Other addicts understand why upset woman smashed into Springfield clinic lobby

Published: Dec. 13, 2016 at 4:30 PM CST
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The Jordan Valley Health Clinic reopened on Tuesday after a woman ran her truck through the lobby doors on Monday afternoon. Andrea Gully, 58, said she was upset a doctor wouldn't give her some medication.

Other addicts say it's actually sad, yet understandable.

"I'm not saying it's right, but I understand how someone could get so frustrated to do it," said Jason Rateliff. "When you are dope sick, which is what we call it when you are detoxing, there is nothing. You could have your baby crying and dying right next to you, and you'd pay more attention to the pills than that. The desire is that strong."

Rateliff says he has struggled with addiction for 14 years, and it's an ugly thing to kick. He says it's mental, emotional, psychological and physiological.

Experts agree.

"I would hope that we would get them help before they got to that point, but sometimes you don't know; that may have been what triggered people to say, 'Wait a minute, this is worse than I thought it was,'" said Sally Gibson, a licensed counselor and vice president of Addiction Services at Burrell Behavioral Health.

"The first time I take it, I don't even know that I think about being addicted to it," Gibson said. "And some people are pre-disposed. They have a hereditary thing and, first time they use, their body chemistry changes and they're addicted."

Gibson has worked with clients struggling with addiction for 20 years.

"When you would go in for any kind of a medical procedure, they give you pain medication. You could say, 'I don't want it.' Well, you may need it, you need to take it anyway. I think we're getting better at that now. I think that if the patient says, 'I don't want it,' we're looking at things like 800 mg Ibuprofen, or looking at alternative types of pain medication. If there's a good side to it, what I like is it's bringing attention to the field of addiction and what we need to do differently."

Gully is charged with first-degree property damage. If she's convicted, she could get a prison sentence up to four years.

Prosecutors and the health center's chief executive officer said Gully caused about $25,000 worth of damage at the clinic. She nearly hit several people.

The detective who wrote the probable cause statement used as the basis of the charge says Gully and her roommate went to the clinic to talk with Gully’s doctor to get Xanax, a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Her roommate told officers that Gully has been taking Xanax for years but her doctor recently stopped prescribing it. The roommate said Gully she started having withdrawal symptoms (body shakes, increased anger and depression) about a week ago but it “really got bad within the past two days.”

The roommate said she and Gully went to Jordan Valley clinic and waited “a few hours to see Gully’s doctor” before deciding to leave.

Once outside, the roommate said, Gully ran to her pickup in the parking lot and “began driving crazy around the parking lot and appeared to be in a fit of rage,” according to the probable cause statement. The roommate said Gully drove directly at him and he “believed that Gully did not even see him since she was in such a rage.” He jumped out of the way of the truck.

Another witness was dropping off an adult woman and child at the front of the clinic when he saw the gold pickup racing towards him and his family. He yelled at them, and she jumped back in the car. The witness barely managed to get his vehicle out of the way before Gully’s truck barreled through the two sets of front doors about 4:40 p.m.

A police officer who was working “an extra duty assignment” in the clinic lobby saw the pickup crash through the doors. It stopped close to where he was sitting. He then heard Gully yell something like, “I want my meds!” She continued to yell as the officer took Gully into custody.

After being arrested, according to the detective, Gully declined to talk about why she damaged the clinic.

A judge set Gully's bond at $25,000. Online court records show Gully lives south of Springfield in Greene County.

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