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Oxentine wins A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition essay contest

Submitted

During the month of October, the A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition conducted an essay contest to raise awareness of National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.
The organization asked the high school and middle school to allow students to participate in the contest.
“The topic was clear and to the point,” said Heather Sanders with A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition.
“Why are you inspired to live Drug Free?
The reply was inspiring as 15 students submitted essays with three awarded recognition for their work.
First Place: Gracie Oxentine, 11th grade; Second Place: Dillon Long, 12th grade; and Honorable Mention: Kassidy Biestek.
“Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all who participated,” Sanders said.
Please enjoy first place winner Junior Gracie Oxentine’s submission below.

Why I Choose to be Drug Free?

My history with drugs stems all the way back to my childhood. Growing up I was raised by my grandparents. I knew the battle of addiction my parents faced, despite my grandparents’ tries of keeping it all hidden away from me. I would constantly hear from friends, family, and strangers of what my parents were choosing to do. Although, me being so young I did not truly understand. Being drug free means so much more to me than just the addict part of it all.
When one becomes addicted to any type of substance, it’s like they almost become someone else. Drugs take a toll on the body, the mind, relationships, friendships, and most importantly family. When an addict uses, they do not just hurt themselves, they hurt everyone around them that loves and cares for them. Seeing someone you care for addicted and using is heartbreaking, while also terrifying.
I have watched my grandmother cry hoping her babies are somewhere safe because they have not answered their phones. I have cried with my siblings about choices that were not in our control. I have seen first hand how drugs can hurt not only the user, but everyone close to the user as well. I have seen my parents spiral back out of control, but I have also seen them sober. I have seen them be the best version of themselves, and that is the version any child, friend, or family member should see.
That is why I choose to be drug free, and why I am inspired to stay that way.