Radio stories
November 15, 2016
What meth does to the body
December 1, 2016

One last shot

Hoping for another second chance

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Sherri Butler walked into her bathroom and saw her father hanging in the shower. She looked out the window and saw her home surrounded by a police SWAT team. She peered onto the porch and saw K9 dogs.

None of it ever happened.

The hallucinations are just one of numerous effects of methamphetamine.

“That’s how crazy this shit makes you,” Butler said.

The 42-year-old mother of four sits in the Delaware County Jail on charges of possession of methamphetamine and burglary. She’s there because she violated terms of Delaware County’s Forensic Diversion Drug Court program. Drug court gives convicted users a chance to rehabilitate with state assistance in lieu of jail. But Butler started using again.

From Behind Bars

Inmates at Delaware County Jail discuss how meth affected their lives in a collection of interviews. (by Nick Siano)

“Everything I judged and hated is exactly what I have become,” Butler said. “That’s what methamphetamine has done to me.”

Butler says she used to have a normal life. She had a job, raised four kids and spent her time going to football games and wrestling meets.

Three years ago she started using meth. Her criminal life didn’t begin until the meth use. Her drug of choice was opiates. She had undergone surgery and was on pain medication. When it became harder for her to acquire the pills, she turned to meth.

“It’s easy to make. You can go buy everything over the counter. You don’t even have to have a prescription,” Butler said. “I mean it’s retarded that we want to smoke or snort freaking lithium and fucking Draino or whatever the hell, but it’s easy to make.”

Butler has been convicted of multiple felonies ranging from burglary to resisting law enforcement. She faces seven years in prison if she does not complete the drug court diversion program.

Everybody in her family is an addict, she says. Cousins are in prison as a result of their meth use; others cook it. In Butler’s world, everybody either does it, or makes it.

“I used to think I was better than this shit but here I am,” Butler said.  “I’ve become everything I hated. I hated my family that did this shit, I always talked shit about them being weak.”

The diversion program allows for missteps, even serious mistakes. You get three strikes before your get-out-of-jail card expires.

“I’d just been up for days high and you don’t think straight,” said Butler before the addiction became too much. She found herself kicking in the door of her ex-husband’s home.

The way she sees it, she has one last shot at getting her life together. For her latest infractions, Delaware County Circuit Court 4 Judge Feick referred her to Recovery Matters, a rehabilitation center in East Chicago, Indiana.

Inmates from the Delaware County jail disclose personal thoughts on how their meth addictions affected their lives. Phylisia Donaldson reports.

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