The significant role that the Rutgers Program is playing in the fight against prescription drug and heroin abuse has helped to shape the lives of many people. Like Pam Nickisher, most teens do not even realize the dangers that they expose themselves to when they start abusing drugs. It starts with a small urge for fun then it quickly turns into an addiction. During the teenage years, most addicts often alternate between periods of being free from drugs and relapsing then going back to where they were several months back. It characterizes most of their adult lives.
Pam says that there were quite long periods when she would be clean. She even did well in college and at the law school. During these periods, she was healthy and she did well in her studies. What she does not understand is how she would get back into drugs that immediately turned her into someone she is not. She would find herself gravitating towards heroine and opiates and for much of the time; her life would be a mess. She is not alone in this because government statistics show that most young adults go through the same cycle and there is need to break it so that the community can have productive young professionals.
The good news is that through the help of many people including the Rutgers Program, she has now been drug free for six years. Reflecting on the path that she has toed for much of that period, Pam admits that she does not know how her life would be if she had not ditched drugs. She worked as a criminal investigator before she turned into a drug and alcohol counselor in order to help the young people who are in the same situation that she used to be in more than six years ago. The specialist at one of the addiction facilities in Brunswick and a founder of a nonprofit Yoga company that helps people to recover from drug disorders is a true role model to recovering addicts.
The reasons why Pam got into opiate and heroin abuse can ring a bell in the minds of most Americans. She is a trauma survivor because of the physical violence that she was exposed to when she was a child. It was not until she faced up to these experiences that she discovered how to live her life healthily without having to use drugs to cover the realities. She recently delivered a lecture at Rutgers’ Summer School focusing on addiction. During her lecture, it was obvious that the story of her past is something that many young people in this area are going through and would love to get rid of even though they believe that it is too difficult to do so.
As the summer school celebrates its 75th anniversary next year, it is important to focus on the important role that it has played in shaping the lives of people such as Pam. That she has transformed and dedicated most of her time to helping recovering addicts is a major achievement.