Here’s what I know about the 7-4-0

In answer to the question posed in the post below by the guys at RWR (Raw Word Revival) from Portsmouth, Ohio, I’ll say I’ve been many places as a reporter. Seen a lot. Talked to governors and gang members. I’ve been to a town where everyone’s a pimp and a town where everyone’s a popsicle-maker.

But until I went to Portsmouth…

I’d never been to an NA meeting.

I’d never seen a Medicaid card.

I’d never seen the Ohio River.

I’d never seen a shoelace factory or a white ghetto.

I’d never known you could buy a car with pain pills.

I’d never known you could buy a T-bone steak with pain pills.

I’d never known you could buy clean urine with pain pills.

I’d never known people kept Red Belly Piranhas as pets.

I’d never seen so many people try so hard to rid themselves of a plague.

I’d never seen but one other town with the same heart to try to come back from so far down.

And thus I’d never been so proud to be an American.

So, my hat’s off. Keep working the program, Portsmouth!

Anything else you’ve seen in Portsmouth? Tell me the story. Tell me your story. Put it in Comments.


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More posts from True Tales: A Reporter’s Blog:

What the hell you know about the 740?

One Day in Compton: A True Tale

The Mexican Mafia and La Familia Michoacana

California prison hunger strike: How one gang member sees it


Filed under Culture, Drugs, Global Economy, Streets, The Heroin Heartland

17 Responses to Here’s what I know about the 7-4-0

  1. Lora Kittles

    I lost my baby sister who was 31 in December 2009 to a drug OD. I thought my family would never recover. Then unbelievably, in April 2013 I lost my older brother who was 42 to an OD. I lost my job of 18+ years due to my inability to cope and work. So in 4 years, I lost my sister, my brother and my income. Life is hard but God has a purpose in my life!

  2. Ashley C

    I have lived in Scioto county most of my life. Here is what I know. Yes you can get help if you have children but only if you gave them away to get stoned. when a druggie gets out of prison or jail they are awarded with a place to stay food stamps and cash also help with getting a job. But the ones who don’t do any drugs and raise there children rather than a handing them off don’t get any help what so ever. all the Damn druggies use it up. can’t even get a job because you can pay the druggies under the table or less then min. wage. This county has went to hell in a hand basket. It use to be nice.

    • Nathan "Nate" Payton

      I would have to say that you my friend are wrong in saying that there is no help for a non addict out there. I will however say that because we recovering addicts are a naturally diligent and goal oriented people that we will strive a little bit harder to obtain the help we need to make our life better. So my suggestion to you is to maybe ask a recovering addict how and where they got their help and stop being so judgmental, and get your facts straight. Your comments are those of ignorance. You can feel free to contact me and id be more than willing to assist you in your search for help.

  3. M

    Honestly some of you are giving Portsmouth more credit than it’s due! You can’t leave the house alone without fear of coming up missing to never be heard from again. So many young adults are found murdered, or never found at all, many say it’s from addiction but what about the man killed over a lawnmower, or by the drunk driver that fled the scene? What happens to these cold cases? Why are they never solved? Why are so many missing women never found? They blame drugs & prostitution and never solve their cases because no one is making them do their jobs. Why is it when the cops finally bust a drug house half the drugs never make it to the station to be filed, where did they go? Why is it you can call the cops about the meth house on the block & they even admit to knowing about it, but they never bust them? ( they claim they have to be in the act of cooking it to bust them?!really!) The reason this town will never get better is because most the big dogs running this town are corrupt, until you rid the town of them you will never get that change some of us want for future generations!

    • I agree. It is a shame when you know that there is some lawyers (one in particular) runs drugs himself and has a prostitute ring yet he goes into court like he is against it all. That is why most of the druggies and drug dealers get him for their lawyer cause they know they will get off.

  4. I’m national award winning journalist MJ Brickey. If you knew where I was not even 10 years-ago — in the 740 — and could see where I am now, your mind would be blown wide open.

  5. Rhonda

    My daughter is an addict in early recovery. She was in the top 10 of her graduating class, and on the dean’s list at SSU…until the dope got to her. She went from pain pills, to heroin, to meth. We have been thru hell and back. She got busted and sent to jail. I have lived here all my life, but have learned a lot in the the past 5 years. Maybe I never paid enough attention, maybe I was just to busy trying to work to survive. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe that things were so bad in our town. I have learned not only about addiction and what it does to people and families, but I have also learned about a judicial system that isn’t always above board. I have learned that some of the “powers that be” in our little town really don’t want things to change. It’s been a real eye opener. I have learned that some really don’t care if people go missing, if people are dying. It’s all about the money. I have seen and experienced the people that hold important positions are sometimes like the addicts, they will do anything to keep THEIR power over our community alive. Don’t get me wrong…there are some very good people in this town…but when it comes to some of our so called leaders and pillars of the community, those in the judicial system, law enforcement, treatment facilities, government…well let’s just say that things and people aren’t always what they seem. It would take a miracle to change some things in our little town

  6. Ashley

    My husband and I are both from Portsmouth and got out of there as fast as we could. Very few places that offer good jobs and the majority of the county is on welfare. A lot of people that do have good jobs drive quite a ways to surrounding areas for work (Huntington, Ashland, Chillicothe, Columbus, etc.) I miss my family that is still there and I wish that I could have lived closer, but I saw Portsmouth as a self-sabotaging town for as long as I can remember. I didn’t want to spend my days driving a total of 2-4 hours in work commute alone. The town as a whole is depressed and there is no productivity, so people turn to drugs. I would love to see it change for the better, but unless some serious work/industry moves I there, it’ll stay the same.

  7. Shorty

    I was born n raised in the streets if Portsmouth both parents loved me very much but couldn’t kick there addictions to raise me I was bounced around all over til a woman who was a social worker took me in I still chose to run the streets deal in every drug there is and bounced around for a while doing this then I got pregnant I was unable to stop so my son was taken from me n I went to treatment immediately after five weeks of treatment my father was shot and killed robbing theCarry out I’ve been to the bottom of nowhere and nothing and pulled myself out with the help of a very large strong and loving support group I know how to survive but more than that I now know how to thrive I’m grateful for today and for the peace and serenity ive found but trust me I AM the 740 it’s a whole different world here but if your from here and haven’t been many other places you don’t know that there’s a while lot of shady in my town in the courts and everywhere but there’s also a whole lot of good and there’s no other recovery community like ours

  8. oh and 740 is our area code btw

  9. well i am living proof that recovery works and i am grateful to be alive today and living in the solution and not the problem i was in my early 20’s when i was in a car wreck and it messed me up really bad hence came the pills at the same time i was getting a divorce and trying to raise 2 children and had no clue how to do it i meet people in this town that showed me how to survive and be able to keep a roof over my kids heads and i was not always proud of what i had to do as are the many that live here in this town and many town in america today but as long as you are liveing in the solution of recovery you can make it if god brought you to it he will bring you through it i was raped twice and been in abusive relationships if you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes don’t be so quick to judge them i have watched people go from living in the hell of addicton and alcholism and become counselors real parents to their children productive members of society times are hard the government says that this recession has been about the same as the depression well they boot leged moonshine to keep the family farms and feed their children then and by the way you took some of the worst pictures of our town that you possibly could have it’s ok to share the message of our town but don’t make it worse that it is in other peoples eyes there are alot of hard working church going people that live here in portsmouth and i have seen alot of true miracles come from the treatment centers here matter of fact i am one of them i have 2 beautiful children and wonderful grandauthers yes i have 2 one by blood and another by love god has kept me alive for a reason when the have been telling me for over 10 years that i should get my things in order i’m still here and i think it’s because i have a big mouth that i use for recovery the solution not the problem next time you are in p town why don’t you take a picture of the murals that people from all over come to see and river days and the scioto county fair there is alot of good that goes on here in this town along with the bad our small town welcomes everyone to our recovery community as the treatment centers here have clients from all over the state of ohio perhaps your next article about my town could be about some of the wonderful things that are happening here and not all of the negative how can you talk about what out town is doing to try to change things with out talking about what they are doing to change things we also have community development trying to take a intrest in our town but somehow the councle always manages to keep it out there is great potential with the river bank but they keep out the gambleing well ok so that means the problems that are already here would come ok did you stop and think about all the jobs that would come it was placed on the ballot to make people think they voted yes when it was actually a no vote now how dishonest is that it’s not just the drugs it’s the governing peeps also perhaps next time you come to p town you can report about all the industry comeing back to our town and the herion leaving out god bless stay in the solution peace out oh and by the way i have had the pleasure of over the past 18 or so years of my life to see and be a part of a wonderful recovery community and yes they will tell you like it is it has saved my life and many others just for today

  10. Nathan "Nate" Payton

    Sam I’d like to thank you for coming to our small corner of the world and getting our story out there. Yes. This town itself is like an addict. For too long the politics, the economy, and the citizens had ran with reckless abandon until ran into the ground , and there met her “bottom”. Once the spotlight was put on her she was able to see herself and get the help she needed. No longer does this have to be a “junkies town”, or “drug infested”, or any number of ill fitting terms one could give to a city in such a condition. She is able to slowly climb her way out of this economic down-slide because she got honest with herself. Because she became open-minded to a solution. And because she became willing to apply that solution, she is inching herself back to be the home I grew up in. A place where doors are left unlocked at night. A place where its okay to send your children to the store. A place where I can walk up the street and see more smiles than frowns. It doesn’t come easy. There will be bumps in the road and it will never be flawless. It will get better though. (progress not perfection) My names Nate, and I’m an addict. My story and the stories of many of my fellow addicts are similar to the story of our city. We can/do Recover. Today I am proud, honored, and happy to say that I am living in the solution and not in the problem….with that I pass.

  11. jamie

    I have lived here for 23 years and it is hard to survive out here. i have work since i have been 16 and if u dont have kids or on diablity u cabt get any help and it is so sad. that they will pay mothers to get high off their. children’s food supply by selling they food atamps and getting.a welfare check. but if u pay taxes and.qork for a livibg.then u can’t get any hwlp but at least some of us are still trying. all i can say what di u know about that 740 if u have never been here stayed here. you wouldn’t u only can go by what u hear

    • I used to live in portsmouth ohio from 2000 to 2007 I was married to guy that was from portsmouth we met at mills pride we lived on 7th street my kids and I would watch the drug deals in front of our house houses getting kicked ex husband would always say he could make money off me working the streets I always thought he was joking because I wasn’t a user or a hooker he would always make remarks like he would put me on the streets with my long blonde hair down in a short cut off tank top in a mini skirt come to find out he was in to cokecaine pills and the hookers. My kids and I packed up and left him and we moved back to our home yes I know a lot about the 740

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