Will I Be Addicted to Drugs at Some Point In My Life?

By Mackenzie Zboray

When people are younger, they have this perfect idea of their family, and it was no different for me. My parents are amazing and two of the best people you could ever meet, and for a while, I thought that way about pretty much everyone on my mother’s side of the family until I learned the truth. When I was in middle school, my mother sat me down and said she had to have “the talk” with me. It was not about the birds and the bees, which was my original thought, it was specifically about how addiction runs in my family’s genes and I needed to be careful. Before that point, I never thought it was weird to see my grandfather, aunt, uncle, etc. with alcohol or drugs. I just thought of it as something they enjoyed doing, so that is why they did it that much. I did not know it was called addiction and that it was a serious disease. I finally learned it was not normal to be a heavy drinker or even a heavy smoker. Normal people tend to not do either of those things as heavily as my family did. Addiction is a serious problem that affected a lot of my family, and in turn, it scared me to think that one day that could be my reality. To this day, the question still lingers in my mind. Will I be addicted to drugs at some point in my life? 

Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is not as scarce an issue as most people would believe. In fact, a study regulated in 2017 discovered that 46% of American adults claim to have someone in their life who has/is abusing drugs (1). I felt the problem that my family faced was one that rarely occurred, but I was wrong. The issue of addiction is faced by a lot of families around America and in some cases, the negative effect of having an overdose happens. Deaths caused by a drug overdose have increased from 16,849 in 1999 to 52,404 deaths in 2015, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1). That is more than triple the amount of deaths in 16 years. 

Addiction has been ruining families for years, and the issue is getting worse. A substance use disorder affected 19.7 million American people (aged over 12) in 2017, as described by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). There are many ways to get help for addiction, but getting off of drugs and alcohol is only the first part. Staying clean from drugs and alcohol proves to be very difficult for recovering addicts. For instance, it was found that between 40 and 60 percent of people with addiction will relapse in their lifetime. (2). When people are sent back to their regular environments from overdoses, most addicts are not given a lot of information on how to stay clean. It does prove to be very difficult even for people who have had the correct training because there are certain stressors or triggers that can cause an addict to crave their substance of choice. One way this tragic issue can be prevented is by creating a relapse prevention plan they can use to apply to a dangerous situation. It is important to use different coping mechanisms to try and prevent relapse (3). 

The Herren Project is working to solve the problem of drug and alcohol addiction. This non-profit organization was founded by Chris Herren, an NBA player who struggled with addiction since he was a teenager. He understands how difficult and scary it is to be sent back on the streets from an overdose with generally no resources to help. So, he created The Herren Project to provide support to people with drug and alcohol addictions. The group offers free tools and assistance for preventing, treating, and recovering from substance use disorders. Some services that are implemented during treatment and recovery include virtual support groups, recovery support for families and individuals, various scholarships for treatment strategies, and recuperation housing/coaching. The organization has been a success seeing as it has provided 2,823 people with treatment recourse since the company’s founding in 2011 (4).

In order to maintain the fight against drugs and alcohol, it is important to give to The Herren Project so that they can continue to deliver free help and support to addicts and their families. Donating will ensure that individuals and families are adequately cared for. The money donated will help provide counseling sessions, treatment placement assistance, recovery housing, and so much more. You can donate to The Herren Project at this website: https://theherrenproject.networkforgood.com/projects/58704-herren-project-giving


  1. Nearly Half of Americans Have a Family Member or Close Friend Who’s Been Addicted to Drugs. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/26/nearly-half-of-americans-have-a-family-member-or-close-friend-whos-been-addicted-to-drugs/ 
  2. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics. American Addiction Centers. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics 
  3. Understanding and Avoiding a Relapse Into Addiction. The Halzelden Betty Ford Foundation. https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/relapse-risks-stats-and-warning-signs#:~:text=here%20for%20you.-,The%20statistics%20indicate%20that%20anywhere%20from%2040%20to%2060%20percent,addiction%20will%20experience%20a%20relapse 
  4. Addiction Recovery Nonprofit Organization. The Herren Project. https://herrenproject.org/ 

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