From: Destrehan, Louisiana
In my biology class my sophomore year, my teacher asked us to talk to our parents about if any family members have ever had an alcohol or drug addiction. I sat on my parent’s bed and asked the question. Not to my knowledge, my Uncle Matthew had overdosed a few times. They told me stories about his felony, his weight gain, his inability to provide for himself. Even though this was in 2009, he still is affected by his actions from the past. My grandparents still provide for him by paying for his apartment and giving him a set amount of money a month because many employers will not hire him for his criminal record. To me, he is still the man who gave me piggyback rides and held my hand when walking across the street.
The reason why he started using was his grandma, Meme who passed away earlier that year (2009). He was the family member on my dad’s side that was the closest to her. He spent the most time with her in the hospital and was with her when she passed. He also was having some problems at work and suffered from complications from a surgery during this time. To relieve the pain, he was prescribed oxycodone and it became his escape. A man in physical and emotional pain ran to something that ruined him.
To me, I believe our nation is dealing with an addiction crisis because people run to the wrong places during hard times. People forget about the moments and individuals that keep them going. They forget about the memories they have made, the places they have been, the days they have made, and the lives they have saved. They forget these things and they run to objects that are emotionless, dangerous, and addictive.
Drugs and alcohol are mature topics, but young people need to be educated on the effects on how they treat the human body because lives desperately need to be saved. My Uncle Matthew was on the verge of passing away several times during his life for the overdoses he was enduring. Today, he is still unable to be employed or provide for himself. These are some of the consequences of addictions for individuals. When it comes to society, millions overdose every year.
Currently in my Advanced Placement Psychology class, we are learning about opioids and how they affect the body. Given the task of a presentation, I learned about sterile syringe programs. They are safe spaces where drug users can use sterile syringes, receive counseling and treatment, enroll for healthcare plans, and learn about overdoses. These programs are an easy way to help provide a place for drug users to slowly reset their lives and become better people.
There can be more promoted ways of caring for those affected by alcohol and drug addiction. Counseling services and therapists can also be present at support groups which can be put on by religious organizations, nursing homes, and hospitals. There can also be bi-monthly emails sent out by large corporations to employees and public schools and universities to students and parents giving resources to drug and alcohol counseling and treatment options. By implementing more counseling services and education, society will slowly see the benefit of avoiding drug and alcohol at all costs.