YEARS OF POT, DRUG ADDICTION AND HOMELESSNESS
Part 1 of a 3 Part Series. This article first appeared on MomsStrong.org
K started getting high at a young age. He smoked just a little bit, almost every day, through junior high, high school, college and graduate school. To him, it seemed like harmless fun. But within a few years after completing his higher education, he became a homeless drug addict and dealer with schizophrenia. He went to jail eighteen times. Relative to so many others, K’s story ends well. He is alive, out of jail, off the streets, and is sober. He is receiving psychiatric care. He lives in a group home where his meals and transportation are provided, and his psychiatric medications are dispensed. He is alive to tell his harrowing story. To warn teenagers that what seems like harmless fun can actually ruin their lives, K and I wrote a book which is inspired by his experiences.
K is 4 yrs older than me. Growing up, he was a vivacious, bright kid who laughed a lot. He got good grades and had friends and girlfriends. A lot of kids in the Pacific Northwest were smoking pot. I was twelve when I started. One time when I was getting high, I had an experience where I didn’t know where I was (in our family’s laundry room). I also couldn’t figure out who the “stranger” was that was getting high with me (my best friend). And this was when the THC content was several times lower than it is today.
Pot was not my favorite thing to do. But it was my brother’s favorite thing. K got through high school, graduated from college with decent grades, not great, but good enough to get into a good graduate school. However, once there, he didn’t perform well in his classes or on his exams. Once he was finished with school, K found he had no job prospects in his field.
Instead, K could only get low-wage, unskilled work. It was impossible to meet his monthly expenses, which included a student loan he took out in graduate school. Then, a woman K knew felt sorry for him and let him live in the attic of her home. This was the 80’s and coke was on the scene. After a decade-plus of devotion to marijuana, K tossed his bong to the curb for the status and thrill of cocaine. He snorted it, he mainlined it, and then smoked it. In short order, he was broker than ever, defaulted on his student loan, and settled in with the love of his life, crack cocaine. Our family knew little of what was going on. We knew drugs were taking over his life, but we didn’t understand the full picture.
(Only now, years later, am I able to flesh this out because of extensive conversations I’ve had with K).
For complete Story go to Drug Use & Broken Lives