Focus on Addiction

They captured the true struggles of what drug addiction can do

— Caitlin Russotti

Former drug addicts Chris and Dominic shared their struggles with opioid addiction at DMAE late last year, enthralling listeners with their stories of use and recovery. In February, a detective from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office on Substance Use/Narcotics brought attention to the opioid epidemic in an assembly for freshmen. Both discussions increased student awareness of drug abuse.

Chris and Dominic are involved in Alumni in Recovery or AIR, an organization that provides speaking opportunities for young people recovering from substance abuse. AIR members share their stories to warn students of the effects.

“They captured the true struggles of what drug addiction can do,” senior Caitlin Russotti said.

Though of different backgrounds, Chris and Dominick both suffered from a serious addiction that stemmed from using marijuana in high school and soon progressed to harder drugs, including opioids. Their presentation highlighted that addiction can happen to anyone and is a terrible experience.

“When I was in high school I felt like I never heard the message right from the horse’s mouth, like from an actual drug addict,” Chris explained. “I thought I could reach kids better,” he added.

Students appreciated that the presentation focused on personal stories.

“I thought it was a wonderful presentation,” senior Shakee Merritt said. “It showed real life and real world experiences of what people actually go through when they have an addiction.”

At the freshmen assembly, the detective explained the problem with opioids: even experimenting with prescription pills can lead to a serious and life-threatening addiction.

Both presentations were held to combat the rise of addiction nationwide.