When Dallas resident, Brandon Rogers, overdosed on heroin at 24, his family felt called to become advocates for addiction awareness and recovery. Brandon’s mother, Angie, is especially determined to break the silence about substance abuse so there can be an end to the drug and alcoholic epidemic that has claimed her son’s life.
Currently, more than 21% of 18-21 year olds meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder, according to the Association of Recovery in Higher Education. The Rogers family has been promoting an increased awareness about addiction to Dallas by rappelling down 50 stories of the Reunion Tower, which raised $10,000 for the national nonprofit, Shatterproof.
Brandon’s drug and alcohol addiction wasn’t a secret prior to his death, in fact his parents were both instrumental in his recovery process. His mother even started a weekly prayer group next door to the 24 Hour Club in East Dallas, where Brandon was living sober for four and a half months. Unfortunately, shortly after one of Brandon’s friends died of an overdose, he abandoned sobriety was eventually found dead of a heroin overdose.
Brandon’s mother worked through her grief by helping others who suffered as her son did. She now talks to parents and students about drugs, alcohol, and the devastating dangers that come with them. Angie was also able to get The Collin County Aggie Mom’s Club to help fund a scholarship named after Brandon in order to help one Aggie student recover from their struggle with substance abuse.
Change is happening. Texas is unique with how rapidly student recovery activities and programs are sprouting up on college campuses. Within the last few years, service projects and social activities are being planned at the Aggie Recovery Community at Texas A&M to keep students connected. There has been a dramatic increase in recovery programs throughout the nation’s college campuses since 2012 – from 20 programs to more than 170! At the high school level, there are currently 35 recovery high schools, with half a dozen more being planned – including one which will open in San Antonio this fall.
Hopefully as the number of students who applaud sobriety and encourage recovery grow, the number of student deaths due to the opioid epidemic will fall.
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