LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - While politicians and public health experts continue searching for ways to slow down the opioid epidemic, a North Little Rock man wants to be part of the solution, in whatever small way he can.
“You know, all these kids are OD’ing on this Fentanyl and this heroin stuff now, it’s really coming to light that kids are dying, and it’s on drugs,” Scott Diffee said.
A spur-of-the-moment Facebook post got him more involved in the fight against drug abuse than he had anticipated.
“I was just having coffee,” Diffee recalled, “going, you know, I’ve seen another person OD’d, another funeral.”
He wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that he would offer a tattoo worth $100 to anyone who came into his store, The Parlor, to flush away his/her drugs. By Wednesday evening, more than 8,000 people had shared the post.
“You’re getting these stories, and, like, young guys are, like, in these little counties that have nothing, you know,” he said. “And dope makes them feel like they have something, and they don’t, and they know it. And they’re like, ‘man, coming from a guy like you, that has made my day.’”
Diffee said he knows from personal experience the grip that drugs can have on a user. He knows that flushing drugs down the toilet is a bad idea, but the spirit of the offer is what he cares about.
“Just to be with someone when you do that is really important,” he explained, “because, I’ve dumped dope many times, by myself. And it’s a hard thing.”
After 25 years of creating tattoos, Diffee said he believes it would help a recovering drug user in two ways. There is the permanence of the design, the lasting reminder that the recovering addict will always see on his/her body.
“I’ll put a little skull on you with an eye ball,” he joked, “and say, hey, keep an eye on you all the time, so you need to do the right thing.”
Diffee added that the bonding that takes place during their hour together getting inked might be just as important. He claimed that getting a tattoo is a very personal experience, and the camaraderie that is developed during that time could change the life of someone who otherwise feels lost.
The physical touch, the closeness, and the pain involved might, “give them a sense of hope, give them a sense of pride, and give them a sense of new birth,” Diffee said. “You know, it’s okay to say I’ve…you didn’t fail. You just, you had to mess up so you could learn.”
After giving the recovering user a tattoo, Diffee said he wants the other half of his life—music—to become part of theirs, as well. He has a performance venue in the back of his business, and hopes that including the recovering addict in that community will give them a greater sense of optimism.
“And I know a lot of people that’s had to go to the depths of addiction and stuff, to get to the bottom to where they could see the top,” he said. “And then, now, they appreciate their sobriety so much.
“I hope I have a yearly party here one day, that everyone in here has been touched by that Facebook post, and is touched by the gesture. And I hope I see 500 people, one day, that have gotten clean from that.”
Diffee said he wants to do this in a legal, helpful way. He started talking with local law enforcement about partnering with them to make it happen. “If a good old boy like me can make a difference,” he stated, “so can you. And I’m just trying to make a difference.”
Despite the attention Diffee’s Facebook post has received, he is still waiting for the first person to come in and accept his offer. But he promises to give them both a tattoo and a friend.
“And if you ever get weak, or you ever get tempted, look at that tattoo,” he said. “You’ve got my phone number, you got my card, give me a shout. Remember what we talked about when you got that tattoo, and remember what it took to get you to that point of getting that tattoo.”
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