True Stories

  • Leigh Jones's Story

    Ashleigh reached recovery as a young adult and was able to graduate at the top of her class with both her bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Katharine Stuart's Story

    "I grew up in the suburbs of Indiana. I attended private schools and overall had an amazing childhood. I started experimenting with drugs at 15 years old and by age 18, I tried heroin for the first time."
  • Michael Waggoner's story

    Michael's substance misuse resulted in multiple overdoses and run-ins in with the law. Today, he's in recovery focusing on rebuilding relationships with his family and being a positive influence for his son.
  • Honesty L's Story

    Honesty started using drugs at 12 years old. She's been in recovery since 2007, and is now helping others as a CEO of a non-profit recovery resource foundation.
  • Bertrand B's story

    Bertrand started misusing substances when he was only 9 years old. Today he is in recovery and works as an advocate for young people.
  • Victoria's Story

    Victoria's substance misuse began before she went to college. While on campus at Emory University in Georgia she helped start the school's recovery community.

    I chose the wrong path with drugs and alcohol and now that I am in recovery I have to deal with the choices that I made while using everyday for the rest of my life. I destroyed my family, friends and my life. I have been in jail many times, had thousands of dollars in fines, inpatient rehab, car crashes and watched my friends die. If only I had chosen not to take the first drink or drug, my life would be totally different. My advice is not to let other people make choices for you. Life is so much better without drugs and alcohol.
  • TRUE STORY: Jordan Cole Lunsford

    After using heroin once, Jordan died.  He was a good kid, a happy kid, a kid that was going through a rough moment and his bad choice and the company he kept that night was a recipe for his death.
  • True Story: Telisha Lockwood

    After battling drug addiction since she was a teenager, Telisha is now in recovery.
  • True Story: Jeremy B.

    Jeremy started his drug use with marijuana, then moved on to heroin. Read his recovery story.
  • True Story: Kristina

    Kristina, who is currently in recovery, struggled with opioid addiction for years.
  • Hailey Hesch, New Mexico

    At age 19, Hailey is recovering from years of heroin abuse at a treatment center in New Mexico.
  • 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.
  • 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 Marie Heptig, 17

    Ecstasy caused Chelsea to go unconscious and have powerful seizures. 
  • Jeremy Traylor, 18

    Jeremy was 80 days sober before deciding to try OxyContin one more time.
  • Matthew McKinney, 17

    Matthew was full of adventure, mischief and zest for life but things changed when he got addicted to drugs.
  • Cassie Haydal, 18

    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.
  • Nick and Jack Savage, Indiana

    These two brothers made an unfortunate decision that cost them their lives.
  • Rachel Thraxton, Recovering, Charleston, West Virginia

    For years Rachel was addicted to alcohol, pills and heroin.  Find out what advice she offers to young people.
  • William “Will” Christian Doerhoff, 20, Arkansas

    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, 22

    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.
  • Adam Moser, 27, Portsmouth, N.H.

    Adam Moser was popular, adventurous, athletic, a college grad, a top fisherman and a World War II history buff who fluently spoke French. In 2015, he died at age 27 after overdosing on the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl.
  • Connor Eckhardt, 19

    Connor Eckhardt was your typical California teen who enjoyed surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. But July 11, 2014 was not your typical day and was the worst day imaginable for Connor and his family. On that day, Connor inhaled one hit, just one hit, of a synthetic drug known as Spice or K2, and slipped into a coma and never woke up again. Connor was just 19 years old at the time of his death.
  • Laura Hope Laws, 17

    Laura was an active church youth group member, a star varsity soccer player, and kind to many people. However, a prescription painkiller to treat a sports injury eventually led to her heroin addiction, and ultimately, an overdose on morphine, cocaine and alcohol.
  • Ian Brown, 21

    Ian began abusing opioid-based prescription drugs in high school and switched to black-tar heroin because it was cheaper and easier to obtain. After the first time he tried it, he couldn't stop. He went in and out of rehab and tried desperately to become clean, but he eventually overdosed.
  • Daniel Katz, 25

    Daniel's drug problems began in high school with marijuana and alcohol. It later included prescription pills and cocaine, both of which would claim his life.
  • Montana Sean Brown, 15

    Montana and his brothers thought they would have some fun trying LSD for the first time while their parents were out of town. Instead, the freshman football player took a deadly, clandestinely-made synthetic version that killed him.
  • Taylor Hooton, 17

    Taylor just wanted to make the varsity baseball team, and steroids had been recommended to him as a way to get bigger faster.
  • Ryan Haight, 18

    Ryan died from an overdose of prescription drugs he purchased online. He had loved math and science, and was an “A” student who was looking forward to going to college.
  • Mark Bauer, 18

    Mark was a good kid from a caring family. He occasionally drank beer and had tried marijuana on several occasions, but he never let on to his parents that he was also abusing prescription drugs.
  • Jason Surks, 19

    As a pre-pharmacy major, Jason probably felt he knew more about prescription drugs than he actually did. He evidently thought he was being safe, but he overdosed on prescription drugs.
  • Irma Perez, 14

    Irma was a 14-year-old girl from Belmont, California who took an Ecstasy pill. She became sick immediately—vomiting and writhing in pain—yet her friends did not seek medical help for her.
  • Ian Eaccarino, 20

    One September morning, Ian’s mother found him dead in his bed of an accidental heroin overdose.
  • Efrain Marrero, 19

    Efrain began using steroids, under the impression that it would make him bigger, stronger, faster, and earn him the title and recognition he so much desired on the football field.
  • David Manlove, 16

    David was looking forward to the summer. He found a job, earning money to buy a car and trying to win back some of his parents’ trust. But his continued desire to get high was very powerful, more powerful than anyone knew, even himself.
  • David Pease, 23

    Dave had spent most of his teen years looking for answers about himself in a mixture of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol. He would eventually turn to cocaine as well.