By Patricia Bogumil
Town of Waterford Police Chief Tom Ditscheit recalls the story of one young heroin addict who attended Waterford High School and who still lives and works nearby.
Police first became aware of him during a traffic incident in Milwaukee County during which needles and other drug paraphernalia were found in his vehicle. He kept driving drugged, even after causing other accidents (which he claimed were not his fault) and after losing his license.
A lot of people believe in this young man and have stepped in to help, giving him breaks to help get him back on track, Ditscheit said.
As is typical with addicts, he has used them all to get more heroin.
From last September to March of this year, the young man was lying to his parents about his drug use, stealing from them left and right, and using them as a way to score money for heroin buys.
“He did everything he could to get them to keep giving him money. They were giving him money, and they were feeding his habit,” Ditscheit said.
The father would drive his son to Milwaukee for court-ordered drug testing, parking a block or two away from the testing site, giving his son $40 to cover the cost of the test, plus an extra $20 for keeping up with the man-dated testing.
At the son’s request, to avoid causing him embarrassment, the father never went into the test center with him, Ditscheit said.
The son didn’t go in, either.
He’d walk around the corner, meet up with his dealer, and buy $60 worth of heroin, then come back to the car and drive home with dad to drug up as soon as he could.
That happened about 15 times, Ditscheit said, until the father learned the son had gone only once for the drug testing – which is free, not $40. “It’s so typical of what goes on,” Ditscheit said. “Addicts will take you for whatever they can.”
One of the hardest things for police is convincing an addict’s family about how serious the addiction is, Ditscheit said.
“They think he’ll stop and that’s the end of it, but it doesn’t work like that be-cause heroin is so addictive, an addict can’t just stop,” he explained – even when directly confronted by loved ones with evidence of lying and drug use. “That’s not enough.”
Heroin is known to be highly addictive: one hit and some people are hooked. It’s not like cocaine or marijuana use, in which a user can limit their use to weekends and off-work days.
Heroin is all-consuming, all the time.
It hollows out a person’s core, leaving behind a shell of a former self, focused solely on staying alive – which means doing anything for money to relieve the anguish of needing heroin.
Police know addicts to be experts at reading people, adept at saying the right things to garner trust, and then betraying that trust in the most hurtful and outrageous ways.
The young man from Waterford now claims to be in recovery and staying heroin-free, Ditscheit said. He holds hope this particular addict might actually be able to “get out of this, and there’s not too many who do.”