Addiction is something that everyone sees or experiences at least once in their life. Addictions range from eating a lot of food, alcohol, video games, and even sex. All addictions are destructive. It overexposes individuals to certain things, which causes an unhealthy lifestyle and instability in one’s life. Unfortunately, there is one form off addiction that has become more and more popular within the younger generations. That is the addiction to opioids. Prescription pills. In some extreme cases, heroin. These drugs are easy to get, easy to sell, and easy to become addicted to.
There are many scenarios in which a teenager can become addicted to opioids. It could be a pre-teen, just starting to become rebellious, and decides to break into their parent’s medicine cabinet, and see what pills do what. It could be a girl who just got her wisdom teeth taken out. The doctor gives her 30 pills of Oxycontin, and she only uses five of them for the wisdom-teeth recovery. What does she do with the other 25? Or, it could a college student stressing out over your final exams. They find someone who deals opiates, pop a couple of those throughout the week to clam down. After exams pass, they find that they want more.
Opioids are one of the most addictive drugs, right next to marijuana and alcohol. They’re considered central nervous system depressants. They’re painkillers, which makes one feel relaxed, and relaxation is a very easy thing to become addicted to. A person can start off abusing prescription pills, but it could become so bad that they turn to heroin. Heroin is the cheaper opiate option that gives a stronger high than pills do.
When addiction sets in, a person is not the same. Looking at teenagers, their attitude changes, their grades drop, their work performance decreases, they start having more conflict with family, friends, and people in authority.
In addition to physical changes to a person, addiction takes a lot out of their wallet. They’ll spend what money they already have to fund their addiction. When they run out of their own money, they’ll start getting easy money, like donating plasma. When that does not provide enough money, they start to pawn their belongings. Unfortunately, many addicts turn to stealing and pawning others belongings. Those other people are usually friends and family, because their possessions are easy access. It may not be a lot of money when a person gets $50 for their mom’s smartphone, but they have to fund their addiction somehow, because their addiction does not allow them to maintain a job.
Looking at the Winthrop University campus here in Rock Hill, intense opiates like heroin aren’t normally found on campus, because those who are addicted to heroin cannot function in the college environment. Prescription pills are the more popular option for college and high school students.
What non-addicts need to understand is that addiction is a disease. Once addiction sets in, a person’s body chemistry becomes dependent on these substances, which is extremely hard to come off of. Many people who have become addicted to opiates now only take them to function throughout the day, because the process of withdrawal is too painful. Those of us who do not struggle with this specific addition need to show as much compassion and support as possible to help these people learn to overcome their addiction.
What is our community doing to help? Within the community of Rock Hill, we have Keystone Substance Abuse Center, there to assist people with any kind of addiction recovery. There is also YCHOPE, a newly developed program within York County to educate people on the dangers of heroin and opioids. Finally, York County has Operation Medicine Drop through the All On Board Program. With over three point five million prescription pills disposed of so far, members of our community can get rid of their pills in the box, which are then picked up and properly burned by city officials.
What can you do as a college student? GET RID OF YOUR EXTRA PILLS. Use the drop boxes, located all around Rock Hill to properly dispose of your prescriptions. The closest one to Winthrop is at the Winthrop Police Department. Don’t worry, there are no questions asked. If you or someone you know has a dependency on pills, heroin, or any other drug, contact Keystone Substance Abuse Center. They will do everything in their power to help you or your loved ones live drug-free.
Do not let these things pass you by. See the problem, recognize the problem, and act accordingly with your head held high. Always have hope in your community, hope in others, and hope in yourself.