Commentary

The bigger picture of drug addiction

>Fred Kroner Fred Kroner
December 30, 2017

By FRED KRONER
For The Mahomet Daily

Full disclosure: I don’t know Richard Stover, nor do I know the entire history of his troubled background.

This much I do know.

The tragedy that ended Friday with his arrest for the murder of a 60-year-old relative, Betty J. Stover, did not start that day.

The tragedy began many, many years earlier.

There will be those who look at this sad situation only as the brutal death of a woman who didn’t deserve such a fate.

There is no argument there.

However, the bigger picture is one which society faces on a daily basis somewhere.

On Friday, that somewhere reached our hometown.

It can be traced back to a person’s addiction to drugs and the inability to escape the evil grip.

I was once good friends with a person who was victimized by his dependence
on drugs.

He would borrow money, beg for money, steal money, steal anything that could get him money, and it all went to feed his uncontrollable addiction.

During his lucid moments of sobriety, he acknowledged that he wanted to
change, that he needed to change, that he desired to change. He was tired
of battling the demons, whether real or perceived.

But he didn’t have the strength to resist, not for long.

He was consumed by the need for drugs.

They made him feel good. They helped him forget. They cleared his mind.
They blocked out the pain.

What may seem like excuses for using drugs seems like justification for
those who are hooked.

This much I have been told.

Stints in prison helped my friend come out clean, with a new outlook and a
new attitude.

And yet, many of the same friends he had previously remained in his life
and thus, their influence remained in his life.

It was only a matter of time before he returned to the lifestyle he knew,
the lifestyle which was comfortable for him.

Those who want to help, in a positive way, often don’t feel they have the
resources or knowledge to guide and make a difference.

It is an odd conundrum. The friends know a change is needed and that a
change is desired, but that knowledge is ineffective unless their friend
can also start the process of helping himself.

There is no condoning the criminal behavior when it occurs, but there is
a need to understand what precipitates it.

If you’ve lived with someone who fought addictions, if you’ve had a friend
or relative entrapped by the perils of substance abuse, you know the road
to recovery is littered with more failures than success stories.

Temptation is everywhere and no amount of monitoring can provide the
scrutiny needed from day-to-day to ensure that the short-term change can
become a permanent change.

These people are often ones we’ve known since childhood, ones whose
capabilities we know perhaps better than they know themselves.

My friend didn’t make it to his 40th birthday.

With his passing, a part of me died, too, because I was invested in his life and in facilitating the changes I know he wanted.

Too often we judge, based on an incident or an outcome, without realizing
or even recognizing why a person — why our society — has reached the
breaking point to where there was no other option but the path they chose.

I do not understand the why, but I understand the how.

While I do not know Richard Stover, I know too many people who have walked
a similar path in similar shoes.

In that regard, I feel I am not alone.

The problem is not reserved for the one individual in this case. The problem belongs to all of society.

Comments

  • Jim mclaughlin
    Jim mclaughlin

    I am the brother of Richard Stover and the son of a murdered mother Betty Stover. I am a resident of Mahomet. While I have no dispute with your article. And I agree that drugs are certainly a large factor in this horrific tragedy. It is so much deeper than just that. Richard was a very kind and sweet boy in his younger days and like most brothers we were very close. But as he entered his teenage years something changed inside him. He became suicidal and distant and had that type of deep depression that cannot be hidden. He was sent to the Carle pavilion many times by my family to make an attempt to get him help. From there the changes is Richard grew deeper and more recognizable. In an attempt again to help him my mother Betty sought help with both Adolf Meyer in Decatur and the light house in Bloomington. Nothing seemed to help. Richard or Richie as we called him became more suicidal and began using drugs. Doing things like huffing paint and gas to get high. I myself have found him unconscious and unresponsive and have had perfom cpr on him. Soon after he turned 19 the crime began and he fell deep into a world of drugs and finding ways of supporting that habit. I feel to kill the pain inside himself or to escape his own mental prison. Angry as I am. As horrific as this tragedy has been. I feel it is a direct cause of a broken system that offered no help to Richard though the warning signs where very apparent. Instead of treatment from the very beginning. A person with an obvious and documented mental instability was locked away and never treated. And even worse he was released time and time again with no way of coping within society. There are so many more things that I cannot at this point convey I honestly just do not have the strength as I am exhausted from holding my crying children from the lose of their granny,planning the final arrangements for my murdered mother and trying to find the strength to forgive the man I remember as that sweet little chubby cheeked boy who yes while high killed our mother.

    Jan 2, 2018, 7:23 am
    Reply
  • Jim mclaughlin
    Jim mclaughlin

    I should add that I found your article to be very accurate and unfortunately rings all too true. A very well written piece.

    Jan 2, 2018, 7:54 am
    Reply
  • jim mclaughlin
    jim mclaughlin

    I am the brother of Richrd Stover and the son of a murdered mother Betty Stover. I am a resident of mahomet. while i have no dispute with your article and find it to be both well written and very true and since drugs were indeed a very large factor in this horrific tragedy it goes so much deeper than just that. I thought i would share a little insight to Richards past since his name was mentioned here.Richard was a very kind and sweet boy in his younger days and like most brothers we were very close. but as he entered his teenage years something changed inside him. he became suicidal and distant and had that type of deep depression that cannot be hidden. after a very real suicide attempt that if medical attention had been any later Richard was sent to the carle pavilion in an attempt to get him some help. not long after that the changes in Richard grew deeper and more recognizable. in an attempt again to help him my mother sent him to Adolf meyer in Decatur a mental health facility.and from there to the Light House in Bloomington he spent considerable time in each facility.Nothing seemed to help Richard or Richie as we called him. he became more suicidal and began using drugs.. Doing things like huffing paint and gas to get high. I myself have found him unconscious and unresponsive from this and had to perform cpr on him. Soon after he turned 19 the crime began and he fell deep into a world of drugs and finding ways to support his habits. I feel to kill the pain inside him or to escape his own mental prison. Angry as i am. As horrific as this tragedy has been. I feel it is a direct cause of a broken system that offered no help to Richard though the warning signs were so very apparent. Instead of treatment from the very beginning a person with an obvious and documented mental instability was locked away and never treated. And even worse he was released time and time again with no way of coping within society. this tragedy did not just strike my family on that cold Friday night just before new years it has been stabbing at the hearts of all involved for many many years. There are so many more points that could be made here and so much more i could say but honestly i am tired. I am tired from holding my crying children from the lose of their Granny. I am tired from the consoling of many family members who suffered a great lose both in Betty a daughter,a sister,an aunt, a mother, and a great friend to those who knew her.I am tired from making the final plans for a murdered mother. But mostly i am tired from trying to find the strength to forgive the man i know as that sweet chubby cheeked boy who yes while high on drugs killed my mother…… i apologize if this comment shows up twice i made it and could not see it when i shared the link for your article therefore i rewrote it in an attempt to have it seen by others..thank you for bringing awareness to the tragedies that drug use befalls our great nation.

    Jan 2, 2018, 2:27 pm
    Reply
    • danitietz8
      danitietz8

      Jim, we are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for helping us see your brother and for sharing your experiences with the system. All of you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are so sorry you’re going through this.

      Jan 2, 2018, 3:15 pm
      Reply
    • Allison
      Allison

      Very well written.

      Jan 2, 2018, 7:02 pm
      Reply
  • Tina
    Tina

    Well said Fred. Jim, I am so very sorry for your loss of your Mother and of the brother you remember as a chubby cheek child. Drugs are tearing our society down. It touches all demographics. I have a friend with two sons that are addicts. I watched them come into this world. I love them very much. They are both in prison. I pray that when they are released that they will find a new life, new friends……God. Jim, your family is in my prayers.

    Jan 3, 2018, 1:03 am
    Reply
  • DeAnna Sue Prospal
    DeAnna Sue Prospal

    I am a mother who has had to bury a child at the age of 23 years old. Her name is Hannah. She left 3 beautiful children. Our family is broken and will never get over the loss of our beautiful Hannah. This too do to drugs. My heart is broken for all who suffer from drugs. I’m afraid to loose another child to the same thing. There is simply nothing I can do to stop this. It’s gut wrenching…heartbreaking to know that so many suffer from this. I am not the same woman I was 6 years ago. I’ll never get that back. This is a tragedy!!

    Jan 5, 2018, 8:53 pm
    Reply

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