Although everyone knows about the the ravages of drug addiction, every year more and more people get hooked on addictive substances. That’s why we need constant reminders of the havoc that drugs wreak, even though it can be painful to take.

Matthew Medlin’s story illustrates the horrors of methamphetamine addiction. At 18, he was young man with chiseled good looks and a wealth of possibilities. But over the next 14 years, his addiction ruined almost everything.

Matthew Medlin was arrested for the first time in 2002 when he was 18-years-old. His high cheekbones, tan, and piercing stare at this age have earned him comparisons to a model.  

meth-1The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Medlin’s next arrest came five years later, though he seems to have aged even more than that. You can see the characteristic sores associated with methamphetamine abuse on his face. 

meth-2The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Six years later he was sporting face tattoos and had the gaunt features and sunken eyes of a stimulant abuser. Methamphetamine suppresses users’ appetite and keeps them awake for days on end.

meth-3The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Medlin would be arrested three times over the course of 2013.

meth-4The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

His final arrest of the year found him with bizarre face paint and an exhausted look. He was sent to prison after being convicted on charges of burglary, assault, and sexual abuse.

meth-5The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

In 2014, six days before his scheduled release, Medlin managed to scale the prison’s razor-wire fence in broad daylight and escape… 

meth-6KOIN 6 News

He was free for about 10 hours before he was recognized and arrested at a Jack In The Box restaurant. Medlin was charged with second degree escape and sent back to prison. 

meth-7Flickr / Rojer

He was eventually released from prison though he continued to have run-ins with the law throughout 2015.

meth-8The Sun / Montnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Medlin’s latest arrest was in Portland, Oregon for attempting to hop trains. He engaged in a four-hour standoff with police, throwing rocks and pieces of metal at them while injecting meth the whole time. 

meth-9Flickr / v-neck

He eventually became so agitated from the drugs that officers were able to take him down with rubber bullets and tasers. He went back to prison for misdemeanor charges but is reportedly out again.

meth-10The Sun / Montnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Hopefully Matthew Medlin can follow Shanna White’s example. Shanna was addicted to meth for 8 years before she cleaned up and got her life on track with the love and support of her family.

meth-11Facebook / Shanna White

After 6 years sober, she had this message for people trapped in the throes of addiction: “If you are still in the midst of this ugly nightmare please know there is hope. You too can beat this and have a beautiful life. It is NEVER too late. Forgive yourself and know that you are worthy!”

meth-12Facebook / Shanna White

Though addiction is a lifelong struggle, it’s reassuring to know that there’s hope for people who deal with it. I hope Matthew Medlin can follow Shanna White’s advice and get his life back on track.

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