Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Being Drug Free Can Lead to Your Dream Job

Name: Matthew A Gardner
From: Tukwila, WA
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Being Drug Free Can Lead to Your Dream Job

Being Drug Free Can Lead to Your Dream Job

Matthew Gardner Essay


Being Drug Free Can Lead to Your Dream Job


I have completed two advanced scuba diving certifications. During my first class, my mom had some ear pressure and wanted to ease the pain by taking a Sudafed. Her doctor gave her the medication before our trip to help if she felt pain from having a cancerous tumor recently removed. But the diving instructors told her not to because if the medication wore off while she was underwater her eardrums could burst. 


I was hiking through a tropical rainforest, covered in DEET but I still managed to get bit by countless mosquitos. I knew I was allergic to mosquitos, but I never felt lightheaded and like my throat was closing up before. I ended up passing out in the back of the tour van while the driver sped to the Pharmacia to get me Benadryl and Calamine Lotion. I now have to carry an epi-pen.


In these two situations, drugs were involved. They were administered to prevent pain or to save a life. They were also given based on a doctor’s or pharmacist’s recommendation and not for recreational purposes.


My goal is to find a career in law enforcement, specifically with the FBI. In order to make this goal a reality, remaining drug and alcohol free will be really important. In fact, it can determine if I can even apply for the job. According to the website, “Candidates cannot have used any illegal drug, other than marijuana, within the ten (10) years preceding the date of the application for employment.” And, for marijuana, which is legal in Washington State, “Candidates cannot have used marijuana within the three (3) years preceding the date of their application for employment, regardless of the location of use (even if marijuana usage is legal in the candidate’s home state).” The FBI feels that maintaining a drug-free workplace supports the “public integrity necessary to accomplish its law enforcement and intelligence missions.” Not using drugs or alcohol is worth it to get my dream job with the FBI.


I have no real desire to try drugs or alcohol, so making the choice to not use them to maintain my career path is an easy decision for me. And, according to data, I am not alone in not wanting to drink or use drugs. Research shows, “Over the past 15 years, teen alcohol use has been declining for the most part,” (Pyhtila, 2020). And, even among those who drink, “New data show that U.S. alcohol volumes dropped 0.8% last year….Beer was worst hit, with volumes down 1.5% in 2018,” (Chaudhuri & Maloney, 2019). Based on this data, I am happy to learn that I will not be alone in living a drug and alcohol free life at college.


One of the reasons I applied to my colleges was its focus on supporting a career in law enforcement through on the job training and internships. I have already completed two summer Police institutes in Kent and Burien. During these summer institutes, I completed situational training and virtual training and learned basic constitutional law associated with law enforcement. I met the various departments at each location, including the SWAT teams, bike teams and K9 units. But, my favorite thing was the physical activities. During one session we had to carry a body 100 yards, run up and down a flight of stairs, mimic breaking down a door with a sledgehammer before running back to the start. For both summer academies, I had the fastest times.


Right now, a career in law enforcement might be surprising to some. There are many examples of brutality and violence throughout our nation. Yet, I think that by attending college and developing my skills to become an agent of positive change will have benefits to both the FBI and the community in which I serve.


The reason why I want to pursue a career with law enforcement is that I want to help people. I enjoy being physically active and being outside. And, I like feeling like I am a positive member of society. Working with the FBI, will also surround me with like minded, drug and alcohol free people. This is a career that will support my goal to be drug and alcohol free while helping people, which is my ultimate goal.

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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Being Drug Free Can Lead to Your Dream Job
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