The effect of drugs on family

Sierra Sullivan, Multimedia Co-editor

It was the first time I heard her voice in almost a year, and hearing it crack and choke through the phone was almost enough to break my heart. The automatic voice on the phone told me I had one minute left on my call, and I didn’t know what to say. She started crying and told me that she loved and missed me, right as the call cut off. That was the last time I got to talk to my cousin while she was sober, through the phone while she was in jail. I choked on my voice and hung up the phone, holding back the tears.

We’ve all been taught since we were children to say no to drugs, and heart breakingly enough, not everybody keeps that mindset as they grow older. In my life, I’ve had to endure a numerous amount of my close loved ones be sucked under the influence of drugs, ruining their lives. Thanksgiving and Christmas will never be the same without either of my cousins, my aunt or both of my uncles there. No matter what, nothing will ever be the same again, because they decided to cut off the rest of the family just to get high.

One of my cousins has been battling a long battle with heroin. He has been admitted to rehab three times, and still struggles with the urge to use the drug after his medication runs out. You can always tell it’s getting bad again whenever things around the house start disappearing. Indiana has the 17th highest mortality rate due to drug overdose, according to, with heroin being the leading drug. Usually you can see some signs of potential drug abuse, but not with him. He was a good student in school, involved in basketball and baseball, and finding out he became addicted to heroin was the biggest curve ball. It just goes to show that addiction can and will affect anybody.

As for my other cousin, she was always a troubled child, showing signs of an addictive personality at an early age. Her preteen and teenage years had multiple ups and downs, and she was getting into trouble most of her life. So, it wasn’t as big of a shock to find out she was addicted to meth, but it was harder to believe the things that she had actually done while she was high on the drug. Stealing, lying and abuse became her lifestyle, and eventually I lost all contact with her for over a year, until I got a random call one afternoon a couple months ago. It was harder to hear her cry through the phone, because I didn’t picture talking to the troubled drug addict that she was, but the round faced, bright eyed child that I knew and loved. It was devastating. Growing up, I considered her to be a sister more than a cousin, and the sad fact is that I have probably lost her forever.

I have had to watch my aunt struggle with the heartbreak of watching her son be a victim of abuse. I have had to hold my grandmother while she cried on my shoulder because her granddaughter has ruined her life at such a young age. I have had to come home to find my house broken into and robbed; everything either smashed or gone, because my aunt owed somebody money and she had nothing for them. I have spent Christmases with awkward silence, looking at the presents under the tree for the cousin and aunt who won’t show up. I have had Thanksgiving prayers, thanking God that my cousin has lived another day, wherever she was. I have had my heart break watching the people I love disappear from my life, without a single goodbye. This is the life of addiction; this is what it does.

One hit and you can become addicted. The people that you associate yourself with become who you are. One drug can lead to another, and a dangerous personality can and will affect those around you, especially the ones you love. You won’t feel any remorse for the people you steal from or the people you make cry, because your only concern will be getting high. Drug addiction is a problem, and it’s important to learn how to pick the right people to spend time with. Learn to find friends who are looking out for your best interest, and not the ones looking to take advantage of you. Learn to say no when you are faced with peer pressure. Trust me, no high is good or great enough to destroy your family, or your life.