Real Talk On Drugs
A few nights ago, I drove my friend up to the hospital while she was high because her boyfriend had just overdosed on heroin.
As a teenager in this modern age, I’ve seen my fair share of drugs. Not that I’m a junkie myself, or spend much time around junkies in general, but I’ve gone to high school. You hear things, you see things, you meet people. Drugs crop up on your radar no matter what kind of person you are, where you spend your Friday nights, and what kind of school you go to. And while my experiences with drugs were HARDLY the description D.A.R.E. officers or health teachers would scare us as kids with, they have been enough to ensure that I’m just not interested in that sort of lifestyle.
Now, let’s take a moment to talk about friendship. Friendship, real, true-blue friendship, means that you are willing to spend time with someone on a general basis, no matter what. Even if you are just hanging out at Walmart, or they are crying because they were just dumped, or you’re having a blast at the water park. The good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s what real friendship is about–sticking it out with someone and staying by their side no matter what life brings them.
Now let’s put the two together. As a teenager, you do a lot of your growing up with your friends and your friendship experiences all the nasty twists and turns and phases that people go through when they are stuck in high school. And because we are all human beings and have the wonderful ability to be absolutely stupid, we can make some funny decisions. Now, going through high school you have to really pick the right friends. Your friends determine how a good portion of your high school experience will be, and can land you anywhere from going to an Ivy League college to Hollywood to a pro athlete to jail, because every group of friends does different things when they are together. But, because people can change so drastically during this time, it’s hard to tell where your friends will lead you…
So I had a great group of friends in high school–just a fantastic group of people–but there was one, I’ll call her Ruth, that bounced between smoking and drinking every once-in-a-while. It was never anything constant, and I knew a lot of people experimented a bit in high school, so I didn’t judge her. After all, she was a great friend, and a good listener who helped me a lot whenever I’d get depressed. We always had a lot of fun, and I knew she was a good person. Then my junior year I decided to experiment myself. I had never drank before, apart from sips of beer or wine my parents would let me have from time to time, and so I decided to go for it. So sometimes during sleepovers we would bring along something we snuck from the liquor cabinet, and drink and giggle and spill our secrets until the wee hours of the morning. But then the summer came, and we wanted to party. Which we did, a bit, and met other people who liked to “have a good time” too. We were both going through some rough things that summer, and having fun like that was our escape from the loneliness and pain we felt by ourselves. Well, for a while it was all fun and games, but eventually you get bored again. So we took up smoking pot sometimes. Yes, it was a drug, but it wasn’t addictive or dangerous–you couldn’t overdose on pot. Well, the more time went on, the more frequent we smoked. But then Ruth took up a new habit of going through the medicine cabinet and snorting painkillers–primarily Oxycontin. I drew the line there. Nothing was going up my nose; I was already concerned about my own use of pot. I told her I didn’t think it was wise to go to anything beyond a little pot, but she liked it and continued to do it in secret. Well, you know how the story goes. You run out of your own supply, you need more, you meet shady people, cops show up, Mom finds out, and next thing you know you’re sitting in rehab. So while I began my senior year, Ruth began treatment.
It was then that I stopped smoking. The summer was over, and things needed to be serious again. Eventually Ruth returned going to school full time, and I was there for her during the evenings she wasn’t at treatment. Well, during treatment she met this guy, an older guy. Ruth had been doing really good, and while I was happy she was happy while they hung out, I was concerned about his own habits. He was a recovering heroin addict, and that fact was enough to try to convince her to date someone else. But she didn’t, and they became a couple. Eventually I met him, and found that he was a pretty nice guy. She would talk about him with stars in her eyes, telling me different he was from the other guys she’d been with, how much they had in common, and how happy he made her. Since they had been together for weeks and they both were clean, I finally gave it my blessing.
Well, nothing is forever. She loved him, and after she completed treatment he quit. Eventually he returned to his habits, and like I originally suspected, she picked them up right with him. So began the phone calls from a crying Ruth, so began the attempts to separate should he keep wanting to use. And then the other night I get one of the crying phone calls, only this time it was because he had overdosed and Ruth had called 911. So there I was, past midnight in the ER, watching Ruth’s boyfriend puke his guts out. There I sat, while he suggested leaving without the doctor’s approval because a) maybe they were waiting to arrest him and b) he was fine anyway. His eyes were barely open and his words were slurred as he said this. The worst part? Ruth, who had tears continuously streaming from her glassy eyes was actually considering what he was saying.
Eventually he was released though, and I drove them home. I ended up getting home past 1am, crying myself from anger at the situation and the speeding ticket I was just issued, completely dreading my 8am to 4pm shift at McDonald’s later that morning.
And why did I do it? Friendship. Do I ever want to do that again? No. Hell no. Will they break up? I don’t know. Will he stay clean this time around (implying that he tries to)? Probably not, but I hope so anyway. Do I hate heroin? Yes. Am I mad at Ruth? No. But I’m sad for her. She’s so much smarter than this and needs to be kinder to herself. Did I ever think this would happen?
Did I ever think this would happen? No. Absolutely not. But for all of you readers out there, let me tell you: you never do.