Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 – Before It’s Too Late


Before It’s Too Late

Kaileah Yoshimoto

Grade 12

21 November 2020


Before It’s Too Late


Euphoria: a state of intense happiness and self-confidence. It’s the feeling that everyone craves, but only some can reach. To reach euphoria, many people turn to drugs-again and again, ultimately forming an addiction. Drugs such as cocaine, LSD, marijuana, heroin, and bath salts allow you to reach the desired state of intense happiness. Although the high only lasts for a few hours, the effects are everlasting. Long term side effects of drug abuse include hepatitis, lung disease, liver damage, possible overdose, and addiction. Just to name a few. Addiction heavily controls the lives of users. So much that many addicts have to choose between drugs and their family and friends.

Drug use is often glamorized in Hollywood and the music industry, dramatically impacting the youth audience in the choices they make. Without a doubt, all genres of popular music glorify drug abuse. Rap music is well known for its marijuana and drug dealing references. Over time, the context of the references in songs has changed drastically. In early rap music, lyrics described the destructiveness of drugs, but in today’s rap music, drug use is portrayed in a positive light. Drug use in modern society is a sign of wealth, status, and sex appeal. Additionally, the popular lifestyle and the glamorization of the lives of the rich and famous, where drug use and alcohol abuse are common, contributes to the vast acceptance and encouragement of drugs in modern society. The world has lost countless celebrities to drug overdose, yet there are still about 208 million people internationally that continue to consume illicit drugs as they have become trapped by their addiction. Some celebrities that have died from drug overdose include Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Prince, and the list goes on. Drug addiction does not only affect the rich and famous. It affects almost all communities.

Overconsumption of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate. In 2018, 67,367 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. Drug overdose was a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Not to mention, 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017. This number is alarming considering the fact that sixth and seventh graders are struggling with drug addiction. Some users are strong enough to break their drug addiction, but in some cases, their addiction claims their life. It’s time for a change before more lives are shattered. No one should have to lose a loved one to drug addiction. I’d almost lost my cousin to drug addiction, and this is what caused me to open my eyes to this issue.

My cousin struggles with substance abuse and addiction, and he has lost touch with his parents and his siblings. He’d tried multiple times to get better, but he quickly fell back to his bad habits. His relationship with his parents collapsed and our family is facing many difficulties due to this. It broke my heart when I found him in front of our house one morning, sleeping under our Papaya tree. His parents had kicked him out and he had been living on the streets for a while. At this time, I was completely unaware of his drug addiction as his parents had kept this hidden from the rest of the family for years. After talking with him, I had learned that the night before, he was experiencing suicidal thoughts. He was planning on taking his own life. He felt like giving up because he felt that everyone had given up on him. He lost his family, and he had no support system; he felt alone. I do my best to let him know that I truly care and that I am always going to be there for him. At the end of the day, he is a good person that made bad decisions. He has the potential to go places and be successful, but drugs have taken over his life as he’s become highly dependent on them.

It’s important to thoroughly consider how the decisions you make will affect you in the future. It’s crucial to think about all the consequences that your decisions will have on you, both good and bad. You’re one bad decision away from a different life. One bad decision can ruin your life, as well as the lives of the ones you hold dearest to your heart. Yes, the temporary happiness and ease of pain is tempting, but is it worth wounding your well-being and relationship with your family?

It is beyond all doubt that drug addiction is an issue that needs more attention and awareness since it affects almost everyone. It affects all communities, both rich and poor. It is not only a nationwide problem but a worldwide problem. Moreover, drug addiction affects not just the addict, but their parents, siblings, grandparents, coaches, and so forth. Some people have the strength to break their addiction, while many lose their lives to their addiction. Spreading awareness could be the first step to lowering the numbers of drug addiction and drug overdose. It could prevent the next generation from making the same mistakes as the previous. It’s time to make a change and spread awareness before it’s too late.