Imagine the local news headlines read: “another teen dead from overdose on drugs.” Heroin. Cocaine. Prescription drugs. The specifics don’t matter; another teen is dead. We’ve all seen this headline too many times, to the point where it doesn’t faze us. But this time it hits close to home because it’s someone you knew — the kid you went to high school with.
You thought you would never hear about him again. He graduated and went to college, and he never crossed your mind until you saw his picture on the news. You knew him, not well, but you remember him being funny, compassionate and always putting a smile on someone’s face.
You never knew his full story; you didn’t really know him at all. Why does it sting when you realize he is gone?
It’s not that you lost someone near and dear to your heart. It’s the realization that someone your age got themselves into a fatal situation — that it could have been you, had you chosen a different path.
Stop imagining. This is reality.
It is no secret that drugs are a huge problem on college campuses, ranging from marijuana, to cocaine, to prescription drugs like Adderall. All of these drugs can become highly addictive, which can lead to drug dependence where an individual has developed a physical and/or emotional need for a specific drug.
Addiction is difficult to overcome, and in extreme situations can become fatal. The Washington Post lays out the harsh truth that “overdosing is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., accounting for more deaths than traffic fatalities or gun homicides and suicides.” Washington Post also notes that a shocking 100 Americans die everyday due to drug overdose.
According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, prescription drugs such as depressants, opioids and antidepressants have lead to 45% of overdose deaths in the U.S., and street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines come close with 39% of overdose deaths.
UK did not make it a requirement for all new students to participate in the AlcoholEDU interactive course without reason. This course was meant to inform students of the reality of what alcohol and drugs can really do to damage a person, and how each student should be aware of and responsible for their own actions.
Many students walk around campus talking about how AlcoholEDU was a waste of their time and how they would never abuse alcohol or drugs. Yet, these are sometimes some of the same people found passed out at parties, whose friends had to take them to the hospital because of their poor decisions.
UK wants students to think twice before they make a decision that could impact the rest of their lives, and students should take this issue more seriously. You might think that you will never go as far as to overdose on drugs, but the kid from your high school didn’t plan on it either.