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Recovering heroin addict warns teens about the dangers of drug abuse

By Aimee Bilger
On February 6, 2013

He scored a 32 on his ACTs and was accepted on a full scholarship to Kentucky, but a choice to use drugs changed everything. Escorted in by the Weakley County Prevention Coalition, Curtis Sommerville of Dresden stood before a group of community teens at the Crossroads Teen Center to show them the dangers of drug abuse.

To show these dangers, he displayed needle marks in his inner arm made by heroin. His $300 a-day addiction lead him to nine felony charges, 12 misdemeanors and separation from his wife and two children. His raw and uncut approach grabbed the attention of each teen.

Sommerville started smoking marijuana in high school. He thought it was the cool thing to do. He didn't learn until later that marijuana and alcohol were the two worst dangerous drugs to use. He worked at a bar where he bartended and was making enough to pay the bills at home and support his addiction.

"Smoking weed and drinking alcohol will lead you to asking the drug dealer, what else do you have to make me feel better?" said Sommerville.

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, long-term studies of drug use patterns show that very few high school students use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana.

Sommerville lost his job because of the drug abuse. He started to steal from stores and burglarize homes to have items to pawn off for money.

 "Drugs will take you places that you thought you would never go," said Sommerville.

There's no good ending with drugs. I still have to fight the urge everyday not to stick a needle in my arm. You need to decide today what kind of person you want to be," said Sommerville.

"This forum was all about making this generation aware of the dangers of falling into drug abuse," said Grant Harper, Teen Center Coordinator.

Even though Harper has recognized the use of marijuana in a few of the teens in time past, those that were using don't attend the program anymore. The teen center has a no tolerance policy against drug abuse. Those that chose to use marijuana, or any illegal drug substance, cannot be a part of the teen center programs or extra curricular activities and groups. The teens are asked to make sure they set a standard inside and outside of the teen center.

A majority of the teen center students are a part of a group that was formed from inside the teen center by Ray Cheney, Teen Center Program Assistant, called the Step Crew.

"The principle of being a leader in the community is one of the requirements of the Step Crew. "They've worked to hard in not only practice with their team, but also in community service to become a victim of drug abuse," said Harper.

The teen center is in need of mentors, tutors, and ideals to help make each day a productive one for each of their teens. If you are interested in volunteering or even donating to the teen center contact Grant Harper @731-588-4111 or

To get more information about the Weakley County Prevention Coalition or to contact Curtis Sommerville about speaking at one of your events go to www.weakleycountyprevention.comor

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