Two Southmoreland students grew up with similar backgrounds and upbringings, so similar, in fact, it’s why they are inseparable through the majority of the school day. The downside to this great friendship is what they have in common: that their parents use drugs.
A Southmoreland sophomore has lived a life surrounded by drugs, not by his choice, but by the decisions of others. Throughout his life, he has had more than enough opportunities to fall into this lifestyle but remains diligent in containing himself, for he knows the dangers of drugs.
“I haven’t tried anything crazy because I’ve seen what it does to people; my dad was getting me all kinds of gifts and stuff when I was younger, a new PS3, ATVs, new flat-screen television,” said the anonymous sophomore.
“He did all kinds of things,” he continued, “to provide for me even after he and my mom separated, but he went and took all these things away from us because he needed to get money for drugs. It’s a shame you have to sell all you have to buy something that is so temporarily.”
His best friend, a Southmoreland junior, took the time to sit down and talk about his home life and what sort of trouble he had gotten himself into the past few years of his life and his relationship with others that has brought him to make his decisions throughout his life.
“My dad is addicted to pills,” he said. My mom is clean, but she said she’s tried drugs before.”
The student said he is aware of his parent’s drug history and could make an excuse for himself to experiment with drugs if he wanted to.
“I live with my dad. He’s been in and out of jail and he doesn’t provide for me, which taught me to take care of myself,” the student said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I realized I couldn’t get a job, so I instead found a way to sell weed to get money. All that did was dig me into a hole.”
The sophomore spent more time talking to me to document his experiences with drugs outside his own life, whereas his friend, the junior, took time to explain the things he’s done and taken part in, rather than what other’s have done to affect him.
The sophomore recalls a scenario where he and his family were having an outing into the mountains.
“I watched my uncle overdose right in front of me. I was 8 or 9 and I was at camp and I watched him playing in a cornhole tournament. As he was playing, he just passed out,” the student recalled. “We were an hour away from a hospital and no one knew what to do.”
The student said there was a delayed effect and as the drugs were in his uncle’s system, they were progressively shutting his body down and he didn’t even know it.
“I’ve seen people ruin friendships for $10-$15 that someone owes by starting a fight. It’s not worth it,” said the sophomore. “If you believe weed is the number one priority in your life, you shouldn’t smoke it. It’s like something I view should be used in relaxation time. At the end of the day, you smoke a bit and chill out to sleep or watch movies and stuff.
“Marijuana has never killed anyone by an overdose, yet people hurt each other or themselves for it, but that’s based on a stupid decision by that individual, not dangerous use of the drug,” the sophomore continued. “But I’ve also been to parties where people get mad and get involved in a full on fist fight because someone stole their beer. It’s just $2, but they have to cause trouble over that”
In response to what his friend said, the junior referred to a few stories he recollected from several years ago.
“In 8th grade, my house got raided by the police because I was smoking weed with my friend; he got caught, stinking like weed, by his mother when he got home,” the junior said. “I got my house raided for possession of a firearm that someone said didn’t belong to me, even though I didn’t have one me or within the home at all.”
“I was in 6th grade, I believe I was at a party, and I tried smoking weed for the first time with a group of my friends,” he continued. “I never thought it was a bad thing; it’s definitely the ‘safest’ drug. If you’re gonna get into drugs, that’s the drug that’s gonna hurt you the least unless it comes down to someone trying to hurt you because of it.”
The junior said that there is “definitely a problem with people fighting over drugs and money” within the community. “I stopped selling and since the time I got busted, I realize that it’s a bad idea to mess with that anymore,” he said. “I showed up at another party after that and a ‘friend’ of mine showed up after me with a gun saying I owed him money over weed. I thought he was my friend until this point.”
The sophomore took a moment to remember solemn memories about his parents and how other children still, to this day, have to deal with the same issues he did,.
“I’ve seen it all my life; it’s a reason why my mom left my dad,” the sophomore said. “She would be upset when he would be out using the car when she had priorities like a job. I my dad never got caught up in that, he’d be a better parent than he is today.”
The sophomore said that younger children today “have to talk about mommy and daddy not taking care of them or paying enough attention to them; meanwhile, they have no clue what’s actually going on while the parents take drugs right in front of them.”
The junior added that “Regardless of what went on with my dad’s life, I decided to try pills and got into it for a while. I came to the conclusion I was following in his footsteps and stopped immediately. But I still smoke weed to this day.
“Worse than pills is heroin,” the junior continued. “I’ve seen a friend addicted to it and fought with him over drugs. I haven’t spoken with him for about two years. I’ve tried acid and shrooms, but never (heroin). The worse thing I’ve ever bothered with is subutex.”
The junior said that he is “off of any kind of crazy drug. I still smoke weed, but it’s definitely from learning what not to do from my dad,” said the junior.
“That’s the difference between those kinds of drugs and weed,” the sophomore said. “I believe it’s okay to smoke because once again it won’t kill you if you’re using it ‘correctly.’ It should be used for good reasons and not seen in this bad image.”
“There’s probably others living my life or other parents living my parent’s life within Southmoreland’s school district, but I don’t think it’s as abundant as it could be,” the junior said. “Maybe schools elsewhere are worse, I don’t know. The worse thing in Scottdale is heroin. There have been a lot of heroin addicts in the community. It sucks because it’s tearing the town apart. It’s ruining the town’s image, all you can hear about anymore.”