Name: Marissa Ptacek
From: Avon, OH
“No don’t worry I’m not addicted”
I sit in the back of my friends car as we drive to the Mcdonald’s about 30 minutes away. They pull out a vape and begin to hit it. My friend asks, “Do you want to hit it?” I reply no as I always do, and once again begin to worry about their health. I ask them, “Don’t you worry about about your how that might affect your body and lungs?” They both shake their head and say, “No, and don’t worry, we aren’t addicted.” I think about my cousin when they say that. The cousin who had to go to Florida for his last attempt at rehab. He started with vapes and marijuana, and now he was hooked on deadly opiates. His promising D1 basketball career thrown out the window due to a series of bad decisions. I am snapped back into reality as we pull into Mcdonald’s. I ask my friends, “Why couldn’t we just go to the Mcdonald’s down the street from our house?” They both quickly reply, “We have business here.” I am confused as we pull up next to a car in the parking lot. My friend gets out and comes back with a pack of Puff bars. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. Despite their decisions, they never pressure me and always accept me for who I am. However, I can’t help but worry about them. Vapes can cause a disease nicknamed popcorn lungs. It can wreck your lung tissue and there is no magical cure. There is clearly an addiction crisis in our nation and we need to come together and do something about it. Not only can vaping cause serious lung problems, but it also isn’t good to have your body dependent on it. Teenagers shouldn’t be up at night with cold sweats craving the next hit on their vape. It isn’t healthy. What happens when their tolerance to vapes begins to build up and it doesn’t give them the buzz it used to? Then, they move on to something harder, a drug that will let them escape through that buzz. That is what happened to my cousin, and tons of other people around the nation. It needs to stop before it is too late. Drug addiction doesn’t just affect the individual, but society as a whole. For example, if an individual is driving under the influence and crashes, that has the ability to affect other people as well. If someone on drugs offers it to someone else and they accept, drug use has just spread. However, it isn’t too late, we can still fix this. For one, we need to stop big vape companies from targeting teenagers and children. They shouldn’t have flavors like cotton candy or blue raspberry. We also have to make sure the risks of vapes and other drugs are emphasized more. People need to be aware that vaping can cause serious lung damage. Lastly, and one of the most important we have to make people aware if they have become addicted, and let them know that they aren’t a lost cause. Just like any disease, if drug use is caught in it’s early stages, there is more likely to be a better outcome. Don’t listen when they say “No, don’t worry, I’m not addicted.” Educate. Let them know what addiction can feel like, and make sure they know it isn’t something to joke about.Together we can work and stopping addiction and saving lives.