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, model good looks and a wealth of possibilities.

Yet over the course of the next 14 years, addiction ruined almost everything for him. It wouldn’t be long until he appeared to be a completely different person…

Matthew Medlin was arrested for the first of many times in 2002, when he was just 18 years old. His high cheekbones, impressive tan, and piercing stare at this age earned him comparisons to a fashion model.

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

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

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

For an arrest six years after that, Medlin was sporting striking face tattoos and had the gaunt features and sunken eyes of a stimulant abuser. Methamphetamine suppresses users’ appetites and keeps them awake for days on end. Obviously, Medlin was suffering. Unfortunately, it would only get worse from there…

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

Medlin would find himself arrested three times over the course of 2013 alone. To put all of that into perspective, consider the fact that this meant he was arrested, on average, once every four months that year. Still, things only became worse for him in 2014.

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

Medlin’s final arrest of the year found him covered with bizarre face paint and an exhausted expression on his face. He was subsequently sent to prison after being convicted on charges of burglary, assault, and sexual abuse.

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

In 2014, merely six days before his scheduled release, Medlin managed to do something that many people may have assumed was next to impossible: he scaled the prison’s razor-wire fence in broad daylight and escaped…

meth-6KOIN 6 News

Medlin was free for all of 10 hours before he was recognized and arrested at a Jack In The Box fast food restaurant. The young man was charged with second-degree escape and quickly sent back to prison.

meth-7Flickr / Rojer

Medlin was eventually released from prison, although he continued to have various run-ins with law enforcement throughout the entirety of 2015. It’s sad to think that even after becoming a free man, he couldn’t get his life back together. He barely looked like the same person.

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 continuing to use meth the whole time.

meth-9Flickr / v-neck

Medlin eventually became so agitated from the drugs that officers were forced to take him down with rubber bullets and tasers after they encountered him. He was returned to prison for misdemeanor charges, but is reportedly out again.

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

Still, hope is not all lost. With enough help, Matthew Medlin could follow Shanna White’s example. White herself was addicted to meth for eight years before she cleaned up and got her life on track with the love and support of her family.

meth-11Facebook / Shanna White

After six years of sobriety, White 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. Hopefully, Matthew Medlin can follow Shanna White’s advice and get his life back on track.

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