Saturday, 11 October 2014

Where have you been all my life?

Jacob and Cody had been best friends since the second grade when they became inseparable. They played on the same sports teams, and their families went camping together each summer. They were like brothers. While they would get into trouble, occasionally, they were considered good kids by anyone’s standards.

When the teen years rolled around, they experimented with alcohol, marijuana and whatever else their peers were using at the time. Someone even brought mushrooms to a party one night so they ate them. If it was there, they tried it. They had a lot of fun during those years, and somehow managed to hide it from their parents. Very few kids ever got caught.

After high school, Jacob and Cody packed up their belongings and drove many miles from home to start their new lives as college students. They enjoyed all that college life had to offer, including many parties. At one particular party, someone brought out a bottle of pills and passed them around to be crushed and snorted.

Unsure of what to do, the two friends looked at each other. Of course, they both had heard about the problems with prescription drugs. Some kids in their high school had gotten messed up in them. Despite what they knew, Cody shrugged his shoulders and Jacob nodded his head. They silently agreed “what the hell”, thinking that they could handle it.

Cody had his turn first. He liked the sensation the pill gave him. He felt really good for the rest of the evening. Jacob, on the other hand, would experience it very differently. The first thought that came to his head was “where have you been all my life?” He felt like he found something he had been missing, although he didn’t realize he had been missing anything until that very moment. Everything he had experienced in life to date paled in comparison to the euphoric feeling that little pill had given him. He wanted more.

Whether it was genetics or for some other reason, Jacob couldn’t walk away. His body longed for more. That euphoric feeling was all he could think about. He would do anything to feel it again. He eventually dropped out of school as his drug seeking became a full-time job.

Despite Cody’s attempts to help him, Jacob got sicker and sicker until he eventually lost his life to the terrible disease of addiction at the age of 24. 

NOTE: While this story is not real, it is reflective of the different experiences people have with prescription pain pills. The lucky ones can walk away but some can’t. Opiate addiction is caused by the brain’s reaction to the very powerful pills, which were originally meant for end of life or post-surgery pain while at the hospital. Both Cody and Jacob were doing what most young people do, which is using substances to have a good time. The only difference was in how they experienced the pill, not in their upbringing. The addictive qualities of these medications make them extremely dangerous and we are seeing the result with an opiate epidemic in North America. We need tighter controls to keep them out of the hands of our young people who are especially vulnerable. Lives depend on it!

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