The reality of addiction

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ANDY LYONS, News Editor—
There are many issues college students face, such as class schedules balanced with social and work schedules and the clashes in between.
One of the many things that can pop up in the flux is addiction.
There are many types of addiction, and things someone can become addicted to.  Drugs, alcohol and sex are the most common.
Recently, a friend from my hometown made a Facebook status that made me think “what is going on with her?” So I sent a Facebook message to her saying “hey if you need to talk give me a call.”  I have since talked to her every single day and found out she is struggling with a heroin addiction.
When we talk, she paints the picture of what she’s gone through.  The things she’s witnessed and experienced have been so surreal. I’d compare it to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
She tells me all the explicit details, including a time when she was using with a group of people in a hotel room when one of them overdosed.
She said everyone else fled the room and she was left with a 220 lb. man quivering on the floor.
She said she had to perform CPR and ended up bringing him back. The person she revived is a fellow 2003 graduate of Hannibal High School.
Throughout her monologue of things she’s gone through, she’s talked the most about how difficult it is to quit using the drug.
She checked herself into rehab and gone back to it. She quit earlier this year when her boyfriend was sent to jail and then started again when he was released and then went right back into it.
Heroin is an opiate and one of the most addictive drugs available.
According to, it enters the brain and is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors.
These receptors are located in many areas of the brain, especially those involved in the perception of pain and in reward.
Opioid receptors are also located in the brain stem. They are important for automatic processes critical for life, such as breathing, blood pressure and arousal. Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of respiration.
The local TV station, WGEM, ran a story in April about the growing heroin problem in Hannibal, Mo., referring to the high school as Heroin High.
The problem is growing despite efforts from local law enforcement, which includes the Northeast Missouri Drug Task Force.
My friend told me that I’d “be surprised how many people no one would expect are the biggest addicts.”
It’s sad, and it’s a very real problem.  But there are plenty of options for help.  I haven’t noticed much here at UCM, outside of mass consumption of alcohol and the use of marijuana.
I don’t want to minimalize issues as I know alcoholism and marijuana use are serious problems, but I’ve struggled with addictions myself.
I won’t go into explicit details outside of needing cigarettes and Full Throttle to function, but help is available no matter what the addiction is right here on campus.
The Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention is located in the Administration Building room 102 and is available via phone at 660-543-8015 or e-mail at [email protected]