Inmates discourage drug use at WELLWVU event
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 02:11
Randy Singleton, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Morgantown, spoke to West Virginia University students Thursday about regret.
"They said to me, ‘All you've got to do is quit, Randy,' but I couldn't," he said.
Singleton, 43, from Kentucky, only has 37 days left of his 10-year sentence for possession of methamphetamines with intent to sell.
He and fellow inmates from the Institution visited the University Thursday as part of an AlcoholEdu program hosted by WELLWVU: The Students' Center for Health.
Singleton shared his experiences with addiction and trafficking in hopes of helping WVU students realize the true dangers of drugs and alcohol.
In the wake of his father's death, Singleton said his mother became abusive. Searching for an escape, he first tried cocaine at the age of 15.
"It was the answer to all of my questions," Singleton said. "It made everything alright."
However, Singleton said his drug use soon took control of his life, driving him to rehab and prison.
"I couldn't figure out why my life was a sham or why I was always in trouble or in prison. My whole life has been run on resentment and anger," he said.
Singleton warned students that drug and alcohol use in college can become a slippery slope.
"It all starts somewhere. College puts you in a different environment with people doing stuff they shouldn't be doing," he said. "When I was 19 and doing these things, I never thought I would spend a third of my life in prison."
Now, Singleton said he has a new outlook on life and looks forward to starting over once he's released.
"Today, I have a new chance. I'm not going to let them run my life any more. I thought I needed drugs, that it was normal to be high," he said. "Now I know that's not a good way to live my life."
Derek Wade, an inmate from Cleveland and self-proclaimed "career criminal," also spoke at the event.
Wade's father went to prison for murder when he was three, and by age seven, his mother was addicted to crack cocaine.
By age 10, Wade was dealing cocaine and regularly smoking marijuana.
Wade's mother eventually became sober, and pressured him to do the same.
"My mother lived in an apartment, but I was paying the rent. "I said to her, ‘How can you tell me how to live my life when I'm paying the bills? I had to raise myself.'"
During an altercation with a gang, Wade was shot seven times, causing him to lose his right eye.
Wade continued to sell drugs despite the attack, eventually becoming convicted for drug trafficking.
Wade said after participating in the FCI rehabilitation program, he's ready to begin a new life and has goals of becoming a social worker.
"I feel like if I had a good role model growing up, these things wouldn't have happened to me," Wade said. "I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me."