Sad saga had tragic ending

When you read the story behind the tragic public suicide of Custer County resident Christopher White you have to wonder how many ways this all could have been prevented.
Denied his prescription pain meds he had been taking for over two decades, desperation must have driven White to allegedly rob a Rapid City pharmacy at gunpoint and demand prescription drugs. He must have been experiencing an unimaginable level of pain and/or addiction with no recourse, in his mind.
We know that his old doctor retired and that his new doctor did not deem it necessary for him to continue on pain medication. We do know that he was no longer able to obtain these pain meds that had kept him going for so many years.
Over 20 years ago it was reported White had spinal surgery which required pain medications. Then years later, he had two shoulder surgeries and a pickup accident involving a shoulder injury once again. In all these incidents involving spine surgery and shoulder injuries, pain medications had been prescribed. 
It has long been proven that patients often get hooked on these prescribed pain mediations and rely on them to get through the day. It is not a stretch to surmise that White had become addicted to pain medications and had a need for them to function in the workplace and society in general.
We don’t know if White ever sought professional treatment for his addiction or if others had tried to intervene on his behalf. We do know that this addiction ultimately led to his alleged crime, capture and decision to tragically end his own life rather than go to prison for armed robbery.
We can imagine what was going through the minds of Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley and his fellow law enforcement officers during the three and a half hour standoff with White on Mount Rushmore Road. They needed to keep themselves safe because they were not sure what White was going to do.
At the same time, they were trying to keep White safe and convince him the best course of action for everyone was to give himself up. We can’t imagine the heartache and anguish these officers experienced when White decided to pull the trigger. Sadly, desperation and drugs won out in the end.
We commend Sheriff Mechaley and his fellow law enforcement officers for their ultimate professionalism in handling a difficult situation by the book. Others were kept safe while this unfortunate drama unfolded in the middle of Custer City.
We can chalk this one up to another victim succumbing to the opiate and prescription drug addiction problems we are facing in South Dakota and the nation. Another citizen has been lost to addiction, and, to make matters worse, this time he was one of our own.  

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