Name: Melika P...
From: El Cajon, California
School: Grossmont College
A Debilitating Illness That is Far Too Common
just the past 6 months, two teenagers from my high school that
recently graduated, my coworker and my brother have been affected by
drugs. Both of the teenagers were together when they overdosed on the
widely popular pill, Percocet. One is dead and the other is in a
coma, in critical condition. My coworker overdosed after shooting up
in the bathroom at work. My brother is now homeless and has suffered
multiple overdoses due to his crippling drug addiction. These people
were victims of a huge national crisis that has been going on for a
who have chronic pain due to the injuries they suffered in car
accidents, work accidents, or sports accidents, are addicted to these
pain pills because they were not educated on how addictive these
pills truly are. Children, who have never been prescribed these
highly addictive drugs, are dying from them due to popularity. And
then, of course, there are the people who have become addicted due to
people selling the pills they, or their, loved ones were prescribed
and never used. The simple fact that drugs and pills are so easily
attainable is the main reason why this illness is a national crisis.
I often get asked
why I am so willing to share the information that my brother suffers
from drug addiction, and I always respond with,”Because every
person I tell, has their own story to tell right back to me”.
Substance abuse is more common and more damaging than most people
realize. The fact that it is so common in this nation is why I have
no doubt that this is a crisis that needs to be remedied.
a person is addicted to a substance, it will be a fight for the rest
of their life. It is a fight between the person and how the drug of
choice made them feel. The high it gave them is so strong and so
unlike anything they have ever experienced. The person, like my
brother, will begin to lose control of themselves. They will find it
hard to complete daily tasks, like going to work, and talking to
family. This is due to the fact that they lose the concept of time.
For example, we found out my brother was addicted to pills when he
stopped visiting our parents and then he lost his job he had for over
10 years. This is a common pathway for individuals suffering from
substance abuse. Drugs begin to become more important than anything.
Their job that was once important, now takes up too much time. Family
that was once important, is now just a barrier to the next high or a
high killer. My brother who was once loving and protective of his
family, looked me straight in the eyes when I found him in a 7-11 and
told me to leave. He told me that he would not come home with me
because my family was not his anymore. We were controlling, he said.
Controlling, according to him, was trying to get help to free him of
this addiction. This is when my brother decided that being homeless
and able to do drugs was better than any house, family, or
rehabilitation center could give him. That’s the last day I saw or
heard from my brother. It is the day that I lost my brother.
will then feel the consequences of this substance abuse. One of the
biggest consequences of drug abuse to society is homelessness. Once
the person has lost the battle to their addiction, they become
homeless or a part of the prison system. People who suffer from this
illness now walk around the city with carts full of their only
belongings. Cities that were once popular and beautiful, have now
become filled to the brim with homeless people. People stop walking
around the cities, stop buying houses in the cities and now refer to
those cities as the bad parts of town. The people that are arrested
and placed into prison and jail will now have a criminal record and,
once they are clean, will have an extremely difficult time finding a
job and a place to call home. This is due to the fact that in
society, if someone has a criminal record, they are deemed a misfit
of society. Employers and landlords shy away from the applications of
individuals with prior convictions because of this.
A remedy is often
the hardest part for the individual. Once the person has lost
everything, nothing seems worth getting clean. A lot of substance
abusers do not get clean because after they are clean, they have a
whole life to put back together piece by piece. This is probably one
of the biggest reasons my brother has decided that getting clean is
not worth it. He was in trouble with the law, racked up a ton of
credit cards, accrued debt from an expensive rehab and his girlfriend
of seven years left him. He’s said to my family before that he has
no incentive to recover, I suppose being high is just the easiest
solution. It’s not painful, he would say, but thinking about his
life was. Considering this, I believe that the remedy for the
individual is to give them support. Help them find a rehabilitation
center that is geared towards patient success. Let the people that
are suffering through this illness know that once they are clean,
they have a whole life to look forward to.
this in mind, I think the best thing we as society can do to help
these people is to aid them in finding jobs and places to live after
they have left rehabilitation. This will at least take two battles
off of their list of many other battles. The conquering of those two
battles will give the individual the strength and determination to
clean up and write the rest of their story.