If you or a friend are struggling with substance abuse or other mental health problems, please call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Abbey began drinking alcohol in high school, and after being prescribed Vicodin by her dentist, became addicted to opioids. By the time she entered college, she had started using heroin regularly. “I pleaded with myself and cried on a daily basis because I wanted to stop using, but my addiction would not allow me to stop,” she said.
However, when she was a freshman in college, Abbey had the choice to enter a rehabilitation center for a month. Although her addiction was telling her not to go, she said yes. The detox process was difficult, but she was able to complete it with the help of supportive, kind counselors. Once she left the center, Abbey was desperate to stay clean and continued to get treatment for her disease. She has been sober since 2013.
Abbey’s message to the world is, “It is possible to recover. Any addict can stop using, lose the desire to use, and find a new way of life.”
Teenage drug abuse has historically been glamorized in the media as high-status, fun, and rebellious. Teens tend to feel like they gain freedom and social value by using illicit drugs. However, many TV shows and movies fail to accurately show the devastating effects of drug use — such as addiction, damaged relationships, decreased focus, high expenses, and overdose.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, or any other hardship, remember that there is always someone out there willing to support you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength!
SAMHSA’s National Helpline for substance abuse and behavioral health assistance: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
“I have been able to accomplish a lot in my recovery,” says Tele, who has been in recovery for four years after starting to misuse prescription opioids at age 13. “I just want to be happy. And I want to thrive in my life.”
Tele shared with the CDC that in high school, he struggled with anxiety and depression despite being well-liked, athletic, and high-achieving in school. He turned to prescription opioids and eventually heroin for the “numbing effect” of the drugs. After getting arrested for driving while impaired, he sought treatment for his addiction and hopes that he can help reduce the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder.