I met Jake my freshman year of college. He was my RC (resident counselor) and he lived right across the hall from my roommate and me. I remember how cheerful he was when we first moved in. But by the second semester, I was already starting to notice his mood was changing. It seemed like he was constantly unhappy and irritable, and whenever I would ask him if he was alright he would just brush me off. Soon he started disappearing for days at a time. When I did see him, he would either seem really excited and happy, or he would be even more irritable than before. There were rumors going around my dorm that he had been doing a lot of coke. Because we had become pretty good friends during the first semester, I felt I should try to talk to him about what was going on in his life. Since the job of a freshman RC is to help guide new students in the right direction, I found all this to be quite ironic. I tried my best to get through to Jake, but he wouldn't listen. Eventually I just gave up, which was my biggest mistake. Looking back, I wish I wouldn't have lost hope so easily. I should have spoken to someone else at my school. To my knowledge, even with all the classes he was missing, Jake was still passing everything. He was very bright, and because of this I think he managed to slip under most people's radars. By the end of the semester, Jake was essentially a walking zombie. He had stopped sleeping and though he was now usually at our dorm, he spent the majority of his time just pacing our hallway nervously or mindlessly watching television in the common room. Going to a college in New England, when summer finally came everything seemed to brighten up. Somehow I let myself believe that Jake was getting better, whether it was the warm weather or just because I was so used to his behavior, I don't know. I didn't hear from him at all during summer vacation. When I got back to school this year, I found out Jake had gotten into heroin back in his hometown in Iowa. I didn't even know they had hard drugs in that part of the country. Apparently he was speed-balling (using cocaine and heroin together) and his heart just stopped. The school barely acknowledged his passing, probably because they were embarrassed that a student could die from hard drugs at such a prestigious college.I've written this up because I want other people to know that if they have a friend they're worried about, they need to help him or her. Even if it means talking to school officials or other adults, and even if it seems like it will only complicate things- it will be for the better. The longer you let these things go on, the deeper your friend will dig himself or herself into a hole. Rest in PeaceRC Jake 8/24/84 - 7/21/05
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