If you live in Southwest Missouri, you’ve probably seen posters or billboards showing the faces of these young people. All have one thing in common: they all battled addiction, but most lost.
Nate Lovall was one of them.
“I just had no idea really the the depth of what he was going though,” explained Butch Lovall, Nate’s father.
And his father, Butch, never thought it could happen to his athletic-minded, popular, church-going son.
“Everybody at school just really liked him a lot. Teachers enjoyed having him in class,” Lovall explained.
It’s a similar story with others featured in the Drug Awareness campaign being waged by the Alliance of Southwest Missouri. And Kevin Theilon of the Alliance, says this campaign is a matter of life or death.
“Letting people know that this can happen to you. It happens to good people and it happens to good kids,” explained Kevin Theilon of the Alliance of SWMO.
For some of these kids, it started with prescription drug abuse. Finding a parent’s prescription bottle and taking one or two here and there. It can even be a case where they are prescribed pain pills to get over an injury and it can quickly spin out of control. But, by no means is that always the case.
“I think it really started with with marijuana because that’s pretty prevalent around here,” said Lovall.
Regardless of how an addiction problem starts, the symptoms are often the same.
“Changes in behavior, changes even in personal, hygiene habits and how they look changes in their friends,” said Ozark Center therapis Tamara Andrew.
“I think I missed some of those signs because I wasn’t neccessarily involved,” Lovall explained.
Just a few months before Nate’s fatal overdose was the first time Lovall noticed any indication of a problem. He says his son started coming home drunk. But, Nate was due to enter the marines soon and his dad thought surely that wouldn’t be a problem much longer.
“Stay involved in their lives, even if they don’t want you to be involved. Ask questions, know their friends, and know where they’re going. There just can’t be enough of that because that’s the world we live in. It’s just so much more dangerous than it used to be and I just didn’t think that. I thought ‘well, we’re in a small town. He’s going to be fine,'” said Lovall.