Former Drug User Writes Touching Letter To Arresting Officer

By Keri Blakinger 09/24/15

A Maine police department shared a letter written to them by an anonymous user thanking Officer Sean Hurley.

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 Officer Sean Hurley
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It’s not often that drug users thank the police. However, one former user took the time to write Maine’s Portland Police Department and share his gratitude for their intervention in his life.

The letter, which police posted on Facebook, begins:

"The date was August 17, 2015. It's a day I'll never forget, for good reasons and bad. I'm 30 years old and I suffer from the disease of addiction. It started with OxyContin in 2003 at the age of 18, and progressed into heroin in 2010 when I was 25."

“After using on the morning of Monday the 17th, I found myself sick, withdrawing, and homeless come early afternoon. I was at a friend's house for a few hours (a fellow addict), and he informed me around 4pm or so that he needed to drop me off somewhere because he wanted to use ... and because I had no money and no valuables, I was of no use to him. He knew I had nowhere to go and I'd end up sleeping on the street as I had the night before. He didn't care.”

The young man goes on to write, “For the first time in my life, I legitimately contemplated suicide. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'd had enough, and I had hit a whole new bottom. All I had was the clothes I had been wearing the last few days in a row.”

Once a “shady couple” approached him and tried to offer sex in exchange for money, the writer called the police. An officer arrived and took down the man’s report and then, “Because he was so polite, helpful, and sincere in our conversation, I made the conscious decision that I would be totally and completely honest with him."

“I told him my situation in detail, including how and why I ended up homeless (once again). I also told him I had been waiting for the last several days to get into Milestone Detox so I could get into a program, but they had made so many false promises regarding how long I would have to wait ... which resulted in me having to sleep on the streets for the previous two nights (a first for me). He felt so bad for me and he clearly knew my situation was pretty hopeless.”

The two talked, but the best solution they could come up with was a wet shelter, something the writer didn’t want. Instead, he wanted to stay away from drugs.

“The biggest reason I have for sharing this experience with the public is what happened next,” the letter continues. “In a million years I wouldn't have expected to see what I saw when I looked at him. It was obvious to me that he was fighting back tears, and then it happened - I saw a tear begin to fall down his cheek, which he promptly wiped away ... that display of genuine emotion touched my heart [and] is a memory I will forever hold dear to me.”

The anonymous letter-writer says he’s been clean since that day. When the police posted the letter online, it got more than 3,000 likes, more than 700 shares, and scores of positive comments from across the country.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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