Heartfelt Advice from Prison

Gurudeva introduces Jonathan a prison inmate who tells his story of forgery, stealing, even from his mother, to support his drug habit. The want for the drug is so strong that you will do anything including violence. Jonathan describes how his 3 kids are left without a dad. The physical effects of "ice" are graphically described as well as the loss of trust from family, friends- he does not get visits. "If you want to lose everything drugs will do that to you." No matter how much you take you will always want more. Gurudeva tells Jonathan thank you for reaching the heart of young people and making a difference.

Unedited Transcript:

Gurudeva: We want to introduce to you Jonathan Corpuz, who is in the Kauai Community Correctional Center. He has been there a long time. He is a man who has had a very good life. Jonathan had two cars, a home, children, a good job. He will explain himself. Jonathan, let us hear your story. We really appreciate your using your name and giving of your experience for all the young people out there in Cyberspace.

Jonathan: My name is Jonathan Corpuz. I am here for forgery. I cashed checks so I could get drugs. I stole the checks from my mom. I was addicted to crystalmethamphetamine, and was sentenced to five years here, in jail.

Arumugaswami: How old are you?

Jonathan: I am twenty seven.

Arumugaswami: When did you start taking drugs and what did you start with?

Jonathan: I started with marijuana I think in 1987, when I was sixteen.The only reason why I did it was because my friends were doing drugs and I always thought that whatever they are doing, I should do. So that they would like me, I guess.

Arumugaswami: What did the drugs cost you?

Jonathan: I had a lot of things that I saved because of my job. I am a baker. I had been a baker for seven years. I had seen a friend that I knew who had been using crystalmeth, so I decided to ask him. Maybe just for something to do on the weekend. I guess the addiction came back, you know. So I got back into that. In my life since the, I lost everything. I sold everything. I started stealing from my parents, my sister, cousins, everybody. The want for the drug is so strong that you are willing to do everything that you never thought you could do. It is a really dangerous drug.

Arumugaswami: You have children?

Jonathan: I have three children.

Arumugaswami: What has happened with the children as a result of the drugs?

Jonathan: I haven't been there for most of their lives. So, it is just like they are left without a dad.

Arumugaswami: What would you say to kids that want to do drugs?

Jonathan: Don't do it if you like living, I mean if you like living normal lives. Being able to get a job, being able to keep a job, being able to buy a car and keep that car without ever having to worry about selling it for drugs, without having friends look at you and saying things like, "What is going on with you? What is wrong with you?". You can see the physical effects of 'ice'. You lose a lot of weight. You start getting pimples on your face. You start getting paranoid. Your eyes glitch and people around you start staring at you. I mean, I lost two years, three years out of my life. There is nothing, no purpose whatsoever because of the drug. I lost everything - house, car, family, friends, sister, brother, cousins, my children, everybody. They don't trust me because I stole for the drugs. They don't know if the drugs will have any long term effects on my brain. I might be dangerous. So, they don't even come to see me here in jail. I am doing time. I hardly get visits. If you want to lose everything, drugs will do that to you.

Arumugaswami: Well, most of these kids think they can handle it.

Jonathan: Crystalmethamphetamine is not alcohol. It is not smoking cigarettes. It is a drug that makes you want it so badly, that you will do anything for it. It affects anybody. I don't care who you are. Nobody can handle the drug. No one can. There is no way you can control how much you take. You are still going to want more. If this is the amount you take today, you are going to take double that amount the next day.

Arumugaswami: Well, let us talk about the drug situation on the island. How many people who are on the island are dealers, big time dealers?

Jonathan: Maybe about a hundred, I would say, big time dealers. As far as how many people use drugs, everybody I knew on the outside was either affected by it, or was using it, or was selling it. I mean, a lot of people were. Maybe a third of the population of Kauai maybe have tried it or at least are involved with it in some way. Our high schools, at least, over half of the population of the high schools have tried crystalmethamphetamine or are hooked on it already, at least half, or more. I know that for a fact, because a lot of customers at the time, were high school students.

Arumugaswami: How do you tell if your kid is on drugs?

Jonathan: Paranoia. Weight loss or sometimes weight gain, depending upon what the drug is. Strange acts that they might do. Being kind of secretive, or always locking up their rooms. Not wanting to join in family activities. Not being home all the time. Not having any appetite. Being violent at times when they should not be. Being really sensitive to things you say to them. Not wanting to listen to you. All of those are signs. To all the kids out there, if there is anything that I could say, it is that drugs don't do anything. If you are already involved with it, don't be afraid; just reach out for help. Regardless of you are doing pot, you are doing coke, you are doing ice', alcohol at a young age or whatever it is. It will all lead to something bigger sooner or later. Everybody says that marijuana is the beginning and then you will go up, you will progress into a worse drug. No matter what you think, nobody's will is strong enough to resist. I don't think anybody is. It will take away everything from you, even your last breath of life.

Gurudeva: Jonathan, we want to thank you for telling us your story in such an honest way, such an articulate way. You have really reached the heart of young people. Not only on the island of Kauai, but in many countries of the world who tune into 'Today at Kauai Aadheenam', our cyberspace ashram. I am sure, Jonathan, that you have made a difference.