Today, I found out my third childhood friend died due to an overdose of drugs. Something many of you reading have experienced. It’s a confusing grief because you wonder what would have happened if you reached out or had an intentional conversation about their choices. When I heard the news today, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I instantly became angry with myself for every time I brushed off my friends and their drug use. I didn’t even attempt to make it a little uncomfortable for them. I will be honest, I don’t usually fall into peer pressure but I also don’t speak up against actions that I know will hurt my friends.
This isn’t an article of judgment towards drug users. Rather, it is a call to action for every friend that makes jokes or downplays their friends’ problems. Don’t let three friends pass away before it becomes unacceptable.
College is great. It’s our shot at freedom without our parents looking over our shoulder, and it’s one of the best things we have experienced thus far in our lives. For some, it’s a time to experiment and push our limits. But it is also a time for us to step up. Quite frankly, I’m sick of knowing that every college student, including myself, treats the drugs we see or hear at parties as minor when the consequences are far from it.
Sure, drinking can be casual. Pot can be argued to be legalized. But I’m going to walk the plank into social awkwardness by saying cocaine is not casual. Heroine, though less popular with the college crowd, is not casual. “It’s a frat thing,” “I’ll stop in college,” or “I only do it every now and then.” All are excuses that we don’t argue with when we hear our friends trying to justify their choices and actions.
I don’t want to sound like the health teacher discussing the dangers of drugs. We all understand. It’s just that in college, we feel invincible. Drugs have always been a topic of conversation. In middle and high school we sat through classes about the consequences from drugs. Whether or not that actually helped, I don’t know. What I do know is that in college, the drug game changes. Harder drugs become less of a big deal, uppers get mixed with downers, and alcohol and pot seems like child’s play.
Please stop accepting drug use as a societal norm. Having that kind of mentality kills.
Featured image via Gage Walker on Unsplash