A Santa Clarita heroin user comes clean

by Armani Johnson 0

In the video link above Cougar News reporter Antonio Curiel featured additional SCV families who lost loved ones due to a heroin overdose.

Carrie Coutler was only 22-years-old when she died of a heroin overdose, an addiction she had been trying to kick for four years.

In the last two years, there have been more than five deaths due to heroin, alcohol, and prescription drugs. It is probably the toughest problem the Santa Clarita Valley has had to deal with.

Although deaths due to drugs in the Santa Clarita Valley have dropped by more than half in 2013 compared to 2012, the drug is still here.

Upon interviewing a fellow COC student, I realized how quickly and easily a habit can be fallen into.

“I knew it felt good, so why not,” Julio Martinez explained.

He stated that he did ecstasy every weekend over a four-month period and a few lines of cocaine over the course of three months.

Ecstasy is a drug that produces distinctive emotional and social effects. While you’re on the pill you feel alive and happy, but coming down you feel at your lowest.

When asked why cocaine and how he got it, he simply answered; “I was around people I trusted.” His friends supplied him.

In high school you can always catch a few kids smoking marijuana in the parking lot or even before school on residential streets. For people who aren’t part of the party scene in Santa Clarita, they know that drugs and pills were easy to get.

Julios’ older siblings knew what was happening but didn’t care if he experimented and they expected it from him; with him only being 19, they weren’t too concerned because they did it at his age as well.

Often, drugs are used to bribe addicts for sexual favors by family members or friends. A local department store employee, Marlene Rodriguez, claims that her own cousin demoralized Rodriguez with a couple of bags of crystal meth to have a three-some with her and her boyfriend.

Crystal meth, also known as “white girl”, is a powerful synthetic stimulant, which is highly addictive. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected with a needle.

“She would hit me up all the time and I would do it because I wanted the high so badly, I didn’t care how I had to get it,” Marlene explained.

As a community I think we should put a stop this horrific disease that’s taking over this valley and save our youth.

Cary Quashen has been doing just that by dedicating the past 30 years of his life reaching troubled teens and dysfunctional families with the objective to pass his personal recovery experiences with drug and alcohol.

Quashen founded Action Family in 1989, Southern California. Action, a non-profit organization that helps troubled teens and dysfunctional families who suffer with addiction.

Quashen was tired of what was going on with his own life and decided that it was time for a change. He kicked his own drug habit and devoted his time and energy into those who hadn’t realized this thought just yet.

“I didn’t want to be too late for those who needed it now.”

His advice on trying drugs and being around people is that “it’s a one-way ticket to a bad ending and it not only affects your mental health but spiritual, as well.”

“It is ultimately up to you to get out, but parents/siblings have to get involved”, he said. Like Julios’ siblings just watching and not doing anything. Although he’s not hooked, yet, family members shouldn’t just stand there and watch a loved one just try something incredibly stupid.

According to Quashen, all stats show that if you intervene earlier, the greater the chance that you can save someone from the addiction.

Action Family offers a number of different treatments for families and troubled teens; two meetings a week at Canyon High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. and they are free for anyone. They also hold the same meetings at Hart High School at the same time.

Along with the meetings Action Family offer short-term stays and 30 day stays and one of their facilities. Counselors will be there and are all have knowledge from their own firsthand experiences with drugs/alcohol.

Quashen said that Action Family and William S. Hart School District are opening up a sober high school in 2014. The sober high school will allow its students to get the help and sobriety they need while also getting a good education.

Counseling will be available where teens can get an education, guidance, and get healthy.

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