Barely Holding It Together

It’s amazing how well some people can hold it all together until the last possible minute.

Yesterday morning I stopped a car with the suspicion the driver was impaired.  He was impaired all right, but not by alcohol.  ‘John’ had various narcotics racing through his system, and even at 0600 hrs, he was a jittering and a jiving.

John did his best to not twitch his way off the sidewalk once I asked him to step out of his vehicle.  His eyes, which were wide open and the size of hard boiled eggs, seemed to want to pop clear out of his head – thank God they didn’t, as that might have sent me screaming off into the dark.  His hands fluttered around like two small birds, as if trying to escape into the early morning sky, and he kept them pressed together at his waist in an effort to stem the flurry of activity.

John’s conversation was very sincere, and he told me the only drug he had consumed was his doctor prescribed Percocet.  As if his admission made it okay.  The painkiller has several side effects, including restlessness, nervousness, and a flushed face to name a few (thank you, Google).

I suspected John had added at least one street drug to his system based on the evidence clearly visible inside of his car, but by then, I didn’t need more proof – John’s ability to drive was impaired well beyond any test I could administer.

He took his driving prohibition in stride – almost with a sense of relief.  Once he had his slip of blue paper in hand and was watching his vehicle get towed, John gave up trying to hold it together.  He relaxed and let his hands fly about and let his body do what it wanted to do, which was twitch, and bend, and make sudden jerky movements. 

Now that he no longer had to pretend to be sober, he let it all hang out and it was shocking – John’s behaviour was the type I think every preteen and adolescent considering their first joint or crack pipe or line of coke needs to see first hand.

I was sorry I was unable to film him, to show him at a sober moment what drugs do to a person.  Because, really, he was one of those people freshly caught in the downward spiral of drug use – he was driving an expensive car, had expensive things, but was already hooked on at least two drugs, not including the Percocet, responsible for the deaths of hundreds.  If he gets no help, he’ll lose it all in months, if not weeks.

It was not without a pang of frustration and sadness that I sent John safely on his way.  I watched his departing back, his white jacket soon the only thing visible in the gloom.  His jacket twitched to the side as if jerked by a maniacal puppeteer, and John stooped into the gutter in search of a cigarette butt, and then finally, he disappeared from view.

I want to help people like John, but the problem is just so huge and I’ve no idea where to start.

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