True Stories

John Paul Herrera

John 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.

Author Abbey Zorzi playing basketball as a high school junior

Abbey 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 Heptig

Chelsea Marie Heptig, 17, Ecstasy

Ecstasy caused Chelsea to go unconscious and have powerful seizures. 

Jeremy Traylor

Jeremy Traylor, 18, OxyContin

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

Matthew McKinney

Matthew McKinney, 17, Heroin

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

Cassie Haydal

Cassie 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.

Savage family

Nick and Jack Savage, Indiana, Oxycodone and Alcohol

Indiana parents lost two sons to drug overdose.


Rachel 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 Christian Doerhoff

William “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

Cash 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.