Comments Off on Faces of Meth, 10 years later: ‘I’m not going back to prison’ — Glenn Lagrew

Glenn Lagrew sat in Portland City Hall wearing a freshly pressed light-green shirt, a tie tight on his neck. In the packed council chambers, people embraced, slapping each other on the back and giving long, drawn-out hugs.-40e09e236296af19

The day of celebration — June 26, 2014 — saw 19 men and women graduate from the Service Coordination Team, a city program designed for chronic drug offenders.

Lagrew was among them.

“I aspire to be a better man,” the 49-year-old told the group when presented with his certificate. “I want to make amends to the city and be a role model so my son … will make it out, too.”

Lagrew’s addiction to methamphetamine, his drug of choice and one that fueled a habit hard to kick, led him to 17 years behind bars, mostly on theft and narcotics charges. His frequent visits to Multnomah County Jail landed him in Faces of Meth, the campaign he learned about a decade ago – and discovered he was part of — when an Oregonian reporter called him.

“I knew that my life was going to change drastically at that point,” he said. “That campaign destroyed a lot of people.”

Problems began at a young age. By ninth grade, Lagrew was getting into trouble, rotating through Portland-area high schools. He lived in group homes. He started trying drugs.

“I was uncontrollable,” he said. “My mom couldn’t control me, and my dad was not in a position to be much of a help, either.”

As an adult, he became familiar with the streets, a powerful drug and the criminality that came with it.

Lagrew’s four mugshots, dating from 1993 to 2004, show his face growing increasingly creased and weathered. It’s those images that still haunt him, he said, recalling the time a St. Johns bar — which had a Faces of Meth poster displayed – refused him service.

“Everybody kept saying, ‘That’s him. That’s him,'” he said. “Finally they asked me to leave. It was not a campaign against methamphetamines; it was an attack on people.”

Faces of Meth made him recognizable, allowing strangers to judge him, he said. His response was to give in.

“Before I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the consequences of my drug use,” he said. “I didn’t care about my family.”

A decade later, Lagrew still resents the campaign’s creator, Deputy Bret King, and The Oregonian for writing about it.

But at his graduation, a smiling Lagrew took photos of friends collecting diplomas.

When asked who had secured a job, Lagrew shot up his hand proudly. He has two — one in a warehouse and another delivering spas.

Recently Lagrew was offered a house manager position with the nonprofit Bridges to Change. He hopes to work as an addictions counselor in the future.

“I failed as a drug addict, I failed as a criminal, and I can’t fail at this,” he said. “This has got to work.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/12/faces_of_meth_10_years_later_i_1.html

 

Comments are closed.