In high school, every student’s hope is to find themselves and their purpose. However, the pressure to fit in can be draining, leading some to seek temporary relief by engaging in illegal and dangerous activities.

With all of the stigma associated with addiction, it’s hard to imagine that the peer sitting next to you in class, with the most amazing home and family, might be suffering from the disease. Substance abuse is not always the rapid and overpowering issue that sprouts from experimenting with alcohol and drugs at
a party your sophomore year; dependence to substances can happen gradually and
subtly, and flare up later in life.

Class of ‘97 graduate, Tina Dailey,was dependent on alcohol and cocaine, which ruled her life after high school up until her death by overdose in 2014. In memory of Tina, the Tina Dailey Foundation started to help people overcome their addictions and spread awareness of the disease that kills over 100 people daily. Several Prep students serve as “Tina’s Ambassadors” who help struggling teens, and obtain service hours for their contribution to the foundation.

To prevent cases like Tina’s from being repeated, the school made it a mission to educate students on the dangers of substance abuse; which is discussed in health classes, HIP seminars for 9th graders, and assembly speakers. Although the school tries their best to keep students safe in school, outside of campus, it’s the responsibility of the student to make the right choices when exposed to these risks.

Life is too precious to be cut short by addiction. It’s saddening that in an attempt to search for what make us feel truly fulfilled and happy is disregarded because of how much easier it is to access drugs and alcohol; all in hopes of experiencing brief alleviation. Feeling better starts with speaking up, and getting help. Ultimately, when you’re healthy, it’s much easier to pursue your passions and find yourself in the process.

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