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by Alexandra Nicholas, Goose in the Gallows Contributor For young people looking to escape home life, depression, abuse, or to loosen up, fit in with their peers, to feel like their idols, the choice to do drugs, especially opioids, may seem to be a great one. Underage binge drinking is actually at a decreasing level right now. Alcohol can tire you out, and blackout, stumbling drunk isn’t a good look on anybody. The effect of intoxication doesn’t last too long, either before your body metabolizes the alcohol or you vomit it right back up. Alcohol is a numbing solution and makes you forget. Alcohol also has a lot of calories. Young people post a lot of pictures to themselves to Snapchat and Instagram, and they want to look good. Avoiding alcohol in large quantities prevents an unwanted weight gain. Drugs have a longer lasting effect. People want to remember feeling good…

My middle school had a motto: “No place for hate.” The motto was not strictly enforced. I transferred to that school, and I was told every day of 8th grade to go back to the rival school I had transferred from. “Go back to Wilson where you belong,” “You’re a Wilson kid, and we don’t like Wilson kids.” Not many students made an effort to make me feel welcome. My previous school was known for being affluent and preppy, while my new school was much more rural. I joined Future Farmers of America and got to visit farms and learn new things. I loved being around animals often, something that wasn’t available at my old school. Block scheduling meant we only spent a few minutes of the day in the hallways, so not many taunts or things were thrown at me between classes. However, I was cyberbullied a lot in…

Alina Sheykhet was an ambitious, beautiful 20-year-old University of Pittsburgh student studying to become a physical therapist. She excelled at singing, dancing, and gymnastics. Alina lived together with her best friends in a house near Pitt where the aspiring students supported one other with their goals. The Sheykhet family moved to Pennsylvania from Russia to give their children the best in life. Those plans evaporated on October 8, when Alina’s ex-boyfriend, Matthew Darby, selfishly took away her bright future for the sole reason that he wasn’t a part of it. Darby faced numerous charges filed against him earlier this year including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault. His release from the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg basketball team likely stemmed for his frequent run-ins with the law. Zach Brander, a close friend, and roommate of Sheykhet recalled a chilling incident on September 20, which was after Alina ended her relationship with…

Like many others, I was deeply saddened to hear about the recent suicide of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. He was a man with such immense talent, a multifaceted voice……, and now he is gone. You could feel the emotion in his voice and his lyrics. You could connect with Linkin Park’s music when you were feeling lost, regret, or depressed. Ironically, the music of Linkin Park addressed mental health issues. But what gets me is this. Linkin Park’s music is widely known, with many of their songs garnering commercial and critical success, playing endlessly on the radio. I remember one summer where you heard “Numb” at least once an hour (along with “Rock Your Body”) just about everywhere I went all summer long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXYiU_JCYtU Linkin Park’s admiration gave way to other songs about depression and suicide making the Top 40. So if depression and suicide are fair game for discussion on…