As unsettling as it is to think about, we must never forget how harmful drug addiction can be. When used over prolonged periods of time, drugs have the power to transform people — and almost always in a tragic way.

Take the case of Matthew Medlin, an attractive young man with his whole life ahead of him. But his drug problems over the course of 14 years made his life take a turn for the worst. What follows is a cautionary tale about the horrors of methamphetamine addiction.

Matthew Medlin was 18 years old when he was arrested for the first time in 2002. Even in his mugshot, he was so good-looking that he could have been a model.

meth-1The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

This would be just one of many run-ins with the law for Matthew, who would be arrested for a variety of minor crimes, mostly related to drug use.

real 2KSBW / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

It’s clear from these photos that the methamphetamine use terribly affected his body over the years.

meth bw 1 and 2KSBW / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

The sores on his face are common to those who regularly abuse meth.

meth-2The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

This mugshot was taken six years after Matthew was first arrested for the first time — he looks like an entirely different man. There’s no question that he was addicted to stimulants. His eyes make it clear that he hadn’t slept in a long time, and it’s evident from his gaunt face that meth’s ability to suppress one’s appetite had taken effect. That’s to say nothing of the face tattoos.

meth-3The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Interestingly, he appeared healthier after spending time in jail, likely because they forced him to eat and sleep.

meth bw 2 and 3KSBW / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Sadly, each time he got out of jail, he resumed his meth use, and once again would have conflicts with the police.

meth-4The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

In 2013 alone, he was arrested on three separate occasions.

meth bw 4 and 5KSBW / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

The more he used meth, the more the sores would return to his face.

after bw 4 and 5KSBW / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

He was arrested again in 2013, and was eventually convicted and sent to jail for sexual abuse, burglary, and assault. By this time, he had strange face paint and a disheveled appearance.

meth-5The Sun / Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Just six days before he was scheduled to be released in 2014, Matthew escaped the prison by climbing the fence.

meth-6KOIN 6 News

After only 10 hours of freedom, Matthew was apprehended at a Jack In The Box restaurant. He was convicted of second degree escape and returned to prison.

meth-7Flickr / Rojer

Even after his release in 2015, he couldn’t manage to stay out of prison.

meth-8The Sun / Montnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Most recently, Matthew was arrested for trying to hop trains. Fueled by the meth pumping through his veins, he lobbed scrap metal and rocks in a four-hour standoff with police.

meth-9Flickr / v-neck

After a barrage of tasers and rubber bullets, the police took him back to jail with misdemeanor charges. Yet once again, he has been released.

meth-10The Sun / Montnomah County Sheriff’s Office

One could only hope that Matthew will have the kind of major life change that Shanna White had after eight years of meth addiction. With the help of her family, she stopped taking drugs and got her life back on track.

meth-11Facebook / Shanna White

To mark six years of sobriety, she posted this message for people suffering from addiction: “If you are still in the midst of this ugly nightmare please know there is hope. You too can beat this and have a beautiful life. It is NEVER too late. Forgive yourself and know that you are worthy!”

meth-12Facebook / Shanna White

Matthew has not had an easy life. But as Shanna White proves, there is always hope to get better!