Name: Phoenix Josephine LeGrand
From: Madison, WI
There we were, laying next to each other, his face turned up to the ceiling, mine examining his. I could see the soft freckles that plastered his face. His lips were sweating yet we were sheltered in a cool room. I traced my vision down his arm, observing the tightly wrapped makeshift tourniquet band and an empty needle jutting from the vein below it. I never could see the appeal to this, maybe it was my fear of needles. I told him I would try and support him anyway I can, including staying by his side while he ‘relaxed’. It was the same routine every time. Though, he wasn’t really saying much this time. He usually had his hand on my leg, letting me know he’s still here. I look down, his hand was limp placed on the bed next to his sweltering body. I started to fret. Today he had a bad day at work. He said he needed a little more today to really relax. I touched his chest. I didn’t feel movement in the slightest. Not even the soft thud of an overworked heartbeat. I grabbed his face and turned it towards me. His lips opened a little, and his eyes looked glazed. I turned over and started to panic. I called his name, “Michael.” I called it over and over, each time more tears would race down my cheeks. I picked up my phone and dialed the three numbers he made me promise to never call.
They came in twenty-six minutes. I was sitting with my back up against the wall of his dark bedroom. I just stared at him from afar. I didn’t know what to do. I just curled my legs up and started to cry. I watched as they started CPR. One EMT stabbed his leg with a very large needle. Yet, no effect was caused. Then came the words, “Time it, 1346” They moved his lifeless body into a large black bag. A police officer grabbed my arm gently and told me to walk outside with him so I could give a statement. I walked out with him, peaking one more glance of his soft face before it was zipped up.
I’ll never forget that day. I’ll never forget what I promised myself either. I promised that I would do anything and everything in my power to help the addiction cause and the war on drugs. Today, I am currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice program in hopes to become a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) K-9 Sherriff. Many people think that addiction is a choice, and yes, it starts off as a choice, but then it becomes an addiction. Like food, when we get that first bite of something that we’ve never had before, and it’s good, we develop a liking for it. We want more. I think we as a nation is batting an addiction crisis every day. The most dangerous drugs are being produced illegally and distributed, which then eventually ends up in a new set of hands. Those new set of hands are about to make a choice that will take control of the rest of their life. Everyday is a new battle with more overdoses as the cause of death increases. This impacts not only the individual but also society.
It impacts society greatly, with more and more homelessness and poverty, substantial financial health care burdens, child abuse and neglect, domestic disputes, and increased violent crimes. It also hurts those closest to the drug abuser; their family. Their family develop co-dependent relationships. These relationships can lead to loss and hardships financially and health wise. The only way to remedy the cause is to spread awareness.
Spreading awareness about experiences, effects, and damages it does to society and to families, can help get more people educated on how to end this tiring war. Also, to start the supporting the cause, we have to go for the source. The individual. They need to learn and understand that they don’t have to do this. They need to understand that they are only damaging relationships with their family and friends. By starting with the individual, this will slowly leak out towards society. This new awareness can be spread to multiple drug abusers in hopes they want to change their ways just as much as we do. No matter the impact, big or small, I want to be a part of it and do my duty to keep people safe, healthy, and happy.