November 2, 2016
“‘I’m literally just rotting,’” (Sullivan 1). These are the words of a 21 year old heroin addict named Ashley from Minnesota and this situation is becoming an all too familiar problem with American teenagers today. Heroin and prescription drug abuse is sweeping across the nation and many teens are becoming addicts and they do not recognize the consequences and what may lie ahead of them in the future. Being addicted to these lethal drugs can change someone’s life forever and put them into a pit that is inescapable. Personally, I know a couple of young people who have a died from heroin overdose and I’ve seen the destruction and heartache it caused their family and friends. Through these personal experiences of seeing what drug addiction can do, I want to instigate change in this nation. To make sure teens get to live up to their full potential and no teen dies from an overdose, we as a nation need to tighten our border with Mexico to stop the flow of heroin into our country and make strict regulations on the prescribing of drugs to citizens.
First off, teens who become addicted to heroin and prescription drugs do not live up to their full potential in life. Everyone has great potential in life and nothing should be in the way of that. Addiction consumes teens and makes them so dependent on drugs that they can not go one day without taking it. Their whole life revolves around it and their only goal is to find a way to provide for the costs of the drugs. Ashley was just like this and the only things she thought about were heroin and how to get money to buy it. She was not always like this though, “She was a good student in high school and college, and hoped to one day become a social worker,” (Sullivan 1). Like Ashley and all the other teen addicts out there, they all had hopes and dreams about the future. They wanted to go to college, get a good job, live a healthy lifestyle, buy a house and some even wanted to start a family. Though addiction stops them from reaching these aspirations and they fall into this infinitely deep hole that seems like there is no way out. All of these dreams vanish and they find no hope in the future. We as a nation need to bring back this hope and allow teen addicts to once again live out their dreams and to achieve this we have to tighten the national border and regulate prescriptions more strictly so we can stop drugs from getting into the innocent lives of teens.
Secondly, teen addicts who are hooked on heroin and prescription drugs are dying to young from overdoses and leaving a path of devastation for their family and friends. These teens play such a risk game when they are taking drugs, they never know if they have received a bad batch that is more powerful than expected, which can lead to them fatally overdosing. No parent should have to bury their child but with this growing issue many parents are finding that they are. This is becoming an all too common sight and fatal teen overdoses are at the highest they have ever been. The source of this problem is that “Since 2007, the number of heroin users in the U.S. has nearly doubled, and half of all first-time users are younger than 26 years old,” (Sullivan 1). As for prescription drugs as well, teens make up such a large portion of drug addicts that the only question is where will the next teen die from an overdose because it is bound to happen with the size of this issue. It only takes one try with drugs to become addicted and with heroin and prescription drugs being some of the most addicting ones there are, many teens fall into addiction with them right away. Although, if we stop the flow of heroin through our southern border and come up with a harder way to obtain prescription drugs, we can stop these drugs from getting to the hands of teenagers and prevent them from leaving this world too soon.
With every issue comes some controversy, some people say that if you want to save your child from drug addiction send them to rehab. Others say to just kick your teen out of your house to teach them a lesson and hopefully they better themselves. The problem is that these drugs are so addictive that they depend on it to get through the day. You can not just tell addicts to stop doing the drug because the withdrawal from it is so unbearable that they go right back to using it. If you were to kick your teen off into the streets they will still find a way to obtain the drug and feed their cravings. Even more shocking is that rehab is not very effective, for example, heroin is so addictive that after heroin addicts get out of rehab they have, “...a relapse rate that several studies cite as higher than 80 percent,” (Sullivan 1). Prescription drug addicts see the same exact problem and some even turn to heroin after they get off the prescriptions so they can to feed their desire. People can try and try to sober themselves but most of them will end up in this endless cycle of trying to be sober but failing and becoming addicted again. There is little we can do after someone becomes an addict, so this is why we need to stop the problem from the source which is Mexico for heroin and pharmacies for prescriptions so we can prevent teens from experimenting with drugs for the first time and become addicted.
All over this country parents are seeing their teens not unlock their full potential in life and some even have to bury their teen becuase of heroin and prescription drug addiction, this why we need to tighten our southern border to stop the flow of heroin into the country and set strict restrictions on the prescribing of drugs to citizens. Addiction is an inescapable problem that consumes the lives of so many teens. It sets them back in life and does not allow them to reach their goals and aspirations that they once had because all they think about now is how to provide for the costs of my addiction. Even scarier is that these teens do not know the potency of the drugs they are taking and one day they can fatally overdose while consuming them. This leaves all but devastation and heartbreak for their family members and makes them think what they could have done to prevent their beloved teen from dying. To answer this question, we as a nation need to come together and agree to tighten our border with Mexico. Our southern border allows tons of heroin to enter this country every year, this is why need to check every car that passes that travels into the U.S. for drugs. Also, at parts of the border where it is easier to sneak in, we have to set up surveillance so we can catch anyone trying to smuggle this toxic drug into our country. Then, prescription drugs are too easy to obtain from pharmacies and doctors are giving away prescriptions to easily and freely to drug addicts. To prevent feeding these people’s addiction we need set up a system that will limit the amount of times someone can receive addictive drugs like painkillers and tranquilizers in a year. As well as, we need to conduct a background check before prescribing someone drugs to see if they have a criminal history if drug abuse. If we were to implement these plans into action, the U.S. will become a safer place for teenagers everywhere and they will be able to live out prosperous and joyous lives drug-free.