Mississippi College

Chapel Program at Mississippi College Spotlights Dangers of Drug Abuse

January 23, 2013

Andy Taggart and his wife, Karen, warned Mississippi College students about the dangers of using illegal drugs as they spoke from the heart about the suicide of their son, Brad.

“I’ve lost my mind due to drugs,” 21-year-old Brad Taggart wrote in his suicide note left before his death outside his home in rural Madison County on July 10, 2012. “My attention span is about ten seconds. I’m falling into a psychosis.”

In the note that a teary-eyed Karen Taggart read to hundreds of MC students at chapel services Tuesday, Brad Taggart’s slippery slope with illegal drugs began with marijuana, then moved to LSD and cocaine.

In the months leading up to his death, Andy and Karen Taggart, their two other sons and Brad’s friends didn’t have a clue about the serious crisis he was facing.

A Mississippi College trustee and attorney, Taggart  and his wife, Karen, want students to learn from their harrowing experience in 2012, and their never-ending grief as parents.

They urged students to tell people about the dangers of drug abuse and how it can ruin lives. “There is no ceasefire with the enemy,” Taggart said from the podium as nearly 1,000 students looked on at First Baptist Church Clinton.

Because of her son’s death, people are starting to listen, Karen Taggart said. “I stand here because of the hope I have in Jesus.”

Brad Taggart was a hunter, fisherman, archer, and good-natured University of Mississippi student making plans to transfer to MC before the tragedy occurred.

“Satan picked our son,” Andy Taggart said. “His faith was not mature enough.”

Brad believed he would do drugs for a time and move on, his father said.

After the Taggarts left the stage with their powerful message, Vice President For Christian Development Eric Pratt urged students to grasp a hold of Jesus Christ “no matter what is going on” in their lives.

As they walked quietly outside First Baptist Church, MC students said the emotional address by the MC graduates touched them deeply.

“It was very inspiring,” said MC junior Cristine Moody, a future teacher from Star, Mississippi. She said she hopes their message will encourage students to reach out to anybody that needs help. “It’s important to invest in a friend.”

A freshman from Jackson, Ter’Bria Hopkins said students facing obstacles should “always keep steadfast and go to God about it.”

A nursing student and Jim Hill High graduate, Hopkins added that people should “never let the devil come in to destroy what God has put you on Earth for. Always have faith in Him.”

Gideon Rossman, a Mississippi College junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said the Taggarts’ message was a strong wake-up call to students at the Christian university. Oftentimes, students and others “put on a fake persona saying everything is OK,” he said.

The 6’7”-tall Brad Taggart was a follower of Christ and a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church of Madison. He graduated from Madison Central High with honors.

“Satan dealt our family a body blow,” said Andy Taggart, a former student body president at Mississippi College and a co-author of two books on Mississippi politics. “We are still deeply wounded.”

Photo: Andy Taggart

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