Addiction in Suffield – A Student Speaks

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I was asked to write this article for the paper, the prompt being to write about addiction. Understandably, I was initially overwhelmed by the task; how could such a broad topic be covered in a short article. Perhaps that is the first issue with this topic: it is talked about so little that it is still difficult to approach it.

They wanted a student’s perspective on addiction, specifically from inside the school. I’m sure that my family will be relieved to hear that personally, I have never had any encounters with my own addictions. However, as the child of a recovering addict, as well as a former friend of an addict, I am no stranger to it. Everyone has heard the story of the addict, how hellish it was, or at least, what they can remember of it. Every person reading this article knows that it is never easy for the addict. But what about the child. What about the friend.

In my sophomore year, I began to befriend a quiet, kind girl whom I shared some classes with. We had a lot of things in common, and it seemed like the start of a great friendship. But to make a two-year long story the length of a paragraph, this friendship did not end well. My friend turned out to be an addict, something I thought I would never have to revisit after my father got clean. But she seemed different; she was my age, she liked the same music as me, and did well enough in school. I decided to give her a chance; was it really fair of me to judge her for being an addict, when every addict is different.

Things did not end well with my new friend. I will avoid detail out of respect, but I learned a valuable lesson: an addict is not in their right mind while using. My friend used me for months without realizing it. This is a recurring trait amongst every addict I’ve ever encountered, which is unfortunately a decent amount. I’ve suffered consequences from every addict I’ve ever known due to this. But they are only in search for their next fix; they do not realize the damage they do to others in their chase for it.

I wish I could say that my friend is a rare occurrence in Suffield, but that is not the case. Suffield is home to many addicts, who hide under the veil that other residents have placed over the town for a long time. Suffield is a wonderful town, but unfortunately, residents often believe that Suffield is “too good” for such things. This town is filled with successful families with picket fences around their yards. How could a “junkie” live in such a beautiful town

The answer is simple. You cannot judge a book by its cover. From the outside, my father seemed to be the perfect example for a growing child to follow. But for nine years, he was addicted to heroin, so severely that he would need it to get out of bed in the morning to bring me to school.

Addiction is not selective or biased to certain locations, or certain people. It is a reaction that can plague anyone. There is not one place in this world that is not affected in some way by drug abuse, and the issue in Suffield is only worsening. This progression will only continue if action is not taken to prevent it. The first step is always to open your eyes. We as a collective community need to accept that addiction is a relevant problem in Suffield; only then can we move towards finding a solution.

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