From: Taylor Mill, Ky
School: Highland Academy
Stay Away from Drugs
Stay Away from Drugs
Matthew was a typical teenager, full of adventure, mischief, and zest for life. He took pride in his friendships and made many friends along life’s journey. When Matt was 13 years old, he tried pot for the first time because a friend dared him to do it. He always said, “My friends got my back.” He would do anything for his friends and expected the same in return. By the time Matt was 14 his grades were dropping in school, and his parents noticed his behavior changing from happy to angry and sometimes even violent. His parents still have holes in walls that he punched when he was out of control. Alcohol and over-the-counter medication were now in his life almost daily. He was seeing a counselor once a week without much benefit. They tried Intensive out-patient rehab programs twice, however to our horror he just learned more about what drugs were out there and how to use them.
In September 2003, they sent Matt to Minnesota Teen Challenge. He was there for 4 months. He was discharged from the program for stealing cough syrup from a gas station while out on an event the school had planned. Matt called his parents and begged to please let him come home. He promised he had changed and would follow their rules if he could just come home. On December 14, 2004 Matt snuck out of the house for the last time. His parents called him at 10:30 that night and told him it was curfew and he had to come home. He said he was sorry for leaving without telling them and he would be home soon. He sounded fine and was laughing and talking as if nothing were wrong. They would find out later that within seconds of that phone call, Matt was injected with 66 percent pure heroin. He was found dead early the next morning.
This is a true story about a real person. Matt started off so promising, but drugs took him down a dark road in his life. He had his whole life in front of him, but drugs ended up killing him at such an early age in his life. We are dealing with a major drug addiction in our country. Many adults and teenagers find themselves caught in the endless battle against drugs. Many teens want to be cool, so they start off with one cigarette or a little marijuana like Matt did to impress their friends, but later it could kill them. This means that many of our young people and their families are being affected. Drug addiction affects everyone close to the addict in many ways. As a nation, we need to tackle this problem and get it under control.
According to americanaddictioncenter.org in 2017, almost 74% of adults suffering from a substance use disorder in 2017 struggled with an alcohol use disorder. About 38% of adults in 2017 battled an illicit drug use disorder. In 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders. These are serious figures. Millions of people are dealing with this addiction. Just like with Matt, these individuals tend to become suicidal or hurt themselves for attention. They begin to lose hope in life and lash out on those who love them the most. If they are young, they might lose interest in school and begin to undergo a personality change.
Drug addiction also affects society in a big way. According to americanaddictioncenter.org, drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs. Society is tirelessly pursuing helping people with drug addiction, but it is taking a toll on us. We are using a ton of our money to sponsor these programs. This is money we will never get back.
Some ways we can remedy this addiction on an individual and societal level is to educate people on the dangers of drug addiction. Schools should have an assembly once a week where they educate kids on how to avoid doing drugs. Churches should host youth gatherings where they explain the immoral ground on using drugs. There should be easy to access books in school and public libraries that lay out details about avoiding drug addiction. People should invest in more addiction anonymous groups where their goal is to simply help each other get over drug addiction. These small actions will make a difference. Even if all these actions only end up saving one kid from doing drugs, our mission would be a success. We need to put these programs into action. It is a significant way to ensure a brighter future for our kids.
In conclusion, there is a drug addiction crisis sweeping through our nation. We need to take hold of this before it snowballs out of control. Drug addiction steals the quality of life a person has. It will rob them of their joy and end up hurting them in many ways. That is why it is our goal to educate young people about the dangers of using drugs. It will end up saving countless lives. There is a quote by Healthy Place that says, “It is not the drugs that make a drug addict, it is the need to escape.”