I LOVE LIFE. THANK YOU.
On September 7th, Malcolm McCormick, who is known to many as “Mac Miller”, was announced dead in his home due to a drug overdose. So, I am writing this with a heavy heart, knowing that someone who has so greatly impacted my life, no longer has his own. He was young; he was 26, only nine years older than myself. As he once stated,“But now you’re gone, and there ain't no coming back when you’re there.”
Music is something that captivates many. Feelings of all kinds are twirled and spun; emotional roller coasters in forms of ballads put to rhythm. There is power in every spoken word and strength in every sentence.
Music has been extremely important to me, and Mac has been an artist I have listened to since as early as eleven years old, back when I uploaded myself singing Donald Trump on my cringe worthy YouTube. Some of my best memories involve his hits playing in the background, while some of my worst moments he, along with other musicians, were the only people that seemed to be there for me.
The death of Mac has hit home for me, like many others. The beloved Pittsburgh artist has impacted the music industry and the lives that he has touched in more ways than one. He died far too young, however, his talent and love of life was timeless.
Living in Crawford County, you either do drugs, or know someone who does. For many of us kids, addiction has impacted us in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s your mother yelling at you before her morning coffee, the JUUL you hit before school, or the loss of a family member due to heavier addictions.
Many people have different perspectives on drug abuse. Is it a choice, a disease, or possibly both? Most people say that initially using drugs is a choice, and then it turns into the terrible disease known as addiction.
“You choose to do the drugs, so you choose to become an addict.” This is a big mentality among people, not only in our area, but in the whole country.
Imagine that it is a sunny day, you’re 18 years old, and you love the sunshine. The warm glow you gain after letting the rays soak your body for hours; you don’t always wear sunscreen, but when you do, it is a low SPF. When you were young, your mother always lathered you in sunscreen whenever you went outside: waiting for the bus? Put on sunscreen. Going to swim? Put on waterproof sunscreen. When you became old enough, you swore off sunscreen. Your skin is golden anyway, not red and peeling, so, you don’t need sunscreen. You are young, rebellious, and irresponsible; living in the moment, not worrying about what will happen in years to come. Time flies by, and you have grown more mature, you still go without sunscreen in the summertime sun. You know it is bad for you, but you have an inability to stop; to you, sunscreen is suffocating. A couple more years go by and you get diagnosed with skin cancer. Your cancer could have been prevented, but you were young, irresponsible, and rebellious. However, that does not make your cancer any less of a disease.
Not wearing sunscreen, because of rebellion and lack of responsibility, is the parallel of someone young and naive using drugs for the first time. They become addicted, and that is a disease.
I understand that initially it is that person’s choice to do drugs, with the exception of rare circumstances, but I don’t think people choose addiction. Everyone tries new things, most of the time with the mentality that, “I won’t get addicted, it can’t happen to me.” And living in a small rural area, where depression is common, I understand why people would want to be in an altered state of reality.
Drugs, for many, is an escape from reality: nicotine and caffeine help you focus, weed could help you sleep and calm anxiety, while hallucinogens give you a whole new outlook on life. Most people start when they are young: a drink here, a puff there. Soon, that enjoyable weed high turns into just a half a tab of acid, or a gram of mushrooms. Those high’s turn into pain pills, the pain pills turn into something more, and if you don’t get help, soon it will be you turning in your grave.
Helping an addict, like quitting an addiction, is easier said than done. You cannot help someone who doesn’t want to get better, and you need to want to quit your addiction. Drugs are addictive, and they can ruin lives. If you need help, speak out. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends, “No, I don’t want to try that.” But don’t judge your friends if they come to you for support in quitting a habit or addiction. Young people have their lives taken, or taken over from substance abuse far too often. We need to be the generation that recognizes that addiction is a disease; we need to be the generation to help those in need.
If you or someone you know deals with addiction and would like help on the road to recovery there are many places or people that can help.
Drug Abuse Hotline:
Narcotics Anonymous Meeting:
Monday Night Miracles (6PM)
Stone United Methodist Church
956 S. Main Street, Meadville, PA
You Are Not Alone (Monday 7:30PM)
Westford Church Outreach Center
2031 Westford Road, Jamestown, PA
Come and Get It Group (Monday 8PM)
2nd Presbyterian Church
1st & Reed Street, Oil City, PA