Downward spiral

About a year after trying meth, local teen faces prison

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A year ago, Kassie Dilldine was an 18-year-old college student who had never been in trouble or used drugs.

Today, less than a year after she first smoked methamphetamine, Dilldine is in the Moffat County Jail on charges of possession and distribution of meth.

Dilldine was one of 15 people arrested last month in a drug sweep.

If convicted of distributing meth, the 19-year-old Moffat County High School graduate faces as many as 32 years in prison.

For Dilldine, the prospect of being in jail until she's 50 is terrifying.

"I'm scared to death," she said Thursday during an interview at Moffat County Jail.

For Dilldine's parents, seeing their daughter -- who had never been in trouble before -- succumb to meth addiction and get sent to jail is a horrible shock.

"We felt blindsided," Matthew Dilldine, Kassie's father, said of his daughter's December arrest.

'Regret every minute'

By all accounts, Kassie Dilldine was a model citizen before she used meth.

She was active in her church and was an athletic trainer at the high school.

Her dad said her friends sometimes called her a "square" because she didn't party like other teens.

Kassie Dilldine said she never did drugs or drank during high school.

But in February, while she was at college in Rangely, she smoked meth with some of her friends.

She said she isn't really sure why she did meth, other than she felt pressured to by friends.

"It's hard to say why we do the things we do," she said.

Although some meth addicts say the first time they smoke produces the ultimate euphoria, that wasn't the case for Dilldine, she said.

"It wasn't really that big of a deal," she said.

Although the first time she used meth was forgettable, Dilldine said she considers it one of the worst decisions she has made.

"I regret every minute of it," she said.

Dilldine said she didn't use meth again until the summer.

From then on, she was hooked.

She said she used until October, when she was arrested for the first time on meth charges.

She hated being on the drug and hated being around meth addicts, she said. But the drug had a hold of her, and she continued to use.

"The drug is so powerful it makes you think more is what you need," she said. "But it's not, that's just the drug talking."

Dilldine said she had been clean since October.

She was getting treatment and had reaffirmed her Catholic faith, she said.

When police arrested her in December, it was for a drug sale they say she made Sept. 28.

A judge told Dilldine at a hearing this week that the charges against her are in part based on the testimony of an informant.

'Terminally ill'

When Dilldine's parents found during the summer that their daughter was a meth addict, they were devastated.

"It's almost like a child dying," Kandee Dilldine, Kas-sie's mother, said.

Finding out that Kassie was hooked on meth was like finding out she was terminally ill, her parents said.

The family found out about Kassie's drug use through the grapevine, Matthew Dilldine said.

When the family found out, they were devastated, but it wasn't a total shock.

Kassie was withdrawn from the family and didn't seem like herself for weeks before, her mother said.

Kandee Dilldine said she confronted Kassie about her meth use, but her daughter denied it.

Kandee had her daughter take a drug test. Kassie avoided taking the test for two days and passed.

Her parents say she avoided taking the test so the drugs would be out of her system when she took the test.

But in October, Kassie was arrested on meth possession charges and her parents had no doubt their daughter was using drugs.

After her first arrest, Kassie started getting treatment for drug use and seemed to be getting better, her parents said.

Although Kassie was getting better, her parents said she still didn't seem like herself.

The only bright side about Kassie being in jail is that her parents know she can't use, Kandee Dilldine said.

Not herself

Kassie Dilldine said she isn't the same person who was hooked on meth a few months ago.

It's hard for her to believe that her life spun out of control in less than a year and now she's facing serious prison time.

"It feels like a big dream," she said.

Dilldine was studying to become a nurse. She wanted to work with premature babies.

But now, with three felony charges in front of her, she isn't sure those dreams will come true.

"Most nursing programs don't accept people with felonies," she said.

Dilldine said she hopes people realize her meth addiction was just a short phase in her life.

"I hope people don't judge me for this," she said.

You can't try meth

Kassie's parents said they hope other people can learn from their daughter's struggles.

If a good kid with a bright future and a supportive family like Kassie can fall into addiction, anyone can, they said.

Matthew and Kandee Dilldine are now going to a support group for the families of meth addicts.

Parents need to explain to their kids that drugs, especially meth, can take over their lives in a short time, they said.

"This drug is devastating for the people who do it, on their family members and on the community," Matthew Dilldine said.

Meth is in no way a recreational drug, her parents said.

"This is something you can't 'try,'" Kandee Dilldine said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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