Jeremy Hunt speaks about dangers of drugs at EHS
Jeremy Hunt visited Emery High and spoke to the sophomores, juniors and seniors in three sessions. Hunt spoke to the students about the dangers of impaired driving and drug use.
Principal Larry Davis said he had attended a fireside in Emery along with Dixie Fielder and heard Jeremy Hunt speak there. His is a remarkable story and Principal Davis thought it would be beneficial to the students of Emery High to hear Hunt's story.
Sheriff Greg Funk was also instrumental in helping bring Hunt to the school. He said, "I first met Jeremy on July 20, 2010 when he had been involved in an accident and I was working as a highway patrolman. He has an important message to share. I want you to know the decisions you make impact others. Every decision you make now will have an impact later in life."
Hunt began by telling the students how much he enjoys the month of March. There is basketball and March madness, his birthday, shed horn hunting and it's an exciting time of year. "There was a time when those things didn't mean anything to me. One in seven teens have an addiction problem. I have struggled with an addiction problem. One day my therapist told me for the next five days to try to stop the sun from coming up. I thought she was crazy. So I tried. I was strung out on drugs, but I knew I couldn't stop the sun from rising. It always came up. I called her and she didn't answer, she called me back and asked how it went. How do you think it went, the sun always came up. It didn't go well. She asked me when was the last time you put that much effort into stopping taking drugs. People from every walk of life struggle with addiction problems. Drugs aren't racist, they choose everyone.
"I was born on March 17, 1983 and raised in Helper, I have one younger brother. I have amazing parents.
"They are conservative, they didn't drink or smoke. They are hard working and smart. I was spoiled. I went to Helper Junior High. I didn't get good grades, but I was consistent at Cs. I went to Carbon High, where I was athletic. I had never been in trouble. I never thought about drugs. On my 16th birthday, a friend introduced me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I joined the church. I went on a mission to the Missouri St. Louis Mission and I became a district leader. I was bit by a tick. I took the medicine as prescribed. I developed heart problems and had to leave my mission early. I was upset I couldn't complete my mission. I remembered the feelings I had experienced when taking the prescribed drugs. I began using more than was prescribed. The drugs were powerful. I felt like a stud. I felt like I was under control. I met a girl and we planned and we set a goal to get married in the temple. My mind was fuzzy. We called off the wedding. I moved to California and started using marijuana and selling it. One day I was jumped by two people in the Wal-mart parking lot. They beat me. People stepped over me going into the store. When I got out of the hospital there was a note on my door that if I didn't leave California I would be killed. So I came back home. I started to go to CEU. I denied having a drug problem.
"I met someone and became engaged again. When she discovered my drug problem, she broke it off. I was using and abusing pills. I was having black-outs. Other students noticed I had a problem and tried to get me some help.
"I went into rehab for 30 days and the school allowed me the time off without affecting my grades. Things were going well. In the summer of 2005 I was playing basketball and injured my arm and foot and they gave me morphine. I started abusing my meds. I was addicted. I was at a rave by Wendover where a stabbing occurred. I discovered oxycontin. I fell in love with it. I faked the severity of my injuries. I lied to get drugs. I overdosed on Christmas Eve in 2005. I had no job, no money. I would lie and steal. My life was unmanageable. I tried to stop. I pawned all my things. My family wouldn't support me any more. I sold my car to buy oxycontin. I had nowhere to live. No friends worth having, no life, no reason to live. During that time an acquaintance of mine introduced me to heroin. I smoked heroin for two weeks straight. A friend found me and forced me to rehab. I went on a seven day detoxification program. It was awful, coming off heroin. It's a big deal. There was no worse feeling. I admitted I had a problem.
"They put me on an opiate blocker. If I used any opiate drug I would become very sick. I took it for three years with no problems and I was feeling strong and confident. I know now I was being prideful. Then I tore my ACL, I was prescribed a muscle relaxer. I told the doctor I had had a problem with drugs. I took one of the pills and 20 minutes later I took another one. Drugs had devastating effects on my nervous system. On July 20, 2010, I was scheduled for an MRI on my knee. I woke up at 6 a.m. and reached for my pills. I only had a couple left. I had a couple of errands to run and then stopped by the pharmacy in Castle Dale to pick up my prescription. I took two pills there. I went and gassed up. I remember heading to Price and I remember passing Huntington Lake. But I didn't remember anything else. I didn't remember my name. I didn't know what had happened. A highway patrol trooper came to the hospital and told me I was involved in an accident. He talked to someone on the phone, then he told me I had hit a motorcyclist and he, Glen Silvas had passed away. It all felt like a dream, it didn't feel real. What an overwhelming impact this had. A father, husband, grandfather, friend, brother and uncle and he's not here because of me.
"Drugs are like the modern mess of pottage. Souls are sold because of drugs. Since 1980 deaths due to drugs have risen. Only 20 percent of addicts fully recover. People are affected for the rest of their lives. Addiction is a disease you never recover from. When you have addiction, the symptoms will remain, the memory loss, the cravings. I will have triggers where I will still think about drugs. Eighty percent of drug addicts will relapse. I have been clean since that day, July 20, 2010. I lost everything due to that accident. I had no place to live. No friends that I felt worthy to hang out with. But, I didn't turn back to drugs. Einstein said either everything is a miracle, or nothing is a miracle," said Hunt.
Hunt says he chooses to think that everything is a miracle and he asked the students what miracles they have in there lives. Mr. Davis said he had a grandchild that was 1.6 pounds when born and spent a year in the hospital, and is now a healthy third grader and that is a miracle to him.
Sheriff Funk said his children are miracles to him.
Hunt said he didn't know Joey Stream, but he has heard of his accident and remarkable recovery and that is a miracle. The sun will come up every day. Grab ahold of those miracles. It's a miracle I survived my accident.
"You guys can live life to your whole potential. You don't have to go through what I did. Never start taking drugs. Just don't. I had a bright future, but I dropped out. I was engaged twice, but now I'm alone. I had surgeries I didn't need. I have multiple health problems now. I spent a year in jail. I hurt my family and friends. I decided to stop doing drugs. It's best never to start, it's almost impossible to quit, don't meet evil halfway. Don't be afraid to stand up and help someone who might have a problem. You can make a difference. Tell them it's wrong. They will be thankful you did some day," said Hunt.
Hunt said he's been out of jail for two and a half months now, he has some job prospects. His relationship with his family is better now than it has been. Hunt was asked where his drug abuse all started and he said it hinged back to where he was disappointed he couldn't finish his mission and he started abusing his medication.
Hunt said he still suffers with cravings now and things will pop into his head. He was asked if there was anything anyone could have said or done that could have made a difference when he was abusing drugs. He said as addicts go through recovery their views change. At the time, there wasn't anything anyone could say or do, but the longer he stays sober, the more he sees people really did try to help him and he was in rehab twice. But, when you're totally addicted the next fix is all you think about. You don't admit to yourself that you have a problem.
"Jail is horrible, but I wouldn't be here today without that time I spent there," said Hunt. He was asked how he gets his mind off drugs. Hunt said it's really hard and you just have to deal with it, you can't block it out. He likes to listen to music, but the thoughts are still there.