From Pot to Heroin to Jail Time – An 18-Year-Old Speaks of his Downward Spiral with Drugs
August 31st, 2009 by Liza Wiemer


I Hope You Can Learn Something From My Story

By Ben Coplin, age 18


A Heroin User

A Heroin User

My downward spiral started when I was fourteen.  I had been in and out of ten different school settings since 3rd grade for being oppositional with teachers, not doing the work, and distracting other students from learning.  Having ADHD didn’t help.  What led up to my downward spiral was sixteen months of hell at a place that was supposed to be a therapeutic boarding school (a school for troubled teens).  I was thirteen and placed in a group of fifteen to eighteen year olds.  I was the scapegoat and was mentally abused constantly. I also got the  x@##@!!  kicked out of me and was physically punished for things I often did not do.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not an angel.


I graduated from the boarding school program and came home around the time I turned fifteen.  I smoked pot a week after I got home.  It was the best stress reliever ever and that was when I fell in love with “Mary Jane.”  (Mary Jane is another name for pot.)  I smoked before school, during school, after school, and before I would go to sleep.  I would wake up at night, take a piss, and take a hit to fall back to sleep.  


I used pot to escape from my awful memories of boarding school.  I started hanging out with a different group of kids and began using a lot of LSD to see how far from earth I could get, if that makes sense. I liked seeing the parallel universe.


When I was almost sixteen I was put on juvenile probation for resisting arrest.  I was eating valium like candy and drinking way too much.  I don’t remember much besides walking down icy stairs and two cops falling on top of me.   Because I was on probation I had to go for drug tests.  (Failing a test meant finishing off my sentence.) I started using oxycontin because I felt the need to escape from myself.  Oxy doesn’t stay in the system as long as pot,  so I got away with passing a few drugs tests.  But not for too long.  I spent two weeks in juvenille detention.  I kept having bad dreams about my boarding school experience; it still haunts me today.  Oxy soon turned into sticking a needle in my arm three times a day or more.  I would shoot up  oxy, morphine, and heroin every day.  I not only became addicted to opiates, but addicted to the needle.  I loved the thrill of the process of getting high.  It was a sad existence.  Heroin was my new escape; it was like the warmest blanket on the coldest day….


I started missing school to get heroin.   Everything in my life revolved around it.  My group of friends eventually were only opiate users.  I tried to hide my problem from everyone else because I was so embarrassed.  I sold drugs to support my habit and soon realized I was a junkie.  


I’m writing this dressed in an orange jumpsuit, using a flexible pen while sitting on a three inch thick mat that I would not even call a mattress.  It has a built-in pillow.


Kids, I am now facing 16 1/2  years for selling drugs just to support my habit.  I’ll leave you with these words to wrap your mind around. Because of my drug use I lost relationships with my family to the point where there were none.  I was overdosing and nearly dying two times a month.  I would get so dope-sick I could not get out of bed.  I would lie all the time to cover up my addiction.  I thank my Mom for saving me.  She turned a needle in to my Probation Officer the day before my eighteenth birthday (early June, 2009).  If she didn’t I don’t think I would even be writing this, as a matter of fact I’m sure of it.


Note from Liza Wiemer:  I have changed Ben’s name.  I have known Ben since he was three years old.  He’s been more fortunate than most kids in this situation.  He has loving parents who have done everything they could think of (and then some) to help him.  The mom is one of the strongest, most courageous, most incredible human beings I know.  Most people would think that Ben came from a messed up family – but he didn’t.  He made poor choice, after poor choice, after poor choice despite hundreds of opportunities from loving adults (numerous professionals) who wanted to help him.  Ben has many amazing qualities, is very likable, and kind when he’s not on drugs.  He is still so young.  Can a person receive a 101 chances, 102, 103?  We hope so.  Your comments on Ben’s honest and heartfelt perspective would be deeply appreciated – encouragement too.  So, please take a few minutes and let him know what you think.  

2 Responses  
Leslie s writes:
August 31st, 2009 at 11:50 pm

If my son didn’t do many of the things mentioned in this article, I would not have believed ben’s story . I have spent the last 4 years wondering if my son will overdose or get himself killed. He too started with pot and eventually graduated to oxycontin and finally heroin . When he overdosed on 12/24/08, he nearly died.
He has slowly come to terms with the reality of his situation.
He has been to rehab and the psych hospital so many times that I cannot count them all. I cannot understand what is causing young people to abuse drugs to this extent. I wish I had been prepared to deal with this nightmare . It took me many years to stop trying to fix my son and allow him to experience the natural consequences of his conduct. It doesn’t help that there is a) no consistency among psychiatrists and social workers about treating young drug addicts, and b) the complete inability of our schools and local government to assist.
This is a gigantic problem that is chronic, severe, and debilitating yet families are left to their own devices when faced with fixing this nightmare. Ben, I can see that you are on your way to recovery. It doesn’t take very long to get addicted but it sure ties time to heal. This is deadly business. I hope that our society will devote some care and attention to this issue

M.R. writes:
September 3rd, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I recently met Ben’s mom and agree with Liza that she is incredibly strong as she continues to be supportive, caring and involved in Ben’s journey.
I have met Ben as well! As he struggles with the impact of his situation, it amazes me to witness how sensitive he is to the feelings of others in his environment as he shows empathy for their challenges and celebrates their joys.
Ben is very focused on getting his life on track and has strong feelings about keeping others from repeating his mistakes as evidenced by his sincere blog post.
I wish him well and know that he can do what it takes to get there!

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