I was raised to believe that we are innocent until proven guilty in America. On July 4, of last year, I was treated as guilty, before proven innocent.

On that day, I was stopped for a traffic violation. The officer asked if he could search my car. I was completely sober and told him to go ahead. I was confident that I had nothing illegal in my car. I had various medications in my possession as a result of surgery but no cocaine, meth, marijuana, etc. The officer found some Prilosec in an unlabeled container and told me it was considered a dangerous drug. He had already called for back up and proceeded to arrest me. I'm a senior citizen and have never been to jail. I couldn't believe that I was there because of an unmarked bottle of Prilosec!

I was handcuffed and when we arrived at jail, I was strip searched. Since it was July 4, I couldn't bond out until the next day. The next morning I was taken to see the judge in shackles. He declared a bond of $3,000 dollars. I was broke, as a result of my surgery. I had a little money to pay my bail bondsman, but had to pawn some jewelry to get my car out of impound. I finally paid off my bondsman just a few months ago.

The worst part was having my name in the paper for possession of a dangerous drug. My reputation was damaged and I felt like I was guilty in the eyes of the public. The charges were finally dropped because Prilosec is not a dangerous drug. It is for acid reflux.

I texted my son, a policeman in Tillamook, Oregon, and told him of my experience. At first he thought I was kidding. I asked him if I was still in America. He said mom, you're in Texas!

Barbara Fowler

Brownwood