Local News

Cocaine Addiction Catching Up with Alcoholism, Counselors Say

Posted January 1, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— The death of a Raleigh man who was shot by police earlier this week is a stark reminder that not all cocaine addicts fit one neat profile. The victim was a clean-cut family man; the father of five. But drug abuse counselors say cocaine addiction cuts across all classes and cultures.

When Wake County's Alcoholism Treatment Center opened 21 years ago, most of its patients suffered from alcoholism alone. Now, the center's chief doctor says at least half of the patients are addicted to cocaine, and that those addicts come from all walks of life.

Like all cocaine addicts, Ed Anderson had three options: treatment, jail or eventual death. He exhausted the first two. Before police shot him to death Monday night, Ed Anderson had been in treatment twice, he'd lost his license for driving while impaired, and he had a record for cocaine possesion. His wife, Eileen Anderson, says he was constantly fighting the addiction.

To many, this Mormon husband and father doesn't "look like" a crack addict, but Dr. John Howie of Wake's Alcoholism Treatment Center says many addicts don't fit the stereotype.

Mike Daniels served four years for robbing a convenience store outside Wilmington in the late 80's.

Now Daniels works for the prison counseling other addicts. He says he understands Ed Anderson's plight.

Eileen Anderson loved her husband but hated his cocaine use. When police showed up on her doorstep, she says she was hurt but not shocked.

The Mormon Church which Ed Anderson attended has set up a fund to care for his family. Donations may be sent to: Coastal Federal Credit Union Edward Anderson Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 58429, Raleigh, NC 27658

Anderson's children range in age from two months to 12 years.