Recovering addict turned advocate: Boise man helps students stay away from meth
Eric Fink speaks with former meth addict Mike Howard Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Boise's Mike Howard took his first hit of meth when he was 15.
"I believe methamphetamine is the most addictive drug out there," Howard said. "It swallowed me whole."
25 years after his first encounter with meth, Howard is now sober six years. But, the emotional scars of his addiction remain. "The one time I did, from that first time," Howard said, "there was 18 years of battle."
Howard spent a year in prison for a violent crime he committed under the influence of the addictive drug. His incarceration helped to fuel his desire to turn his life around.
Howard is currently the lead volunteer coordinator for the Idaho Meth Project. In its sixth year, the statewide campaign brings recovering addicts like Howard into the classroom to speak with teens and young adults about the dangers of the drug.
"I went into doing this drug half-heartedly, not knowing what I getting into," Howard recalled. "To get sober, and get my head on straight, I know this is my last chance in life. I need to do it right this time."
Since its inception in 2008, the Meth Project has helped reduce meth use among teens in Idaho by 50 percent.
"Let's get to these teens before they ever try the drug," Idaho Meth Project executive director Gina Heideman said. "Let's educate them before they get there and then they'll grow to be healthy, meth-free adults."
Heideman says roughly 10 percent of meth addicts who get sober, remain clean throughout their life.