Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Redemption Song

Name: Zion Botelho

Redemption Song


it comes to worldwide crises, drug addiction resonates with millions
of people who are either fighting against it or alongside those who
are. Every person knows or knows of a drug addict. There is an
extensive history of drug addiction on both sides of my parents’
families. Fortunately, for me and my siblings, our parents broke that
vicious cycle. Statistically, they were to follow the same path as
their parents. For over 20 years, my father’s parents struggled
with a crystal meth addiction. My mother’s dad fought a similar
battle almost her entire childhood. Thankfully, dad and mom decided
long before they became adults not to repeat this destructive
pattern. And, by the grace of God, all three of my grandparents won
their fight. I am so proud of their efforts and triumphs. But I
recognize not everyone is able to come out of this war zone breathing
to live another day.

should be no surprise that our nation’s drug epidemic has expanded
astronomically over the last two decades, with opioid overdoses
causing more than half of drug-related deaths in recent years. When
it comes down to who or what is responsible, I believe the answer
isn’t so black-and-white; however, we can start by taking a closer
look at our own backyard. With the help of modern technology (e.g.,
cell phones, internet, online ad websites, social media), today’s
youth has easier access to drugs than generations before them did.
Word-of-mouth referrals play a significant role as well. But there is
one undeniable threat to our impressionable adolescence: peer
influence. My parents have always emphasized the importance of
choosing friends wisely. “Be the shepherd, not a sheep,”
exemplified so fervently by my strong-willed mom. Even with righteous
upbringing, bad influence amongst young adults can turn the good
apples rotten.

dealers, runners, distributors, and middlemen all target our most
vulnerable citizens. No demographic is safe. From low-income areas to
suburbia, drugs find their way through meal tickets guised as
neighbors, young children, and even doctors, yielding devastating
consequences. We must also hold accountable those who operate from
bigger platforms. Too often doctors recklessly issue prescriptions
for narcotic drugs to desperate patients simply for monetary gain. At
the very least, they should be stripped of their licenses. I have an
aunt who has been fighting a drug addiction that has robbed her of
her children, her career, her sense of good judgement, and, her
dignity. She is a kind and loving person by nature, but not sober,
she can become manipulative and volatile. On a societal level, I feel
drug addicts are more inclined to committing other serious crimes
because they’re desperately trying to satisfy their next fix or
they’re coming down from a high or they’re suffering from

help fight this uphill battle, we need to begin at home. Parents must
be more involved with their kids. Go through their phones and social
media accounts periodically, talk to them daily about what they’re
going through personally at school or at home, do not tire of
reminding them about making smart choices and being around positive
influences, and discipline them accordingly. Help them learn how to
“fail forward,” which my mom describes as acknowledging the
lesson in our mistakes. If parents can impact their children enough
to resist the bad, the hope is there will be a ripple effect. They
can sway their friends to rise above the temptations. They can help
those who are currently fighting drug addiction. My aunt’s story is
one of many, but it doesn’t have to end in tragedy. As famously
sung in his hit record,
legendary musician Bob Marley highlights the individual will to
overcome and self-heal: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.
None but our self can free our minds.” Struggling drug addicts can
break the chains of their addiction, and free themselves to enjoy a
life of promise, peace, and strength. Where there is possibility,
there is hope.