By Stephania Parrett
Arthur Clements died and didn’t even notice…
The 19-year-old activist now uses his story of addiction as a way to improve the lives of youth in Milwaukee. Clements started doing drugs because he said all of his friends did it. He said he felt like the odd one out so he decided to do it too. Clements’s addiction started with marijuana, but when he found out he could smoke K2 (synthetic marijuana) and pass a drug test, he decided to do that instead.
“I’m a normally energetic person, and I was just way slower. When they talked to me my words were slurred,” Clements said of how his parents found out he started using drugs. They first thought he was on marijuana but later found out it was K2.
Clements said he felt so dependent on it, that he thought he only needed it and no one else. He said his parents initially tried to help him get off of the drug, but when they realized he didn’t want to help himself, they stopped and he started to self destruct.
“I seen a lot of people’s attitudes changed towards me when I was on that drug,” Clements said.
When asked about his worst experience he said, “My worst experience wasn’t even my worst experience, it was someone else’s.” Clements continued to explain how one day he was walking up the stairs when he stopped and fell face first all the way down. He recounted that a crowd formed around him, and he didn’t have a pulse. They started doing CPR and revived him.
“And when I came up it was like I didn’t even know that just happened so I was in the same mindstate of right before I fell out,” Clements said of the experience.
As crazy as it may seem, this incident did not convince Clements to get off of the drug. He continued to use K2 until he ended up in jail for other reasons and could not smoke. After he was released, he quickly relapsed.
Finally, months later, after going to the hospital three days in a row because of hallucinations, Clements decided it was time to quit. Each time he had been in the hospital, the doctors had told him he would be okay if he stopped doing the drug.
Clements said it was at that moment that he realized, “My own actions is what’s putting me in this environment. I’m messing my mindstate up, A MIND WITH POTENTIAL.”
According to Clements, withdrawal was the worst part of ever being addicted to K2 because the drug had become such a normal part of his life.
“For three years straight I smoked a blunt to go to sleep. I wasn’t able to go to sleep for three days (after I quit),” he said.
When the K2 was leaving his system, he said he didn’t know what was going on. At one point in his withdrawal phase, he developed sleep deprived symptoms.
“It wasn’t even cold outside but my nose was cold to the point where I could have gotten frostbite from it,” Clements said of his withdrawal symptoms. He said he had to walk around with a scarf wrapped around his face, and the nerves in his left side were so shot that he was in a lot of pain.
This experience was so scarring for him, that now when he talks to people that are still on the drug he tells them, “You think the bad parts are happening while you on the drug, try to get off it.”
Clements said that despite the difficulty of quitting, he still encourages peers who may be struggling and offers them advice.
“Think about 10 years from now, the same exact thing that you doing right now: spending all your money on drugs, no home, feuding with your family, picture 10 years from now and you in the exact same place,” he said.
When asked how he felt about the plethora of drugs that are legal and easily accessible to the youth, Clements said, “I feel like they were put out there to break us… like they put drugs out there that are legal and undetectable, and they know if you’re caught on drugs you get put on probation, so it’s all thought of.”
Clements passionately expressed that he felt drugs were put out there to destroy certain people. He referenced the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80’s and how it broke the black community for a while.
Now as an activist in his community, Clements volunteers at youth centers and is a part of different community organizations. He goes to community events, and he is down for his city and his community.
Clements is also an aspiring artist. He writes poetry and is a rapper, which is something that motivates him everyday. As a rapper he only promotes positive vibes, doesn’t swear and stays true to himself. He said he is influenced by the people he sees on K2 and is constantly reminded of what he doesn’t want to be and what he doesn’t want to go back to.
One of the most important things that motivates Clements to stay off drugs and stay in a positive lane is the fact that he has little brothers and sisters who look up to him. He said he has to lead by example.
“I feel like every person affects everyone that’s younger than them because they give them another aspect of life,” Clements said. “I think that we all are teachers.”
Clements said he believes we can all influence those around us.
“Every action causes a reaction and everything you do affects more than just yourself,” he said. “It affects everybody.”
By Le’Nya Roberts
I believe that people abuse drugs to the next level. I also believe people abuse drugs to escape their problems. Some people say that taking drugs puts them in another mindset and they like the mindset that they are in. I firmly don’t believe that drugs are a way to escape your problems.
I’ve seen someone that I know take her life because she thought drugs were the best way to deal with life. This person I knew took pills every single day and liked the way it made her feel. Her taking those pills had a huge impact on her and her family’s life. She had children, and her children saw her every day taking the pills day after day. One day it came down to the point where her body couldn’t take them anymore.
She died a few years ago leaving behind her young children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and her mother. I don’t understand why she did what she did knowing that she had children all under the age of 18. I hope after reading this young people and older people realize that doing drugs can affect a lot of people. It will leave people here hurting and wondering why that person did what they did.
Drugs are not the answer to any problem. Drugs are not a solution. If anything, they will make the problem worse than what it already is. Now think about it: those young children all under the age of 18 have to grow up without their mother because she chose to make a poor decision and abuse drugs not thinking about her children and the possible outcome of what can happen when abusing drugs.
By Stephania Parrett
After interviewing Arthur Clements, so many new feelings and emotions came over me that made me rethink my approach of people that use and abuse drugs. One thing that stuck with me the most about Arthur’s story about drug abuse is when he told me, “My worst experience wasn’t even mine, it was somebody else’s.” He explained an incident when he actually died and people tried to bring him back to life, but nothing worked. Then his heart started beating again on its own, and he returned to his zombie-like state because he was still high off K2.
He opened my eyes to reasons why people abuse synthetic types of drugs. One of the biggest is you can pass drug test with synthetic drugs in your system. The other is that most synthetic drugs are legal and easy to find. What people do not know is that that same synthetic drug could be 10 times worse than the natural form of that drug. For example, K2 or synthetic marijuana has the potential to kill people on their first try.
I also agree with him on his point that it only takes one person to be on drugs to affect an entire community. Everybody has somebody that looks up to them so if you see your role model talking about doing drugs or actually doing drugs, you might want to try it too.
In my opinion, drugs were strategically placed in certain neighborhoods to tear communities and families apart. For example, the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80’s. I feel as if some medicines and treatment were made to keep people sick or to make them feel like they need that medicine to feel good about their health. In addition some medicines have horrible and scary side effects. It’s like, I’m going to help you solve this problem but in return I’m going to give you another problem that’s just as bad or worse. At the same time they make medicines and treatments that can actually help people illegal.
I feel like nobody should abuse drugs based off of the insane things they do to your body and mind. I would never want someone to cause harm to themselves or someone else.