'THIS IS NOT A HOPELESS SITUATION' FORMER METH ADDICT DESCRIBES HIGHS AND LOWS OF DRUG ABUSE

metheffects20n-3-web.jpgBrad Hearon, 30, of Colorado, survived a near-fatal burn accident while cooking meth in his car 10 years ago. After countless surgeries and struggling with his demons, he now says he's in a good place.

By: Erik Ortiz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

PHOTO: Brad Hearon and wife Autumn met at a burn survivors conference. She was burned at school in a chemistry class accident, while Brad Hearon suffered near-fatal burns 10 years ago cooking meth.

The long-lasting high of meth gave way to a life-altering low for addict Brad Hearon.

Ten years ago, Hearon left a party with a friend to cook meth in his El Camino pickup. As the 19-year-old held a pan of ether, his buddy lit a cigarette -- igniting the liquid and setting the inside of the car on fire.

His friend jumped out and left Hearon writhing alone in a vacant Kansas field. It was more than four hours before he was found; his flesh already melted to the bone. He almost died.

"I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anybody," Hearon, 30 and now living in Colorado, told the Daily News. "I went through so many surgeries. I had to learn how to feed myself again. I couldn't do anything by myself."

His extreme experience still happens today in other horrific meth cases across the United States. The drug is wrecking communities and shattering lives at an explosive rate, and continues consuming people from all walks of life -- from a former Connecticut priest dubbed "Monsignor Meth" to Hollywood celebrities.


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