‘This wasn’t supposed to be my story’

Former drug addict Michael DeLeon gave a presentation to SHS students on the dangers of drug consumption


Kelsey Jones

Michael DeLeon gives a presentation on the dangers of drug consumption on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Wrestling was one of Michael DeLeon’s passions, and he was one of the best in his school. Scouts from many schools came to watch him perform making sure had the grades, performance and status for their school. However, these college dreams would crumble before they even started because of DeLeon’s addiction to drugs.

Drugs became a coping mechanism and stress reliever for DeLeon. His parents divorced while he was very young and he was getting sexually molested by his Catholic Priest. DeLeon found relief in drugs such as nicotine, marijuana, alcohol and heroin. As a result, DeLeon had a massive stroke resulting in him technically dying three times. After all of this, spending 12 years in jail affected him more than he could predict. 

“I spent 12 years behind bars,” DeLeon said. “This wasn’t supposed to be my story. My mother didn’t raise a heroin addict. My teachers and administrators didn’t raise a criminal. I became that because of my choices.” 

According to DeLeon, he decided to change his choices and bring awareness to what he learned from drugs. DeLeon became a director for documentaries and has since been named the best school presenter in the country. He came to SHS to bring awareness to the dangers of nicotine, THC and alcohol. 

Principal Brian Knight wants students to understand the consequences drugs bring. Knight notices the growing popularity in vaping and drug consumption and the advances in accessibility to these products. Knight saw DeLeon present before he came to SHS, and saw how beneficial he could be for the student body.

“It’s our responsibility to get good information out to people,” Knight said. “I know they can hear it from us, but sometimes bringing in a guest speaker who has an interesting background and experience…it might send a different message to students than just from their health teachers.” 

Sophomore Emily Rusaw was worried that students around SHS wouldn’t take the presentation seriously. However, students reacted better than expected. Rusaw has seen students trying to change for the better. 

“I think it would be more beneficial if people would pay closer attention,” Rusaw said. “However, I saw people waiting for change by posting on social media.”