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Stories from the Field
Stories from the Field

Rollercoaster (Drug Use)


Mother Teresa once said, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyways.” It can be so difficult to open up about things we’ve been through or things we’re going through. We may be stressing wondering what people will think or how they will respond. This may lead us to bottle things in, but there is a power in expressing ourselves in our entirety.

Oftentimes when youth try to talk about taboo topics like drug use they are immediately shut down by authority figures. But if given the opportunity to speak freely without fear of judgement, youth can begin to think about these subjects on a deeper level.

This 17-year old in our juvenile detention camp program continually made visual art that centered on her drugs of choice. Yet she was shy talking to adults about why she created these pieces. When asked to expand on the topic through writing, her response was “Are you crazy?”. But she realized that since it had been such a recurring subject, there were feelings there she could explore. The following poem is her powerful introspection on her relationship with drugs that show if she had been forbidden to talk about the topic, she might not have been able to formulate this understanding of herself.  

It’s about the high then the
comedown of drugs.
It’s my cravings right now it’s what I
want to do right now.
It’s sad, it’s exciting, it’s painful
It’s like a rollercoaster
It’s all i want right now…
It’s about trying to cure a
love that was never there
Something to make you feel
better or numb
It’s about not remembering
who you are sometimes
The bad part comes
when it becomes a
That’s when you feel
It’s a rollercoaster