A man named Ben Stevens is walking 411 miles in Mississippi, from Biloxi to Corinth, to help raise awareness about meth addiction. Last week, he set out on his journey, which should be about 10 to 13 miles each day, with an overnight rest and 14 meetings he plans to hold across the state.

Why is He Walking?

Stevens is a former methamphetamine addict himself. He understands the highs and lows of addiction and has also found another life inside of recovery.

As a recovering meth addict, he founded a nonprofit called Families Against Meth (F.A.M.). While educating people on the disease of addiction, he hopes to inspire others and help break the stigma of meth addiction. He knows there are many families that have trouble with getting support because of the stigma.

Total, Stevens expects to walk 411 miles and meet with dozens of families. He also wants to prove to his family that he is serious about his recovery.

“I’m trying to get my wife back. When I was out on my addiction she left me because she’s not an addict, and just trying to get her back. She told me she would think about coming back if I done this, so I’m hoping I can get her back,” he told WBTV.

“And also my daughter, she’s on it, and she promised me if I finished it, she’d quit, so I’m going to do it for them, as well as everybody else.”

Along the way, he is also collecting donations for Broken Lives Ministry, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Is Meth Addiction Common?

Methamphetamine use has been climbing in the past several years in the United States, even as the opioid epidemic gets more attention. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a survey in 2017  revealed that approximately 1.6 million people reported using methamphetamine within the past year, and 774,000 reported using it in the past month. The average age of new meth users in 2016 about 23 years old.

While meth may not be the most prevalent drug of abuse, it’s a common factor in drug overdoses in the United States. Methamphetamine was the fourth most common factor in drug overdoses nationwide in 2019, cited in 13% of overdose deaths. In some parts of the west, the numbers were much higher, ranking first in overdoses and up to 38%.