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A person is sitting at a table covered with various drugs and drug paraphernalia including marijuana, a syringe, a lit candle, a lighter, and a spoon with white powder on it. The person's face is obscured. Their right hand is holding a tiny bag of white powder and their left hand is held up with fingers outstretched, as if they're saying no.

Drug Abuse

drug abuse marijuana overdose Apr 06, 2023

Written by a CSUCI student.

Drug abuse is a serious issue that affects individuals and families all around the world. It's a problem that can quickly spiral out of control and result in tragic consequences. It seems harmless and looks like a good time at first, but the risks are extremely high. Unfortunately, I lost a friend from high school in Ventura County who overdosed on heroin and died. I believe he was only 17 or 18 years old when he passed because I was 16 years old at the time and I knew he was at least 1 to 2 years older than me.

I played football with him in youth for many years before he moved onto high school football, and I was still in middle school so we weren't as close as we used to be but we were still friends. I really only knew him from football because we had different friend groups and I knew his friend group smoked marijuana. At first, hearing that he and his group were only smoking marijuana, I didn’t think much because you would hear the saying, “It’s just weed bro, you can’t die from it.” That may be true but what people don’t realize is that people are always chasing the high and because they’ve smoked so much, they’ve built up a tolerance and need more or something else. It’s sad because everyone always thinks it’s not true that marijuana leads to harder drugs but it really does because I see it time and time again. It’s even sadder because the ones who think that it’ll never happen to them, are the ones who end up doing the harder drugs. When I got to high school I wasn’t sure what my friend was up to. I didn’t see him a lot because of the bigger crowd and new and bigger friend groups. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I heard he was doing heroin. I didn’t reach out to him because we hadn't talked so there was this disconnection and I didn’t think much of it.

It wasn't until game day for football and I was walking on the field getting ready for warmups when I noticed quite a few people in tears and everyone looking extremely down. After that I found out the devastating news. My friend who smoked marijuana and had moved on to heroin overdosed and died that morning on game day. We were junior varsity, and he was playing varsity at night. No one would have ever thought that would happen, because it honestly looked like he was doing well in school and looked great and happy. But who knows, because no one including myself reached out to him to see how he was doing.

To this day I sometimes still think to myself, would he be here if I had at least reached out to him and prevented it from happening? It was a sad day and tough to get through the game knowing what happened, but we kept reminding ourselves we were playing to win for him. Drug abuse is not something to be taken lightly, and we need to take action to prevent other young people from going down that dark path. It breaks my heart when I see or hear about friends trying to influence other friends to smoke marijuana with them for the first time and I hear, “Don’t worry bro, nothing is gonna happen.” I just shake my head and remember my friend that overdosed from heroin, and it all started with smoking marijuana.

It frustrates me when I try to help my friends stay away from that stuff and I just get heat for it. They say, “Bro you don’t know anything about drugs, weed won’t lead me to harder drugs” as if losing a friend isn’t enough to know about drugs. A couple months after my friend’s death, my dad saw his dad in a grocery store. He asked him how he’s doing and the dad said, “Every morning I wake up, and it’s another battle to fight, because I see his room across the hall, hoping he’s in there and that it was all just a bad dream.” Drug abuse is an easy thing to solve. They make you feel good at the time but come with serious risks, such as death.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, it's important to seek help as soon as possible. It is not worth it to lose a life to just have a “good time” and there are many resources available, treatment centers, and talking to someone such as friends and family that can help you overcome addiction and live a better, happier, and healthier life. There’s always time to choose a path away from drugs. Don’t let drug abuse defeat you. Stay strong out there. Thank you.