wweek.om readers speak on… “Saving Ryan”
"…I found the article somewhat glorif[ying] life as a junkie. Even the mugshots of Ryan were not that unflattering. Between the sympathetic judge, easy access to premium drugs, lax drug laws and incredible highs, being a junkie sounds almost doable for the average citizen. Nowhere were readers given the impression Ryan's life was ravaged or otherwise turned inside out as drugs are known to do. Then again, deterrence may not have been one of the objectives when writing the article." —Kate
"Although I found the article interesting, I have to agree with Kate. The attached images on Ryan make him look more like a hipster strolling through Powell's books on his break from the coffee shop, rather than a drug addict." —Anne
"Life as a junkie 'glorified'? The guy's homeless. The only food he has is what he gets from a handout or a dumpster. He has no safe place to sleep, wash, or store his possessions. He spends quality time in a quality jail cell. If he doesn't get his fix, he gets violently sick. He risks getting God knows what disease by using discarded needles. Not a pretty picture. It'd be hard to paint a more ugly picture of life than that. Think about it." —Eco2geek
"While Ryan has perfected a look, I don't think the article glorified the lifestyle of a junkie. Heroin addiction is not as obvious as that of a tweaked-out meth head who is slowly marching toward death one open sore at a time. Heroin addicts often maintain quite well in society for a period of time...but they are ending up dead in increasing numbers in Portland. Quite a few have been college students who, no doubt, momentarily found a certain appeal to looking like a cast member from Rent. I'm sure the glamour wears thin very quickly. If treatment fails, give Ryan another year. ..if he is still alive, the twinkle left in his hipster eyes will sadly be a memory." —Mandy
"…do you really want to see horrendous mugshots just to prove that he's an addict? I don't even know Ryan but I am glad to see the improvement on his photos, which means there could be a chance that he can turn his life around with some help.
There are so many Ryans out there who definitely need help…obviously, he LOVED what he felt for the first time and got hooked on it. We shouldn't be judgmental…send a blessing to all the Ryans out there, because we have no idea what they are going through." —Ellehcim
Clarification: The financial terms of Portland Public Schools' settlement agreements ("Pay Slip," Sept. 15) with teachers are public record and not "secret." The allegations leading to the settlements, however, are confidential personnel matters.