This post is in collaboration with AMSA’s Addiction Project committee. Committee members wrote personal anecdotes about their experiences with drug addiction.
Academic/Opportunity Cost to Marijuana
An old friend of mine was the definition of a typical nerd in high school. Sure, everyone goes through changes in college so I didn’t think much of his drastic 180 immediately. He went from a straight-A student to selling weed, smoking and/or drinking nearly every day, vaping in class, altercations with the police, and even being held at gunpoint. He’d tell me almost every other day that he was planning on skipping class just to smoke and would smoke at least 2-5 times every day. It became a part of his lifestyle. When his grades started to fall because of it, I decided I (along with a couple other friends) were going to talk to him about it. At first, he was in denial, but after a two-hour-long intervention with him, we came to an agreement that things had to change from here. However, the thing about addiction is that unless you are actively working against it, it will always come back. Unfortunately after just a week, old habits started to form again and things got so bad that he lost his full ride to UMD and got kicked out of school due to his poor grades.
Marijuana to take away the pain of losing someone
A friend from high school was going through a rough patch during her senior year of high school when her father died unexpectedly in the summer due to his heart condition. She started to smoke marijuana to take away the pain. She would smoke marijuana in her home when her mother leaves for work. However, one day she was caught by her mother and was reprimanded. Sadly, this never stopped her. She would smoke before going home or spend the night at her other friend’s house to smoke. My other friend had a party and a mutual guy friend that we know brought weed to a party. After the party became dead, she went upstairs with the guy to go smoke. Thirty minutes after they went upstairs to smoke, the guy ran downstairs to tell us that my friend passed out and he couldn’t wake her up. We all ran upstairs to try to wake her up. I regret personally that I didn’t push my friends to call the police because it took us a couple minutes to wake her up. Even when we woke her up, she was still out of it. Once my friend came through, she told us that she has a heart condition. I was confused on why she was smoking marijuana when she knows she has health risks. However, after that scare, she stopped smoking.
Anxiety and Depression from Marijuana Use
I haven’t seen my cousin in four years. He doesn’t leave his room unless it’s to buy or sell marijuana. He doesn’t even show up to family events anymore, even when they’re at his house. He started smoking marijuana five years ago, and he started to change soon afterward. He didn’t believe that marijuana could be addictive or have withdrawal symptoms, but if he doesn’t smoke frequently, he gets even more anxious and depressed. He dropped out of high school when he was sixteen and he quit his job at the grocery store a month later. My uncle told me that being around that many people made him so overwhelmed he just couldn’t take it anymore. He tried to attend classes at our local community college, but they also caused him too much anxiety and he stopped after one semester. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the motivation to work or go back to school since.
Peer Pressure of Marijuana Use
My brother is an athlete. He needs to stay fit and keeps himself out of trouble in order to do so. He also has friends who are just trying to graduate high school and do what they want. These friends like to hang out with him at night time and smoke marijuana. My brother does not want to because he explains how it would be bad for his lungs, and that he did not want to get in trouble. His friends insisted and kept explaining how it was not a big deal. He gave in a few times, but he, fortunately, gained the strength to say no. During that time, he would not attend school and he even got caught once. I think he learned his lesson and has stopped since. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. If they are your real friends, they will understand your wishes.
When you’re surrounded by people you love who seem to love the pills more
Growing up, I was always surrounded by individuals who had heavy addictions. I saw slowly how they changed, and that they did not have the same light that they used to. It started out with addictions that seemed small like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. It seems like everything is under control because they make it seem like that is the case. These addictions may seem not as harmless, but they can be very dangerous and lead to other substance uses. I started to notice different behaviors. They would say and act in the cruelest way in order to get what they wanted. When I got surgery years ago, the doctors prescribed me oxy pills to manage the pain. My mom refused them to see me because she knew that my medication would be stolen. It broke my heart because I knew that it was not them, it was the addiction that took over their life. They spent their days searching for their next high with opioids, not caring what the consequences were.
The takeaway from this is to remember there is someone out there who loves you and adores you. They only want what is best for you, and don’t break their heart by giving yours to something that doesn’t deserve it.
How crack and other drugs can ruin your life
So there’s this girl that I knew and became friends with. She was a bio major and also had dreams to either become a doctor or get her master’s degree. Unfortunately, her college career came to an abrupt end after her life was ruined by crack and other drugs. Here I will tell the story of how I met her, and how drugs ruined her:
I’ve always noticed her in my classes but we’ve never exchanged words. However the first time we did talk I remember that one of the first things she said was that she was excited to use crack. I was shocked because usually, you don’t tell that to someone you’ve just met. She told me that she was introduced to crack by her boyfriend. I appreciated her openness, and despite me telling her all of the bad effects that crack has she assured me that she doesn’t do it all the time so “it’s fine”. As a bio major, I’m sure that she knew that crack can do some serious damage. At the time I did not know her well but I decided to try to be friends with her since we were in many classes together. She was an A student. This was in the spring of 2020.
A semester later we ended up in a few other classes and I noticed that her grades were slipping. She used to be really good at chemistry, however this semester not so much. I remember calling her on Facetime after the final to talk about grades, and I asked her what happened to her grades. Her explanation for doing so poorly that semester was “It’s the drugs..I do too many drugs, that’s why”. She started laughing but I became genuinely concerned. In disbelief, I said to her: “WHAT? Are you good?”. Once again she assured me that she was “fine” and that was it.
In spring 2021 we took what would be our final class together. She wasn’t keeping up with her school work in the class. She didn’t do the quizzes or exams because her life was in shambles. I would check up on her once in a while just to see how she was doing.
In the end, she dropped out of school. Her life became too chaotic to keep up with school as well. Sometimes I wish I could’ve done more for her, but then again I didn’t really know her more than a school friend. It was hard to see this girl who had so much potential go downhill. She explained to me her situation and I understand what happened to her and what drove her to make the decision she did. I cannot say that drugs are the sole reason why she dropped out, but I believe it was a huge contributing factor in her making many poor decisions which eventually led to a downward spiral. Drugs indirectly ruined her life. Do not make the same mistake as her. Your future is bright, so don’t let crack or any other drug dim your light.
Important Contact Information :
University Health Center Phone Number: 301-314-8106
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Hotline: 1-800-662-4357