Recovering addict warns of meth dangers - KMSP-TV

Recovering addict warns of meth dangers

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Kevin Harris Kevin Harris
BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. -

Last week, Gwinnett police made one of the largest meth bust in county history. They found more than 131 pounds of liquid meth inside a Lawrenceville home.

Unfortunately, Georgia ranks among the top in the country when it comes to meth use. Nobody knows how devastating the drug can be than the Harris family of Bartow County. Addiction drove Kevin Harris to steal, and to jail. He is now on the road to recovery and hoping his message can save others.

Nearly three weeks ago, an emotional Kevin Harris stood before the congregation of Grace Baptist Church to say he was sorry.

"I felt like I owed it to them. Not just them, but I owed it to myself to say ‘Hey, I messed up. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me,'" said Kevin Harris.

Harris admitted he broke into the church safe to support his drug habit. Ironically, Kevin's father once preached from the same platform where Kevin stood to apologize --  a broken man seeking redemption.

"Will you please forgive me," asked Kevin while standing in front of the congregation.

The youngest of four boys, Kevin started drinking when he was 14, and moved on to harder drugs.

"I was always somebody's brother, or Gayle or Doug's son. Very rarely did I hear Kevin," said Kevin.

The last 20 years have been an up and down struggle to get clean and stay sober.

"I'm tired of getting knocked down and getting back up again. I turned to what I knew would kill the pain and started using again," Kevin said.

Jim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Meth Project says that's not unusual. Experts consider meth five times more addictive than cocaine, and only 5 to 6 percent of those addicted are able to stay clean.

"You need lots and lots of support…support from family, support from church," said Langford.

Kevin is getting that support from Grace Baptist Church and from his parents.

"We love him to death. But there were times when I did not like him," said Kevin's mother Gayle.

Gayle and Doug Harris say looking back, they know they enabled their youngest child. But this last time, they turned to tough love.

"I think the hardest part of this whole experience was him asking us to bail him out of and us saying, no we just can't. We are convinced that had we bailed him out he would not be alive today," said Kevin's father Doug.

He's alive to do what God wants him to do -- share his story in hopes it can help someone else.

"It's hard to express the joy I got from it. A new freedom. A new happiness. The motivation  I need going forward to say, 'Man, it's so much better being clean, doing the right thing," said Kevin.

The Harris family has been very open about their family's struggle with addiction, and they say when they share their story so many people admit they, too have dealt with the same issues. The Georgia Meth Project is now taking its message to the classroom, hoping to catch students as young as 14. For more information on the Georgia Meth Project, click here.

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