Dunklin Co. man lends face, story to Nat'l anti-meth campaign

By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email
PORTAGEVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Josh Palmer, 32, is a soft-spoken guy.  When I sat down to talk with him at the Family Counseling Center in Portageville Thursday morning, I had to lean in to catch all his comments.  But, that effort is worth it to hear what Palmer has to say, and now his message is being heard nationwide.
"It was bigger than I thought it was gonna be," Palmer tells me with a laugh.  He's talking about the national media campaign bearing his face and story.  It comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. 
"Are we making strides in the fight against meth?  Absolutely," the ad reads.  Just under that headline, you'll find Palmer's picture and a brief rundown of his battle with meth.
"It's a humbling experience," Palmer says of being part of the ad, which is currently featured in the October issue of TIME MAGAZINE and other national publications. 
"It feels good.  Hopefully it will give other people hope that, if they're strung out on dope and they're high and they're tired, that they can change and life is better."
"He's not a media hog," says Drug Court Coordinator Anna Patterson. "His motives are to help others."   
She calls Palmer her first successful drug court client.  Palmer is now a counselor for the Family Counseling Center and Patterson is his supervisor. 
I got the chance to sit in on part of Palmer's group counseling session Thursday morning.  You can tell that the group members respect Palmer.  Two of them tell me they want to be like him. 
"I was selfish in my addiction," Palmer tells his clients.  "If I want to stay sober, I have to be selfish in my recovery."
Palmer admits some family members did not want him to be part of the national ad campaign, but he says there's a "purpose and reason for everything." 
"It if reaches that one person and changes that one person's life and they get their family back and their kids back, it's worth it."

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