Local law enforcement is spreading the word on the drug problem in Warren County.
The effort focused on Tidioute on Thursday night, in an event sponsored by the Tidioute Community Charter School's SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) program.
Youngsville Police Chief Todd Mineweaser and Warren County Sheriff Ken Klakamp coordinated the event, which featured informational discussions as well as several testimonials from former drug users.
"We do this because we want to clean up our communities," Mineweaser said during brief introductory remarks. "Strong families, strong communities ... we can beat this."
The first former user was Justin, who said his incarceration 2 years, 9 months, 16 days, and 16 hours to be exact was a direct result "of my getting high."
He first starting using when he was 13, in part because he didn't feel like he fit in.
Justin said when he was thinking about what he wanted to say before the forum, he thought, "There are so many horror stories in my life. Which one are you going to tell, Justin?"
His message to the students in the crowd was clear.
"You're young. You don't have to go down the road I went to...I won't put my worst enemy through what I've been through," he said.
He was proud to say he will have been clean for four years on April 16.
"My life today not getting high is beautiful," he said. "It's such a blessing to have my mom be proud of me."
Tiffani said that "by the age of 15, I would say I was an addict."
She said that she overdosed five times, and stopped breathing during one of the episodes. "I don't know how I'm standing before you today."
She noted that, during a two-year incarceration, she had several opportunities at parole; but didn't have the family support needed to stay clean.
That's why she is a proponent of the House of Hope, a halfway house currently in the works for women who are going to be released to be able to transition to independence.
Judd told those in attendance about how all of the standard recovery tools, such as Narcotics Anonymous, didn't work. "I did it (drugs) because I wanted to. I'm not going to blame my parents. I look at me and the solution and that's God," he said. "I can't tell my story without talking about God."
"I never in a million years thought I would be addicted to crack," Judd explained. "I became a criminal. I became the center of the universe in my mind."
Judd said he tried to get clean for his daughter and did really well until she died at a very young age, at which point he spiraled out of control, using drugs as the way he said he wanted to kill himself.
But then he met a pastor, who asked if he wanted to go on a retreat.
At first, Judd hesitated, but he gave in. He explained that people were praying for him and he thought "this is stupid."
After the retreat, he left and went back to where he was living and realized that he didn't want drugs.
"I spent my whole life caring about how other people thought of me," he said. Now, he said, his focus is on his relationship with God. And that's the solution that he has found to his addiction.
"In finding the solution, I feel like the most blessed person," he said.
Now he is an integral part of a group called "We Believe," where former users can gather for support, taking their problems and addictions day by day.
"In focusing on the solution, we can help one another."