This is one part of a five part series, "The New Face Of Addiction".
It's an unlikely scenario...police officer turned drug addict.
Former Ludlow police Lieutenant Thomas Foye, who after surgery for a shoulder injury, became hooked on painkillers an addiction that eventually spiraled out of control and led to his arrest.
Police Officer Turned Addict
In August 2013, Foye was sentenced to two years in jail after he was caught "red handed with drugs;" Foye was seen on videotape stealing cocaine and prescription drugs from his department’s evidence room at the Ludlow police station. Foye's fall from grace was an unlikely situation after he built a 26-year career as a police officer, served as a member of an FBI task force, and on a school committee.
WGBH Morning Edition host Bob Seay traveled to the Hampshire County House of Corrections (next to Smith College) in Northampton August 4 to meet up with Foye, who wears a security ankle-bracelet and is under home confinement, until his two-year term ends. He had to receive permission to speak with WGBH from the Sheriff’s department.
An Unlikely Road To Addiction
WGBH’s Seay listened to Foye share his story for nearly an hour, explaining his descent into drug addiction. "The Life that I had lived was full of accomplishments, it was full of family…the good things in life that one would think would immunize you from becoming a drug addict.
Foye has spoken about his addiction at public forums and in a packed courtroom of his peers, family members and relatives when he was sentenced to two years in jail, and five years probation. The fifty-year old Foye pleaded guilty to tampering with substances, two counts of possession of a class B substance (cocaine and Oxycontin) and two counts of larceny of a drug.
Downward Spiral Using Opioids
Foye reflects on his career and his family saying, “ Never in my wildest dreams in my childhood, or even in my adulthood would I ever have thought I would be someone who would be susceptible to that kind of disease. “
Foye spent years interviewing drug addicts, so when he became addicted he was surprised.
“It’s not as though you take your first oxycontin, and you immediately become a drug addict.” He says it’s a slow process as your tolerance develops. Foye likens drug addiction to being on the edge of a cliff.
“You’re not automatically on the edge of the cliff…but eventually with each step you bring yourself closer and closer to the edge of the cliff…and then at some point your sense of choice is taken away and you’re free falling from the cliff,” says Foye.
The New Face Of Addiction
WGBH is initiating a series called, “The New Face Of Addiction,” following reports of increasing opioid overdose deaths and addiction problems, in what’s been called a heroin epidemic in Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker has pledged to help solve the opioid problem in the state, and made it a priority within his administration. He organized an Opioid Task force shortly after taking office, and it has made recommendations on how to tackle the problem
WGBH is reporting on the ongoing opiate addiction problem within law enforcement, addiction treatment centers, recovery programs , insurance costs, and closely analyzes the Governor’s task force recommendations through its action plan.
To listen to WGBH’s interview with former Ludlow police Lt. Tom Foye click on the audio link above.
NEXT: Local police respond to the crisis.