True Stories

  • Victoria's StoryVictoria's Story

    Victoria's substance misuse began before she went to college. While on campus at Emory University in Georgia she helped start the school's recovery community.

  • Bertrand B's storyBertrand B's story

    Bertrand started misusing substances when he was only 9 years old. Today he is in recovery and works as an advocate for young people.

  • Honesty L's StoryHonesty L's Story

    Honesty started using drugs at 12 years old. She's been in recovery since 2007, and is now helping others as a CEO of a non-profit recovery resource foundation.

  • Michael Waggoner's storyMichael Waggoner's story

    I was an only child, the nerdy kid growing up, and didn’t really feel as if I fit in with anyone specific group of people. I wanted to be accepted, so I started hanging out with the cool kids and partying.

  • True Story: Jeremy B.True Story: Jeremy B.

    Jeremy started his drug use with marijuana, then moved on to heroin. Read his recovery story.

  • True Story: KristinaTrue Story: Kristina

    Kristina, who is currently in recovery, struggled with opioid addiction for years.

  • Hailey Hesch, New MexicoHailey Hesch, New Mexico

    At age 19, Hailey is recovering from years of heroin abuse at a treatment center in New Mexico.

  • John Paul HerreraJohn Paul Herrera

    John Herrera started experimenting with marijuana at just 11 years old. Then, at age 16,  the New Mexico native tried heroin for the first time.

  • Abbey Zorzi, 22Abbey Zorzi, 22

    I used to picture an addict as someone under a bridge with a needle in his arm. The end of addiction might look that way, but it sure doesn’t begin like that. I never pictured myself as a drug addict until I became one as a teenager.

  • Chelsea Marie Heptig, 17, EcstasyChelsea Marie Heptig, 17, Ecstasy

    Ecstasy caused Chelsea to go unconscious and have powerful seizures. 

  • Jeremy Traylor, 18, OxyContinJeremy Traylor, 18, OxyContin

    Jeremy was 80 days sober before deciding to try OxyContin one more time.

  • Matthew McKinney, 17, HeroinMatthew McKinney, 17, Heroin

    Matthew was full of adventure, mischief and zest for life but things changed when he got addicted to drugs.

  • Cassie Haydal, 18, MethamphetamineCassie Haydal, 18, Methamphetamine

    Cassie was an honor roll student who was active in sports and volunteered at an after school program at her school. Her parents never suspected drug use until she suffered a heart attack from meth use.

  • Nick and Jack Savage, Indiana, Oxycodone and AlcoholNick and Jack Savage, Indiana, Oxycodone and Alcohol

    Indiana parents lost two sons to drug overdose.

  • Rachel Thraxton, Recovering Heroin Addict, Charleston, West VirginiaRachel Thraxton, Recovering Heroin Addict, Charleston, West Virginia

    For years Rachel was addicted to alcohol, pills and heroin.  Find out what advice she offers to young people.

  • William “Will” Christian Doerhoff, 20, Arkansas, Prescription Drugs and HeroinWilliam “Will” Christian Doerhoff, 20, Arkansas, Prescription Drugs and Heroin

    William “Will” Christian Doerhoff, a top-notch student in high school, didn't touch drugs until college. That decision ended up costing him his life.

  • Cash Owen, 22, heroin laced with fentanylCash Owen, 22, heroin laced with fentanyl

    Cash Owen, described as intelligent and charming by his family, was only 22 years old when he died from a drug overdose. Watch as his mother talks about his addiction and his final days.

  • Adam Moser, 27, Portsmouth, N.H, FentanylAdam Moser, 27, Portsmouth, N.H, Fentanyl

    Adam Moser was popular, adventurous, athletic, a college grad, a top fisherman and a World War II history buff who fluently spoke French. In 2015, he died at age 27 after overdosing on the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

  • Laura Hope Laws, 17, Morphine and CocaineLaura Hope Laws, 17, Morphine and Cocaine

    Laura was an active church youth group member, a star varsity soccer player, and kind to many people. However, a prescription painkiller to treat a sports injury eventually led to her heroin addiction, and ultimately, an overdose on morphine, cocaine and alcohol.

  • Montana Sean Brown, 15, 25I-NBOMeMontana Sean Brown, 15, 25I-NBOMe

    Montana and his brothers thought they would have some fun trying LSD for the first time while their parents were out of town. Instead, the freshman football player took a deadly, clandestinely-made synthetic version that killed him.

  • Taylor Hooton, 17, SteroidsTaylor Hooton, 17, Steroids

    Taylor Hooton was a star pitcher on his high school team, a handsome teenager who had everything going for him. Until steroids caught up with him, and he took his own life.

  • Irma Perez, 14, EcstasyIrma Perez, 14, Ecstasy

    Irma was a 14-year-old girl from Belmont, California who took an Ecstasy pill. She became sick immediately—vomiting and writhing in pain—yet her friends did not seek medical help for her.

  • David Pease, 23, HeroinDavid Pease, 23, Heroin

    Dave spent most of his teen years looking for answers in a mixture of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol.

  • David Manlove, 16, Inhalants

    As told by his parents When our son, David, was 13 and 14, we discovered he had tried drinking alcohol and smoking pot. We reiterated our rules that alcohol and drug use was unacceptable, and imposed what we felt were appropriate consequences. As parents who spent our teen and young adult years in the late 60's and 70's, we believed that we would know the signs of serious drug use, and thought David's actions were just the experimentation that lots of kids go through. But we were wrong.

  • Ian Eaccarino, 20, HeroinIan Eaccarino, 20, Heroin

    In his senior year of high school, his car was firebombed in the driveway of our home. In retrospect, we realized it was drug related, but at the time, the explanation he gave us made sense. It was all a lie. Drug activity is typically associated with violence and deception.

  • Mark Bauer, 18, Prescription DrugsMark Bauer, 18, Prescription Drugs

    As told by his father, Phil Bauer Since the death of my youngest son, Mark, I have asked myself so many questions over and over again. What if I had talked to Mark more about the dangers of drugs? Or spent more time learning about what kids were doing at the time? If I hadn’t missed the signs of an addiction problem, would Mark still be alive?

  • Jason Surks, 19, Prescription DrugsJason Surks, 19, Prescription Drugs

    I worked for a community-based substance abuse prevention agency and so did my son, Jason. Jason knew the dangers. We believed that he was not using drugs—we talked about it often. I was so convinced that he was not using that it became a sort of joke between us—as he would leave home at the end of a weekend, I would frequently say, “Jason, don’t do drugs.” “I know, Mom,” he would say, “I won’t.” But he did.

  • Efrain Marrero, 19, SteroidsEfrain Marrero, 19, Steroids

    We found our oldest son, Efrain, in our bedroom dead from a self–inflicted gunshot wound to the head. At age 19, Efrain had grown to be a fine, respectable and loving young man. Sure, he had his share of youthful stumbles along the way, but he responded well to our guidance. He had the highest respect for his parents and was very kind at heart. He adored his baby brother, Ethyn and younger sister, Erika. He was raised in a solidly Christian home, and had embraced his faith. A hard working young man, he was attending a local community college, studying hard—he had a plan for his life, a direction.

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