Life with an addict

Students cope with friends, family struggling with alcoholism, opiod abuse.

Kaleb Brown, Co-Web Editor

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*Names have been changed to protect the identity of sources.

When someone becomes addicted to a substance of any kind, they are no longer in control. Whether it’s taking that one sip of alcohol or taking a single unprescribed pill, addiction can be right around the corner. In other cases, people tend to turn to drugs and alcohol to run away from their problems or to temporarily feel numb from what they are dealing with.

“The depression of my grandmother’s death caused my sister to abuse opioids in 2015,” senior Oscar Pepperton* said.

Opioids are a group of drugs that temporarily treat pain. Worldwide, opioid addiction has grown significantly over the past decade, with people of all ages using them. It has become increasingly easier for people to get their hands on opiods, and this is where the addiction starts.

“My sister had been dealing with an abusive relationship, so she used opioids as an excuse to deal with the physical and mental damage,” Pepperton said.

If someone uses a substance the first time and feels like it helps them, they will continue turning to that substance in the future. However, the abuse of substances doesnt just have an impact on that individual, but also on the people around them.

“My health isn’t directly affected by it,”  Pepperton said. “It’s been causing stress and tension at my house for many years.”

Alcohol abuse is also highly common, affecting one in every eight people. According to CNN, more than 15 million people struggle with alcoholism in the U.S. alone.

“My friend and I mostly talked about the alcohol addiction and what was happening with it, but we would do this by hanging out and trying to get away from it,” junior Margaret Lancaster* said.

When people are struggling with addictions, they naturally push people away who are trying to help. That’s why its so important to be observant and watch for behaviors telling of addiction.

“I worried about it a lot, mostly scared that my friend would get hurt, but that I know of, it never got to the point,” Lancaster said.

Once a person starts to abuse a substance, it is extremely hard to get out of that routine. The easiest part of becoming addicted to a substance is started by using it once. The hard part is trying to get off of it.

“She struggled with alcoholism for eight years,” Sophia Miller* said. “She used it as a coping mechanism, and it makes me feel further away from my mom.”

For many, the biggest struggle comes with the process of coming clean. There are different methods of rehabilitation for certain addictions to substances, but the most common is a rehabilitation center. In many situations, the person experiences relapse. According to, studies indicate that 20 to 80 percent of people who receive treatment and experience short-term remission are estimated to relapse in the long-term.

However, there are some happy endings.

“She had to go to a rehabilitation center for eight weeks and when she got out, she was clean and has been ever since,” Miller* said.

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