Rehabs.org Spring 2024 College Scholarship
$1,750 In Scholarships For College Students To Be Awarded
Much like college scholarships cover all or part of the costs of higher education, rehab scholarships also partially or fully cover the costs of addiction treatment for those who can’t otherwise afford it. For recipients, drug rehab scholarships are often the one thing that makes it possible to access treatment resources.
The price of alcohol and drug rehab is the most commonly cited obstacle among those seeking help to overcome addiction, so the additional funding can serve as an additional motivating factor to enter recovery.
Rehab grants are noncompetitive federal grants mandated by Congress. Unlike rehab scholarships, which provide financial aid directly to individuals, rehab grants provide funding to state entities around the country that provide addiction and mental health treatment. Individuals cannot apply for rehab grants. However, it is through these federal rehab grants that many rehabs are able to offer rehab scholarships, low-cost addiction treatment, and sliding scale payment options. Some grants, like block grants offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), focus specifically on high-risk populations like people who are IV drug users, parents with dependent children, or pregnant women.
Rehab scholarships are needs-based and provide treatment funding for applicants seeking both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Rehab scholarships are offered by:
Individual treatment facilities: Most treatment scholarships are offered by individual rehabs on a case-by-case basis. The funds are meant to support people who need professional help to overcome addiction, but would be unable to receive it without the help of a scholarship.
Corporations managing treatment facilities: Both for-profit and nonprofit corporations own and operate regional or national rehabs. These facilities often have funds set aside for scholarship recipients in order to help them cover the cost of treatment at one of their treatment centers.
Non-profit foundations: A number of nonprofit organizations operate treatment centers and offer rehab scholarships to applicants in need of financial assistance. Some nonprofits provide scholarships to specific disadvantaged populations.
Contacting private rehabs about their available scholarships for people seeking addiction treatment is the best way to attain an application. Start by browsing the treatment directory. Make a list of local rehabs that meet your needs, then call each treatment center on your list and ask them if they offer scholarships.
When you find a rehab that offers scholarships, ask them for details about the application process. Some programs have strict rules for application and require you to apply in person. Other programs will let you apply online or over the phone.
Keep in mind that most scholarships are needs-based, meaning that applicants who meet the following criteria are eligible and prioritized:
- Applicants lacking funds to pay rehab bills
- Applicants who are under- or uninsured
- Applicants with no financial assets
- Applicants who lack alternate resources to borrow money
At Rehabs.org, we believe nothing should stand in the way of recovery. That’s why we created the industry’s most comprehensive online addiction resource, offering a library of educational content, information on addiction treatment programs, and access to a wealth of free recovery assets.
Recognizing the obvious disparities associated with addiction and overdose fatalities, Rehabs.org decided to launch a free scholarship contest for BIPOC college students. By providing financial assistance to help pay for books, tuition, or daily expenses, we hope to encourage more students of color to develop a passion for raising awareness about the risks and dangers associated with addiction.
Rehabs.org strives to provide equal opportunities to people of all backgrounds, and we are proud to support students in their unique educational journeys.
How To Enter
- Review Eligibility: Before entering the contest, review the Terms/Conditions requirements and the rules and regulations below to make sure you qualify.
- Complete Application: Complete the contest application form below providing all required information.
- Submit: Once your essay is written, save as a Word Doc or PDF and submit with your scholarship contest application.
Essay Topic And Guidelines
Essay must be submitted with the application, which should include the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, college (including the date of graduation), and student ID number.
- All entries must be typed, double-spaced, and saved as a Word Doc or PDF.
- Do not add pictures or graphics
- Essays that do not meet the word count requirement will be eliminated. (The essay title or added references / footnotes do not contribute to the total word count.)
- A contestant’s teacher, counselor, or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar, and/or spelling, but the essay MUST BE the original work of the student making the submission.
- Contestants will be judged based solely on their essay.
USING YOUR OWN WORDS, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN 500-700 WORDS:
- Addiction is known for its ability to destroy relationships. While the spotlight tends to fall on those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, how does substance abuse impact their family members and loved ones?
Rules And Regulations
- Essay must be the original work of the contestant. Plagiarism will automatically disqualify your entry.
- Contest awards and decisions are final unless an entrant is disqualified.
- Essay submissions that do not meet the requirements (listed above) or sent after the application deadline will not be considered.
- Essay award winners grant Rehabs.org the right to use their essay content in connection with this contest, marketing efforts, and publication of the essay, as well as the right to use the winners’ names and/or identifying information to promote the contest.
- Rehabs.org will read and judge each eligible essay submitted on time; essays submitted after the deadline will not be accepted or read.
- Contest prizes (scholarship award monies) can be revoked after awards are given if entrants are discovered to be ineligible or found to have broken contest rules.
- Rehabs.org reserves the right to change submission deadline to an earlier deadline if application submissions greatly exceed the number projected. Prospective applicants should enter as early as possible.
- Should Rehabs.org have to change any contest rules, we will notify participants via email. If participants are dissatisfied with changes, they may retract their submission.
- All federal, state, and local charges or taxes on prizes must be paid by award winners.
- Essay submissions for this contest become property of Rehabs.org to be used and reproduced.
REHABS.ORG ESSAY SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM
Please complete the application form, attach your entry essay in Word doc or PDF format, and submit.
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Spring 2024 College Scholarship Winners
(Click to view essay)
When you see someone you love at rock bottom, where you can look them in the eyes and it’s like talking to another person, when you believe them when they say they are getting better or are working on it, and there’s nothing you can do except believe them because you really want to; that is the burden placed on loved ones of someone struggling with substance abuse. As a society, we have progressed to believing that substance abuse is a disease and that rehabilitation is the answer instead of jail time. However, with that same progression loved ones are now forced to reconcile with the fact that there is no “bad” guy except the substance, that the one who causes you so much pain and suffering is also a mere victim. That causes pain and suffering with nowhere to place that anger, because who can you get angry at, everyone in this circumstance is a victim.
Loved ones will know that unique feeling of loneliness and powerlessness, where no matter how many times they beg and cry, why were they not enough to help? This psychological toll decimates them physically and mentally.
No matter what step in the progress of battling substance abuse, loved ones are placed in an extremely difficult situation, where societal expectations say loved ones need to be by those with substance use disorder’s side because they have a disease, yet internally the same individuals suffer this battle within themselves. While these loved ones are not the ones addicted they experience the impacts of substance use disorder. Regardless of whether the individual suffering from substance use disorder is alive, their loved ones grieve the person they once were. Loved ones and families no longer have the person they once loved instead they must grasp onto the straws of what’s remaining. Loved ones can no longer claim selfishness, because addiction is a disease, and those with it are victims of the situation.
Loved ones lose the person they fell in love with. Their brother or sister is no longer that person, but instead someone you no longer can trust. Loved ones must grapple with the loss of someone who is still alive, while also the feeling of fear knowing they are out there in a world you can no longer protect them in. Substance use disorder affects everyone not just the user, we see this exemplified throughout history. Drug epidemics such as the Crack Epidemic, decimated the Black community; Harlem, NY where I was born and raised never recovered.
To those indirectly affected, anger sits in your heart. You ask questions of why? But you cannot show this anger because if they are brave enough to get help, then that is a battle where you must push away your feelings and help them. After all, you love them, and you hope this time it works. Addiction does not just affect the user, it sends a shockwave to everyone surrounding the user. Families and friends notice when the user no longer has the same crease when they smile, or tone of laughter; we notice that glare in their eye knowing they are using again. Loved ones have a pit of despair in their stomach knowing no matter what they say, they are powerless against the substance the user finds so enticing. For loved ones, who constantly compare themselves to the substance, forcing them to ask the question of what makes that substance more enticing than our love?
Loved ones face a silent battle, that they are powerless against. No matter what, those loved ones will forever remember that those they love can be gone in the blink of an eye.
Student ID: 25650584
(Click to view essay)
Addiction Destroyed Me
They say that the spotlight shines on those who are addicted. A lot of the
time I feel misplaced for my strong will to be sober, and it feels like a hundred eyes pierce me when I’ve admitted to having no interest in doing drugs. I never had an interest. People would commend me for being one of the few in the world, but I wouldn’t feel entirely grateful for my fear of addiction. I regret to admit that my only misfortune with not wanting to try drugs is simply that I’m terrified of turning into the woman I wanted to love me the most.
I remember the first time wondering why my mother didn’t love me. It took many years of evolving from the wretched pain of a confused child to a disappointed adult. Even now I wonder why it was so hard to choose a child over a quickly drained bottle. I would pick myself apart, wondering if I could find satiating qualities like the ones she found in cheap wine and rum. My confidence dissipated quicker than my ability to believe the constant lies I had been fed throughout my life. Ultimately, I grew up feeling unwanted by the world.
We continue to shine the spotlight on those who are addicted to drugs, but what about those who are addicted to trying to gain their attention? The lost kids, stricken lovers, and parents. Addicted people tend to be oblivious to the source of their light, that it shines from the bleeding hearts of unconditional love. My heart fills with sadness as I recall the threads of addiction that restrained me as a person, because not only did I fall victim to loving someone with an active addiction but I also witnessed the pain of a strong figure in my life loving someone with an addiction.
It’s a marvel how seemingly the strongest people in the world can fall apart when giving themselves to someone else. It is frightful how easily a person can unravel when trying their best to hold someone up. Daily, I watched my grandmother love her husband despite his faults. My grandmother smiled through belittlement, unappreciation, and physical abuse. I marveled at how the strongest person in the world, to me, was falling apart because she relentlessly gave herself to an alcoholic, as she had done many times in the past.
As human beings, when do we begin to ask ourselves: at what cost? At what cost will we continue to abuse substances when it tears us apart in every aspect of life? What are we truly willing to lose? My grandmother who was greatly respected for her selflessness had suddenly lost all respect for the same thing. I wondered if she ever felt depressed and fell into a darkened hole when noticing that the people who were once in her corner started to slowly dissipate.
Do we ever really realize that people who love someone who is addicted are not far from the symptoms of addiction themselves? When we fight hard for someone to get better, wishing and hoping that your love will be enough- when do we come to the conclusion that the person who is addicted will only change when they are ready? Just like how we will have to make the conscious decision to protect ourselves from the familiar stabs of heartbreak, it seems to me that the process of recovering from this type of trauma is aligned with recovering from addiction itself.
When it comes to the impact of those who are experiencing the trauma of a loved one being addicted, we have to remember that trauma is a long term effect. Many people will live their lives having to repair the pain they endured. Some people will go through cycles of encountering many different addicted people in their lives. Some people will fall into addiction themselves.
Maybe it’s time to let the spotlight shine on those who are in the dark.
Colorado Technical University
Student ID: 30195366
Moses Chukwuemenam Okpala
(Click to view essay)
The Ripple Effect of Addiction: A Family’s Journey to Recovery
Addiction can really mess up people’s lives, and my family has seen it up close. This essay is about how addiction affects not just the person using drugs but also their family and loved ones. It’s a story of how we faced a tough situation, found hope, and turned things around.
My sister got caught up in a dangerous world of drugs during her last years of high school and early college. She didn’t stick to one bad drug; she always wanted to get high and have fun with her friends.
As she got more into drugs, it caused a lot of problems in our family. She would argue with our parents all the time, and they were scared she might overdose or even die. It got so bad that our parents had health problems, too.
My sister’s life changed because of her addiction. She acted differently, hung out with strange people, and even moved out of our family home. Her friends asked me if she was okay because of the strange things she posted on social media. It felt like I didn’t even know her anymore.
The worst moment was when we got a call from the hospital. My sister had overdosed, and it was a close call. That’s when my dad said she had to go to rehab. She didn’t want to go, so she ran away. Our family was really struggling, and people felt sorry for us. My dad had to be really strict. He grounded her and said she couldn’t leave the house without telling us where she was going. It was tough love because we wanted to save her.
One night, my sister was so desperate to see a boy she wanted to do drugs with. She tried to sneak out through her bedroom window on the top floor. She jumped off the roof, hoping to land on her feet, but she got hurt really badly. It was a crazy moment, but it turned her life around.
After that accident, my sister decided to change. She finished her rehab and hasn’t used drugs since. Her recovery gave us hope.
This scholarship opportunity excites me because it provides a chance to share my family’s story and highlight the profound impact of addiction on not only the person struggling with it but also their loved ones. Our story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of recovery. It is a reminder that addiction doesn’t just affect the individual; it ripples through the lives of those who love them, leaving a lasting imprint. Rehabs.org’s mission to provide equal opportunities to people from all backgrounds resonates deeply with me. I hope that by sharing my family’s experience, we can shed light on the importance of raising awareness about the risks and dangers associated with addiction, and encourage more students of color to take on this critical mission. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, and the journey to recovery is not easy. Still, with determination, love, and support, there is hope for a brighter future—a future where families can heal and thrive once more.
Moses Chukwuemenam Okpala
St. louis University Law School
Student ID: 001297815
Fall 2023 College Scholarship Winners
(Click to view essay)
Author: Brooke DiLuzio
Address: 2088 Stone Creek RD SW
Phone Number: 330.795.0027
Email Address: [email protected]
College: Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences (May 2024)
Student ID: 51960
Resilience Amidst Tragedy: My Journey Through Substance Abuse and Hope
At the dawn of 2020, my world was rocked by the devastating loss of my husband to drug abuse. This tragedy was the stark backdrop against which I came to understand the grave implications of substance misuse and the urgent need to educate young people on resisting its allure.
In the aftermath of my husband’s demise, I reflected on the factors that might have led him down this lethal path. From my observations, I identified three significant triggers of substance misuse among young people, mirroring those that had affected my husband: psychological distress, societal influences, and curiosity.
My husband, like many young individuals, grappled with psychological distress. The burdens of past abuse, career prospects, and personal insecurities gnawed at his mental peace. In his search for solace, he found a deceptive comfort in drugs, which provided temporary relief but aggravated the root cause of his distress over time.
Environmental influences also played a part. The world we live in often fosters a culture where substance use is normalized, or even romanticized, creating an illusion of escape or rebellion. My husband was not immune to this perception, which led him to underestimate the long-term consequences of his choices.
Lastly, curiosity and a lack of understanding about the devastating effects of substance misuse pushed him further into the clutches of addiction. A narrative commonly portrayed in media and popular culture fuels this curiosity, romanticizing substance use while obscuring its destructive implications.
Experiencing the consequences of these factors firsthand spurred me to think about strategies for teaching young people to resist such pressures. I realized that the first step must be an educational approach that does not merely instill fear but fosters understanding. Comprehensive education about the health, social, and legal repercussions of substance misuse should become an integral part of school curriculums, making young people aware of the potential dangers they face.
In the face of peer pressure, young individuals need to be equipped with the skills to confidently say ‘no’. Role-playing exercises in schools can be an effective tool to help students rehearse these scenarios. I believe that it’s also crucial to reassure them that distancing themselves from peers who encourage detrimental behavior is not just acceptable but commendable.
To combat the psychological distress that often drives young people towards substance abuse, we must create a supportive environment in homes and schools. Establishing open dialogues about mental health and promoting healthy coping mechanisms can significantly reduce the allure of drugs and alcohol. I wish such resources had been available to my husband during his formative years.
Finally, fostering interests and talents through extracurricular activities can offer a healthier way to cope with stress and provide an enriching alternative to substance misuse. Engagement in such activities would have offered my husband the joy and relief he sought in drugs.
In the wake of my husband’s passing, I have found strength in my resolve to be part of the solution. Through education, dialogue, and promotion of healthy alternatives, we can guide our youth to resist the pressures that surround them and opt for healthier paths.
My personal journey through the trauma of substance abuse has deepened my understanding and ignited a passion for promoting resilience and informed choices among young people. Each young person who resists substance misuse is a triumph against the tragedy that consumed my husband, bringing us closer to a healthier, more enlightened generation.
In Commemoration to Chase Scot Miller January 13th, 1996 – July 29th, 2020
(Click to view essay)
Growing up in Nigeria, where easy access to hard drugs was a troubling reality for many, I witnessed firsthand the challenges that young people face in resisting the allure of substance abuse. My own experiences and those of a close friend painted a vivid picture of the factors that often lead to such destructive paths. From social pressures to personal struggles, the road to substance abuse is fraught with complexities that demand our attention.
My friend and I shared a bond that spanned from childhood to adolescence. We navigated the tumultuous waters of growing up, grappling with a barrage of challenges that seemed to multiply as we entered the realm of social media, encountered bullying, and stumbled through the maze of high school crushes. It was a bumpy journey for both of us, as we sought our place in a world that could be simultaneously exhilarating and unforgiving.
In the backdrop of our lives, a troubling trend emerged – the rampant rise of codeine abuse. This once-innocuous cough medicine evolved into a gateway to addiction. It was a shift that attacked on the vulnerabilities of young minds and hearts, offering a false sense of relief from the trials we faced. My friend, who I cannot fault, found himself ensnared in this web of dependence. What began as an attempt to ease emotional pain quickly spiraled into a full-fledged addiction, and his life took a sharp turn down a dark and dangerous path.
This narrative, unfortunately, echoes the experiences of countless others. It’s a familiar pattern where the seeds of substance abuse are sown in the fertile ground of vulnerability. Youth, inherently malleable and impressionable, often seek solace and escape from the tumult of their emotions. When faced with hardships and emotional distress, the allure of substances can become irresistible.
Preventing such a dire outcome requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the root causes and the potential solutions. Education is a cornerstone of this effort. Young people must be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions about the consequences of substance abuse. Comprehensive awareness campaigns that highlight the true nature of these drugs and their long-term effects can serve as a powerful deterrent.
In Nigeria, where the accessibility of drugs poses a significant threat, stringent legal measures are crucial. The laws surrounding drug distribution and accessibility need to be fortified to shield young minds from easy access. By curbing the availability of these substances, we can create a significant barrier that prevents initial experimentation.
Furthermore, we must provide alternative outlets for emotional expression and coping mechanisms. Youth should be encouraged to explore healthier ways of dealing with their feelings, such as through creative pursuits, sports, or counseling. By promoting emotional intelligence and resilience, we empower them to navigate life’s challenges without resorting to destructive habits.
My personal journey, filled with health struggles, may have acted as a shield against the allure of substance abuse. However, I recognize that my friend’s experience paints a starkly different picture. It’s a reminder that the path to substance abuse is often riddled with pain, vulnerability, and a desperate search for relief. By bolstering support systems, enhancing education, and tightening regulations, we can pave the way for a brighter future – one where young people are empowered to confront life’s trials with strength and resilience, rather than turning to substances for solace.
(Click to view essay)
Anticipated Graduation: May 2027
The Influence of Fiction, Family, and Friends
In my school I see the impact of glamorization of drug and alcohol abuse, negative family influences, and peer pressure. These are the main reasons why teenagers turn to drugs and alchohol at a young age. I have seen many of my friends who would have otherwise not been exposed to drugs get influenced into an addicting cycle of abuse.
One of the reasons teens start abusing drugs and alcohol is because its consumption is glamourized on tv. In our early childhood our parents’ actions shape our morals and what behavior we deem as acceptable. But as we grow larger so does the amount of time we are on an electronic device. So now we are not only consuming our family’s morals but the world’s. This is heavily reflected in HBO’s TV series Euphoria. The series follows fictional lives of teenagers coping with school, relationship troubles, tragic family life, and addiction. The show, featuring adult actors as teenagers, glamorizes drinking and driving, drug dealing, and violence. While it is only intended for mature audiences the restrictions on HBO’s platform are lacking. So as a result many teenagers watch the series and think that it is acceptable. Because of Euphoria and many other Highschool Dramas that feature teenage drinking Gen Z is led to believe that doing drugs is ok when in reality it has negative lifelong consequences.
Many teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol because of negative influences within their families. Seeing older family members who may or may not be of age smoking and drinking influences teenagers into thinking that it is acceptable and cool to do the same. If a teenager is without a healthy support system at home they may be more inclined to deal with stress and anxiety by drinking with friends. But in reality drinking and consuming drugs can damage your brain causing you to become depressed and dependent. In my life I have seen this scenario play out with my friends weed addiction causing him to steal money from family and chronically miss school. This hindered his relationship with siblings and his ability to complete freshman year.
Peer pressure is another main reason for the rapid spread of the teenage consumption epidemic. Teenagers take what they see on tv and in their families and head to their friends’ basements to replicate what they have watched. Because of this many of my unbeknown peers find themselves caught up in plans that they don’t want a part of. But in fear of being outcasted from their friend group for not being cool they say yes.
We can give people the tools to put a stop to peer pressure by educating each other on ways to say “no” without feeling ostracized. We could create tik toks spreading creative ‘excuses’ on why we can’t do drugs and alcohol we ave to say no. We could also share our own experiences of getting out of risky behavior to inspire others to do the same. This way when being pressured into certain situations among friends we have the strategies to get out and are more likely to do so.
Spring 2023 College Scholarship Winners
(Click to view essay)
My first semester of college, in a new city, with new people, realizing just by walking downtown how much drugs have taken over people. I went to go see a baseball game with my roommate and some friends and walking out I remember seeing this homeless woman smoking out of a pipe. At first, I had no clue what she was smoking and when the distant smell hit me, it was a smell so hideous that I had to walk a little faster just to get away from that smell. It wasn’t until I started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix last month that I noticed that the pipe she smoked out of was like one seen in the show.
I come from a small town where drugs seem to be taking over like the Coronavirus did back in 2020. I remember I was in middle school when I got to find out what nicotine was. Nicotine has become so rampant back home that when I see kids smoking all I can think about is how their future is being stained from a single drug. Seeing my friend asking me if I had a lighter like his life was in danger only to light up a cigarette. At work, a couple of elementary students got caught smoking out of a vape and got suspended for a couple of days.
So, it is clear for me to say that drugs have taken over society, no matter the drug, they seem to be more rampant day after day. This is scary not only for my two smaller sisters, but also for when I choose to have kids and they must go through a school system, hopefully a system that focuses on removing drugs. I always think of how I was one of the “lucky ones,” as some of my old friends would put it, who was never interested in taking drugs and denying those who offered me some.
One of the most effective ways to remove a kid from that environment is in his friends. My friends were always interested in sports, mainly soccer, until they weren’t. I put myself between those who had the same interests as me and made sure not to follow those who were changing their ideals. Some people tell me the reason that they choose to do drugs is because they have anxiety and other measures that drugs help relieve. Helping those in need to realize that those drugs are not only making the anxiety worse but also affecting their brains in one way or another. Giving them an anonymous place where they can get help for their anxiety and not have to be able to rely on drugs to relieve the stress can be a great reliever. Being Hispanic and having Hispanic parents, I know how they would react if they found out I was using drugs, so helping kids have a place close to home where they can go anonymously and be able to be treated for something that at first was only a trial can be very useful.
Another way that we can help kids is by not allowing them near drugs in the first place. Making sure that if the parent uses drugs, it isn’t in front of their child where they are likely to become curious about its effects. Also, we can stop kids from using by simply giving them better things to focus on. That can be sports, extracurricular activities, activities the child enjoys and wants to attend.
Playing soccer in high school, I had friends who smoked and played soccer, but seeing their decline in the sport, from who they used to be, to who they are now, I could see with my own eyes how much a hit was to them. And if I learned anything from Breaking Bad is that once a drug gets boring, they move onto the next one. I’ve planned a lot about how to use my money when I’m rich, and if there’s one things, I want to do is create a place where children go to remove themselves from drugs that were once a trial, and are now a necessity for their daily lives.
(Click to view essay)
January 30, 2023
Fentanyl is the problem: What is the Solution?
Illicit drug use in the United States has been steadily increasing for the last several decades. For example, in 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug. In our current day and age, the threats are much more insidious. Drugs are more readily available to children, and the risk of overdose is drastically higher. The question is how do we relay that message? Drug prevention programs are not what they used to be. So, what is the best method to get this important message to the newer generations? Start with the people close to you and spread the word.
There is a crisis spreading across the country, and most parents are still unaware of the dangers to their kids. Before we can educate the youth, we must be educated on what we are fighting against. We are fighting against drugs like fentanyl. Here are the facts, fentanyl is twenty times cheaper to produce than other illicit substances. It has a much stronger hook to addiction and because of this, drug dealers are lacing every drug you can imagine with the poison. Unfortunately, only two salt-sized grains of fentanyl can kill someone. The D.E.A has even reported that more than 1 in 4 pills are laced with the poison. According to C.D.C data, synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) contributed to 62% of the 2020 overdose deaths. However, it is important to note that Fentanyl can be prescribed for pain, and it is also made illegally. After learning these facts, it is easy to think the situation does not concern you but you could not be more wrong.
According to a recent article in the New York Post, “The deadly drug has been found in vape pens on high school campuses in recent months. Officials have a growing concern that middle school, high school, and college-aged kids who are being targeted as criminals make fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone, Adderall, and Xanax.” There is tangible evidence backing up these concerns. For example, Jamie Puerta’s only child, Daniel, was 16 when he died after taking a pill containing a lethal dose of fentanyl. He was quoted saying” I walked into my son’s room at eight o’clock in the morning and found him dead”. He is not the only parent with this story. There are many like him that have suffered this tragic loss due to this epidemic. Another example that shows the effects of a Fentanyl overdose is the story of Sofia Christoff. “I’m bored in my room,” said Sofia Christoff, who said she had found some “powder” substance. “ I crushed it up, took a line. I felt kind of sparkly for two seconds and then I woke up in the hospital.” Now that we understand the severity of the situation, we need to protect the youth from this same fate.
The next step is to understand why someone would be drawn to substance abuse in the first place. In recent years, the reasons why someone would choose drugs have changed drastically. America recently has been the site of significant social fallout during the pandemic. The last few years have been marked by high unemployment rates, stress, economic insecurity, and drug use. For people with mental health and substance use disorders, the consequences of the pandemic have been extreme.. It is easy to think that these experiences only affect adults, but that is simply not true. The youth were faced with many adversities after the pandemic’s fallout. The greatest impacts felt by adolescents come from school closures, being confined in the house with relatives, and not getting to see friends or peers face to face. Teenagers are at a stage in life when they are very invested in social connections and in separating from their parents. So, social distancing requirements have a different emotional impact on them than on adults. Depending on their age some adolescents may have a tough time understanding what the pandemic really means and how it impacts their world. Because of this, some young people may use drugs to relieve themselves from the possible loss, anxiety, stress, and depression they may have experienced due to the pandemic. So, what can we do to help?
It is time to sit down and have a conversation with the newer generations. How this conversation is conducted will make all the difference in how they receive the information. You can ask them what their views are on drugs. It is important to avoid lectures. Instead, try to listen to their opinions and questions about drugs. It is also important to ensure that they feel comfortable enough to be honest with you. Offer a safe space to allow this level of honesty. This can be done by relating to any experiences they may share. Discuss reasons not to use drugs and some realist relatable outcomes to using drugs. Try to avoid scare tactics. Emphasize how drug use can affect the things that are important to them. Things such as sports, driving, health, and appearance. These conversations may be uncomfortable, but they are important. Having this talk can be the difference between life and death. While they may not listen, you know that you have done all you can to keep the next generation safe.
(Click to view essay)
Southern University Law Center Student # U01973821
2023 Scholarship Entry
Save a life
Every year the percentage of drug and alcohol abuse in teens in society increases. This increase affects society negatively in many ways, for example, by increasing the crime rate, overloading the health care system (drug-related overdoses, DUI-related car accidents, etc.), creating problems with their families, and adding to poverty like homelessness. All in all, these factors work together, which considerably affects our society.
When one starts to use drugs at a young age, they tend to drop out of school and become drug addicts or drug dealers in the community. This result slowly becomes a domino effect and creates a monkey-see-monkey-do reaction. Younger kids follow behind older kids they look up to, taking on bad habits, and the communities suffer. When teenagers drop out of school, it lowers their chances of getting an excellent job because they don’t have a degree. This causes them to struggle financially, and they cannot support themselves, so they commit crimes to fund their addiction. Another result is an increase in the unemployment rate and the need for government assistance.
Most crimes are committed while under the influence of drugs and alcohol use. DUIs are committed every day. This puts you in danger and innocent drivers in harm’s way. Drivers under the influence are disadvantaged because their decision-making is impaired. Unlike a person not under the impact, those who can’t react as quickly as they usually would do so put themselves at a higher risk while on the road, which can quickly turn into a tragic accident. Every day a patron ends up in the hospital due to drug overdose or alcohol poisoning. Today, drugs are laced with other harmful ingredients like deadly fentanyl. Most people may not know they’ve been laced until they end up in the hospital. Due to drug and alcohol addiction, some kids are forced to grow up earlier than others to care for their addicted parents. Later, some of those same children become addicted themselves, creating a generational cycle. Others who don’t end up in the system due to their parent’s addiction have to support themselves and turn to illegal activities because of no education.
Some advice I would give young adults facing peer pressure to drink or use drugs is to think about the people you know personally who have been affected negatively and how it can affect you. It’s essential to consider the risk at hand before making any decisions. You should determine where the peer pressure stems from. Is it friends, family members, etc.? If friends, I would advise separating yourself from that friend or group of friends and setting non-negotiable boundaries. However, you may have to take a completely different approach if it’s a family member. It’s harder avoiding or separating yourself from family. My advice to anyone being peer pressured by family is to go to someone you trust and look up to, outside of family, like a guidance counselor or mentor. See if they can help you learn how to reject peer pressure.
Drugs and alcohol are growing issues today. Say no to drugs and alcohol, and you can live healthier lives. If you witness somebody being peer pressured to engage in drugs and alcohol, speak up because you can be the one who prevents someone from going down a horrible road. Lastly, if you know someone addicted, you should get help from someone you trust to prevent another life from being lost.
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