Weatherford Democrat

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February 3, 2013

DEADLY DOPE: Heroin deaths hit Weatherford hard

A story of three local men whose addictions cost them their lives

First in a series

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Jay Menefee was a proud father of two young children with an aptitude for mechanical work.

Michael Lowrance was a professional welder and a gifted artist.

Sean Briggs was a devoted uncle attending Weatherford College with plans to get a degree in psychology to help others.

But last fall, the three 24-year-old men, who at one point attended Weatherford High School together, lost their battle with drug addiction, dying of heroin-related causes within a month of each other.

Each man fought a drug addiction for years, beginning in their teens, the families and those close to the men say. Several family and friends noted that the men had other friends around their age who also died of similar causes in recent years and don’t believe the problem is being adequately addressed locally.

Though heroin isn’t one of the most commonly used drugs, experts say it is one of the most dangerous, often quickly leading to addiction and even death.

At least four other deaths in Parker County during 2012 were attributed to heroin-related causes, according to public Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office records. 

Jay Menefee

Jay Menefee was a proud father, a hard worker and a talented man with much potential, according to those close to him during the last years of his life.

He had two preschool age children living in Weatherford and those who had recently lived with him described him as a jovial, pleasant man to be around.

“Jay had loads of personality,” said James Knight, the house manager where Menefee stayed for six months in an attempt to overcome his addiction, describing Menefee as easy to get along with.

Menefee was also a talented artist who had received a full scholarship to Texas Wesleyan University but those close to him said his substance abuse prevented that.

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