Sadly, Madison makes the newspaper of record: “Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football.”


This story appeared on-line a few days ago, and today it hit the print edition. Like many others, I have family and friends in Madison. This hurts all the more knowing that Madison is but one example of the problem (and the tragedy).

Suicides, Drug Addiction and High School Football, by Juliet Macur (NYT)

MADISON, Ind. — An hour’s drive from Louisville, perched along the Ohio River, sits the prettiest little town.

Madison, population 12,000, has won awards for its beauty. Best Main Street. One of the top 20 romantic towns in Indiana. One of 12 distinctive destinations in the United States, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The river walk, down from the main street, is a hot spot for joggers and dog walkers and couples canoodling on benches. In the distance, a soaring bridge that connects Indiana and Kentucky often disappears behind a morning fog.

It’s all a lovely distraction from an open secret. On a reporting trip in July, I learned this in the unlikeliest of places: at Horst’s Little Bakery Haus, a doughnut shop with just a few tables, not far from the river.

A waitress had overheard me interviewing someone at the bakery earlier, and asked if I was a journalist.

She checked over her shoulder to see if anyone was listening. There was an urgency in her whisper as she said: “I lost my son last month. He hung himself from a tree in our yard and shot himself in the head. I cut him down myself, with my own hands. So many suicides.”

She wiped away tears.

“We need your help,” she said.

Madison, in southeastern Indiana, is at the center of a drug-trafficking triangle connecting Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville. It is battling life-or-death problems …