Goodness and Mercy

My name is Fredrick Amina. And let me share a brief story about my life with you. I grew up on the island of Oahu. I was the oldest of four. My mother had me when she was 16 and my dad was 19. Growing up, I was on welfare because my dad was addicted to drugs. I grew up real early, earlier than I should have. I remember going around with my dad in …

Not My Daughter

On June 18, 2012, I became aware of my daughter’s use of heroin. Even though I was always aware of her poor life decisions and use of other drugs, I went into denial. I hid behind the idea that it was just a phase. She couldn’t possibly be addicted: not my daughter. She went from job to job but always held a high paying position. As the years went by, I saw her mental state …
The New York Times recently published a poll asking readers their views on coverage of the opioid crisis and the types of information they would like to see covered on the subject. We responded to The Times poll article with suggestions that ultimately focus on three main areas for improvement: How we desperately need them to cover solutions, not just the problem How the imagery used must change How the descriptor language for people …
Last week, the New York Times published a reader poll called “Help Shape The Times Opioid Coverage,” asking for the kinds of stories readers want covered. While I appreciate The Times desire to include its readers’ opinions in the types of stories it publishes, the poll is indicative of a larger point that much of the media is missing—our country has an alcohol and other drug use problem that is deeper and more far-reaching …

Love, Love, Love

I went through my first drug treatment when I was 15 years old. I went again when I was 20. Now, I’m 30 and I’ve been in recovery for almost a decade. I got into remission early, comparatively, and I’m grateful for that. I’m here to say that you can get this earlier, rather than later. Addiction has been a blessing and curse. I still battle an addictive personality and have some negative behaviors. It’s …

Miraculous Recovery

I grew up unaware that I had a mental illness. I consider my childhood to be ambitious. I was an honor roll student. All that changed when I headed to the University of Georgia. Once in college with my new found freedom, I began to drink heavily. I didn’t know that I was trying to erase the image of being molested at the age of six by another man. I quit school four quarters short …

Getting My Wings Back

I started using methamphetamines when I was 27, to give me wings. It didn’t take long at all for the drugs to take away my sky. I was a single mother of four, with a three-bedroom, two-bath home. A vehicle. A job. I had never been arrested. I thought an IV user was the lowest of all lows. My children were my world. I was happy. It’s frightening how quickly life changes, and how abruptly …

Through The Body Bag

My name is Grace Ring. I lost my only child on January 24, 2017 to a drug overdose. At first I didn’t want to speak about this, because what can I tell you? “Don’t do drugs?” You already know this. I thought my son had his addiction beat. From September 2015 through January 2017, I felt like I had my son back. He had it beat! He spent six months in rehab, worked the steps …
By the second year of my PhD, I published or presented 54 medical papers. I’d published six peer reviewed medical papers, was a contributing author on a book, and owned and operated my own consulting company in respiratory medicine. I’d developed a patent for respiratory devices and was progressing successfully in my studies. I was 31 years old. I was proud of my accomplishments and my continuing success in respiratory medicine. But that was all …

My Recovery is My Life

My name is Zac Talbott, and I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1983 and was raised – and lived most of my life – 30 minutes south of Knoxville in the affluent southern town of Maryville. I came from an upper middle class, church-going family that prioritized family, faith, and education. I went on to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville before enrolling in the MSSW program at …