I’m Terrified of Needles but I Have Plenty of Tattoos and Scars

Addict is looking at the needle

Each of the tattoos I have on my arms and body all tell separate stories of my journeys through life, the places I come from, the people I love, even the music I have written. They all mean something to me and are things I can be proud of. Dispersed around my tattoos are scars. A lot of them. All from IV heroin and cocaine abuse. I used for almost 8 years and never went a day without some sort of something in my system. I am thankful every day that I was able to come out of such heavy usage alive. Did you know that since 1999 750,000 people have died from drug overdoses and 2 out of every 3 deaths were due to opioids? Think about that for a moment and then consider that the statistic above does not even include synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and people are dying every day from this epidemic that is sweeping not only our nation but the entire world. I find it interesting all the urgency that has come with the Coronavirus and how every country is taking every precaution needed to prevent the virus from spreading. Not to make light of that situation, but did anyone notice that we have had an opioid crisis continually getting worse for the last twenty-plus years at least?

After I cleaned my life up and made the changes I needed to make, I decided to take a job in the field of recovery helping people like me get better and return to their families and loved ones a whole new person that isn’t dependent on drugs or alcohol to get them through the struggles of life. I personally see what this epidemic is doing to the world every single day. I have lost some very close friends and good people to overdoses and quite frankly I am growing tired of attending the funerals of friends I walked to get my diploma with and people I loved.

Addiction takes hold in people from every background, ethnicity, gender and age. It does not discriminate against anyone or any field including doctors, lawyers, athletes, actors, singers, writers, drivers, fighters, etc. People of all shapes and sizes battle with addiction daily and you probably don’t even realize it until the problem has gotten out of hand. It’s unfortunate because many times it will be someone that is truly a good person who gets caught in a web in which they don’t know how to escape. Whether it’s from an accident that led to prescription pain killers or medications given for a routine surgery that caused the hook, addiction is created in many forms.

“Have you ever looked at your loved ones or friends and thought to yourself that maybe there is something that they aren’t telling you, something they are holding back?”

The scars on my arm tell just as many stories as my tattoos do, and while they aren’t always as pleasant, they do end with the story of redemption. Have you ever looked at your loved ones or friends and thought to yourself that maybe there is something that they aren’t telling you, something they are holding back? Well, it’s very possible that you are correct, that they are struggling and don’t know what to do. They could very well feel trapped, alone or like nobody would understand. This can sometimes be even scarier than using itself, being judged or looked at differently because of the struggles that come with addiction. Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at those we love and care about and make sure they are truly doing okay. If it turns out that they do need help, please reach out.

Jordan M.—Narconon Suncoast Graduate



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.