For Tiffany Eis, everyday life now includes walking the halls of schools and teaching the dangers of meth and drug use from a firsthand experience. She's part of the Rotary clubs' "Don't Meth With Us" program. She says the drug changed her life, forever.
"I was using pretty much anything, of course; always marijuana, meth, prescription pain pills, oxycodone, morphine -- all of those types of drugs; those were my main ones, but then I also did the other ones as a recreation on top of my daily drugs," Eis said last week.
An addiction that started with marijuana when she was just 15 years old quickly rollercoastered into more. The bright student from Camdenton went to college, got a degree in communications, and was working a normal job. Never did she think the drug use that she kept secret from everyone would head into such a downward spiral.
"I had both legs amputated below the knee, a heart valve replacement and two strokes. They were going to amputate my hands but, after amputating my feet and giving me 100+ pints of blood, my hands started to come back because, obviously, your hands are closer to your heart, so the blood flow started to come back. That's the only reason why I have my hands."
In March 2006, for Eis' 30th birthday, she and a friend had plans to go out. While getting ready, she was using drugs and decided to take a bath. Two days later, Eis' friend returned to find Eis still in the tub, with her eyes wide open, with feet and hands turning blue, unresponsive.
The friend, who didn't have a car, begged Eis' ex-boyfriend to take her to the hospital. He said yes and put her in the bed of his pickup. She suffered two stokes and severe blood clots.
"They dumped me off outside and I was in a sheet (remember, I was in a bath tub), so they just put me in the sheet from my bed and dropped me off in a sheet" said Eis.
In 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration found more than 11,000 methamphetamine incidents occurred in the United States; that means everything from finding lab equipment to seizing paraphernalia. More than 1.800 of those incidents occurred in Missouri.
"The methamphetamines are highly addictive; it's a 90 percent addiction rate and 'to just not even try it' is the main message because, once they try it, it's hard to get them back," said Brent Baldwin, a member of the board of directors of "Don't Meth With Us."
While Eis says she's thankful to be here today, the message she wants to get across is simple: "Don't mess with meth."
"Think about what you're doing to your own self. You need to be responsible for you. Yes, you have your family or friends but, when it all boils down ,it's just you and how you take care of your body and how you view life and how you want to go out there and do things and not get stuck in just a rut. The world is your oyster. Go for it; don't get stuck in drugs and addictive behaviors" said Eis.
More information about the "Don't Meth With Us" program
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