Warning from the heart; Pupils told to avoid all drugs
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 3 October 1997
When Bob Wiggins was 11 years old, his mother startled him by issuing a stern warning against drugs.
"Bobby Wiggins, if you ever take drugs, you'll die," she said.
Two years later, after watching his older brother smoke marijuana and seeing nothing worse than bloodshot eyes as a result, Wiggins tried it himself.
It was the first step in a 14-year drug habit that came close to ending his life, said Wiggins.
The habit ended up taking his brother's life: Wiggins' sibling died of drug-induced heart failure at the age of 32, Wiggins said.
NOW A COUNSELOR
Wiggins, a drug rehabilitation counselor with Narconon in Everett who kicked the drug habit in 1977, spoke yesterday to seventh- and eighth-grade students at Southeast Elementary School.
His talk was sponsored by BankBoston.
After the presentation, one student asked Wiggins why, if marijuana is a harmful substance, it is used for medicinal purposes.
"It numbs your body, so it temporarily numbs the pain," replied Wiggins, noting that people with AIDS, cancer and glaucoma sometimes use the drug as a painkiller.
But he said the drug also breaks down the immune system. "It makes every one of those things worse," he said.
Several students said, following the talk, that anti-drug messages such as Wiggins' help keep students off drugs.
Some students still will not listen, they said.