had used meth, paying for her own drugs by doing deliveries for her dealer. Finally with the help of this new husband Pom left it all behind, literally. She said she has been clean only four months. She asked me to help her find a nearby church.

Last week in worship at The Well, I asked people to share thanks to God. “I’m thankful that I just turned down an invitation to sell drugs,” one shared. She had spent two years in prison not long ago.

Two men recently returned to our small “Faithful Men” program after a few months of drug relapse. We’re used to these cycles, but knowing that recovery often requires many attempts, always encourage all no matter whether they’re heading up or down. This morning I showed our Recovery group “The truth will set you free” from John 8, and taught them the corollary, “Our secrets make us sick.” Indeed we do see victory. One member of of the Recovery program celebrated a drug-free year a month ago. A new member, freshly detoxed and fully in love with Jesus, is learning the wonderful freedom of forgiveness through the cross. We know there is a strong chance at some point that she will relapse at least once, but that’s ok. She’s clean today, and heading the right direction.