National News

Police sergeant uses personal pain to steer students away from drugs

Posted January 31, 2018 11:04 a.m. EST

— Shiawassee County Sergeant Doug Chapman isn't coming into the schools with a big presentation. Rather, he's hoping his personal story will be enough for the students to take the dangers of opioids and other drugs seriously.

"Even being a police officer and all the training I had over the years, I didn't know anything about heroin really, other than what it looked like," he told the Durand Area High School students Tuesday.

He explained the drug crept into his life and his community over the last few years as it became the next fix for prescription drug addicts.

"On October 30, 2016, I lost a stepdaughter to a heroin overdose," he told the students.

Sgt. Chapman shared with the Durand high schoolers that Meghan's addiction started when she was prescribed pain meds after she got her wisdom teeth removed.

"I started noticing things," he said. "Staying in the bathroom for long periods of time, I'm talking 45 minutes at a time. I'm going 'what's up with that'? So I confronted her and said 'what's going on'. 'Oh I'm fine. I'm fine,'" he said.

Their family tried to get her help, but Sgt. Chapman said nothing worked.

"There is nothing worse on earth than losing a child or a sibling. And how could I have prevented it? I felt guilty because I'm a police officer. I should know what to do," he said.

Since Meghan's death Sgt. Chapman has been using his pain to learn more. He's a key member of the County's Drug Court team and now taking a panel of professionals to talk to students throughout the County.

"Not only letting kids know the dangers, but also if there's family members in the household that have addictions... We handle all of that," he said.

His main message is he's there to help.

"What's our job as law enforcement? To save lives, thats our job," Sgt. Chapman said.

Right now, the panel is speaking to 8th grade and up. But Sgt. Chapman said they might look at starting at the lower grades soon.

To follow his family's work as they continue to honor Meghan, click on the 'related links' section of this story.