This Guest Blog is a persuasive essay written by a familiar high school sophomore for his Honors English class. He articulates and understands the disease of addiction better than many adults, and we are proud to publish his paper as a way to increase addiction awareness. Mary Cucarola & Jackie Huban
By Kevin Huban (Age 16), A Persuasive Essay for Mrs. Donovan’s Honors English 10, 6/7/18
Diseases such as heart disease are simply accepted to be inherited through the genetic makeup of families. Similar to heart disease, drug addiction has been scientifically proven to be predisposed into the genes of humans. The facts need to stop being denied; enough is enough. When the need for drugs is hardwired into the brain, the journey to recovery can seem utterly impossible.
The addiction epidemic has skyrocketed in the United States and especially here in Berkshire County. The stigma of addiction needs to end and addiction needs to be seen as a treatable disease, not a moral failing. Although being addicted to drugs can be seen as a decision, it has been made clear by scientists that drug addiction is predisposed into DNA and eventually implanted into the brains of humans.
Most people who live in Berkshire County know someone who has struggled with drug addiction. This dreadful disease can’t be taken lightly because it is present in the lives of all Americans. According to the Department of Public Health, “Berkshire County has seen at least 195 succumb to opioid overdoses since 2010” (Parnass, 1). Many are unaware of the dangers of addiction until they are faced with the tragedy first hand.
The truth behind addiction and its scientific background is often kept behind closed doors.
Too often the scientific statistics of addiction are overlooked by the struggle and darkness that occurs with an addict. However, classifying addiction as a disease vs. not a disease has been an enormous debate between doctors around the globe. Many recent studies have found “60% of drug addiction is due to…genetic predisposition because of evolutionary advantage” (Melemis, 1). Doctors from every country in the world have found drug addiction to be in human’s DNA, and primarily in the genes of families with an addictive past.
Drug addiction is like most major diseases such as heart disease, and the world must see that addiction is not a weakness.
Some people argue that addiction is not a disease because it is a person’s decision to take drugs. While it is true that for many, it is their choice to try drugs, often times their living environments are poor or insecurities haunt them. As I mentioned before that 60% of drug addiction was due to genetic predisposition, the remaining 40% is due to “dealing with stress or uncomfortable emotions” (Melemis, 1). Some people can try smoking marijuana or drinking a glass of wine every night for dinner and never feel attached, due to genetics, that is not the case for some people. Immediately a flip switches in addict’s brain, hardwiring the drug to their system. For me it is easy to grasp the reality of this disease, but for some it is not. More than just victims of drug addiction should be aware of the immensity and danger of this disease, and with proper teachings of what drug addiction is and how abundant it has sadly become, slowly trust and faith can be restored to strengthen communities and families all around the world.
Growing up as a younger brother to two beautiful and inspiring sisters allowed me to gain knowledge on things in life that many kids my age would not have known.
My oldest sister Jaclyn is 11 years older than me, so when she was heading to college I was in 2nd grade. At that time, the dangers of society were of little worry to me, until I encountered them head on. Throughout high school, Jaclyn experienced struggles that led to her defining herself in a negative way. As many high schoolers do, she drank and smoked to relieve the pressure she put on herself. Due to an addictive past in the Huban and Paul Family tree, my sister inherited a genetic sequence causing her addiction to drugs.
Immediately the drug use rewired her brain and being a 7-year-old, I was able to witness the periodic anger and sadness that resulted from a lack of drugs. This disease impersonates the real characteristics of so many talented and wonderful humans, much like my sister, and was clear to see that she just wasn’t the same anymore. My sister may have refused to acknowledge the problem she had until it was almost too late, to the point where recovery may not have been an option. New drugs were introduced to her which worsened the case.
Thankfully, Jaclyn eventually realized that her life was on line and was forced to acknowledge that she was an addict and was able to inform my parents. My sister was sent to Colorado, to find a helpful treatment center. At this time, there was little hope for getting my sister back and I simply wondered how she could be so stupid, but clearly, I didn’t know much about addiction at this time.
Through mountains of struggle that my sister experienced, I am able to proudly recollect on the courage of my sister.
She is a perfect example of the faith needed while fighting this disease. Jaclyn Anne Huban, four years sober has set the stone for what I would want to achieve as an adult. She is now 28, the co-owner of Fresh Start Produce and living life with a wonderful boyfriend and a beautiful golden retriever in Denver, Colorado. Whenever I hear the word impossible I immediately think no, tough. No one ever said that life would be easy, and surely enough it has been everything except that for my sister and our family. Many addicts are taken by this horrendous disease, sometimes because there is a lack of faith.
However, The U.S Department of Health and Human services makes it clear that “addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed” (The U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 5). No matter how much misery and pain results from drug addiction, that must be put aside for the love of the suffering individual, much like my family was able to do for my sister. I will be able take the knowledge I learned through my sister’s recovery and be able to provide that to anyone I may come across also facing addiction. As dreading as this disease seems, my sister is a perfect example of how overcoming the disease addiction is conquerable.
Living with an addict is like searching for the light along a seeming to be never ending tunnel.
Faith is the one key to success to overcoming addiction. As soon as faith is lost, the hope for recovery is slim. I have witnessed successful recoveries, with nothing but bliss as the outcome, and sadly have also witnessed losses to addiction. Whether it be success or failure, the journey is grueling and difficult. Every single person emotionally connected with an addict is affected with sadness, fear and suffering but little do people know that addicts are constantly stuck feeling as if the weight of the world is pressing down on their shoulders all at once. Addiction is rapid, and without treatment it is a domino effect. It has the potential to destroy an individual’s life completely, tearing away friends, family and memories. Therefore, if all of society is able to be taught the truth about this disease, bigger strides can be taken to fix the addiction epidemic across the globe and especially in Berkshire County.
I would like to call attention to every single man and woman on this planet to inform them of the dangers of untreated addiction and allow them to have faith in a successful recovery.
Too often addicts are abandoned and rejected and all this does is worsen the situation, however with honest recognition of having the disease and true dedication to survival a chance of successful sobriety in the future greatly possible. No longer shall humans be neglected for something that they cannot control. We must allow them a chance to thrive and become the incredible individual they could be in the future. I urge everyone to realize what addiction really is and take action to help all men and women that are suffering. Put your opinions aside and help the greater good by ending the stigma of addiction.
Kevin Huban, 6/7/18