Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - 67,367

Name: Madison ...
From: Coal City, West Virginia
School: Independence High School
Votes: 55 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - 67,367

67,367

Madison
Crone

67,367

I
sat strapped into a seat 305 feet in the air with my feet dangling
anticipating the 278 feet free fall drop on my favorite ride at Kings
Dominion. I gripped my uncle’s hand so tight that his hand turned
purple. As we began to descend my stomach felt as though it was in my
throat, my heart was racing, and I tried to scream but it wouldn’t
come out. This is a feeling that cannot be anticipated. As the ride
slowed and came to a stop, my uncle looked at me and said, “Wanna
go again?” Roller coasters were our thing. My uncle and I were very
close. In fact, he was more of a brother to me. He took me to
softball practice, drove me to dance classes, made me dinner, took me
to the pool, watched Disney Channel with me, and always made me
laugh. In 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdoses. Of these, 46,802
were a result of opioids. On the morning of June 6th of 2018, my
uncle became a part of these statistics.

Just
like before, my stomach felt as though it was in my throat, my heart
was racing, and I tried to scream but it wouldn’t come out. Except,
this time he wasn’t there to ask “Wanna go again?” Numbers are
easily overlooked and difficult to conceptualize. Now when I look at
the statistic 67,367, I see 67,367 people with families, friends,
co-workers, and loved ones. Before, when I heard the term drug
overdose, I thought of famous musicians like Jim Morrison, Janis
Joplin, and Amy Winehouse. But now, when I hear the term, all I can
think of is my uncle and the 67,366 other people who lost their lives
to drugs. It opened my eyes to the drug problem in the United States
and the struggle of addiction that people live with every day. I want
to share this perspective so that these people are not just viewed as
statistics.

After
this experience, I came to realize that the glorification of drugs in
music and mass media is a real problem that results in ignorant
attitudes towards addiction. The current public perception of drugs
is representative of a failure of our society to recognize the
pertinence and severity of the addiction crisis in the United States.
The statistic 67,367 is a number that continues to grow and has no
means to decline unless we take action and bring awareness. Addiction
is everywhere. No one is immune to the effects of addiction. The
reality is, we will never live in a world without addiction. However,
we can start a dialogue. A dialogue does not mean a teacher lecturing
a class that “drugs are bad.” It means sharing sad stories like
mine, but also the happy endings of those who overcame addiction
before it was too late. We need to share our stories so that we never
have a number as high as 67,367 deaths due to addiction. Don’t wait
until addiction takes the life of your mom, brother, friend, or
uncle.


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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - 67,367
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