In October, the Weatherford Telegram, working with IFC Wellness Coalition, co-sponsored a contest where anyone could write an essay on how drugs affected their lives and what they thought could be done to eliminate the problem. The following is the winning essay in the under 18 category. Please note that the over 18 winner will be included in an upcoming issue.Drugs. Let's just say they aren't my favorite subject.Drugs and alcohol have had a major affect on my family's life. To be honest, drugs are the reason I stand where I am at today. I would like to share my knowledge of how drugs can negatively affect things, and I hope my story can have an impact on others lives.Substance abuse is one of the paramount problems that is growing, destroying and killing daily. Luckily, many of my loved ones are still alive today.When I was still a baby, somewhere around 2-3 years old, my mom was into drugs really bad. She would have random people in and out of the house, and she was cooking drugs inside the house, where she had three children living already. Now if that doesn't say drugs can make you think in the wrong state of mind, I don't know what will.Eventually, we ended up moving out of that house and my dad wouldn't allow strange people inside. In that case, my mom started staying out with her "friends" for long hours. Somewhere along those lines, Child Protective Services (CPS) got involved. They went up to my school and started to question my sisters and me. I was only in the first grade, so I didn't really know what was going on; I only knew that we were taking all of our personal belongings and moving into granny and grandpa's house.Even though we were removed from the environment, my mom decided to stay on drugs for a while, before she had a change of mind. After a year and a half, we were finally allowed to go home. It wasn't much longer before the drugs came around again, and CPS came along with that.For round 2, me, my two oldest sisters (Ameri and Krystian), my two little sisters (Mallory and Kylie) were removed from my mom and dad. I was in fourth grade when we were taken, and I knew what was going on. I can't describe the anger I had for a long time. I knew my mom had messed up again and that she had lied to me. This time, we were admitted to go live back with mom and dad eight months later.Things were good for a while. In fifth grade, my mom got pregnant with my little brother, Rylan. When this happened, my dad knew it wasn't his child. He was always working, and my mom had her now boyfriend, Todd, living with us. Four years later, it is obvious Rylan is Todd's child. Of course, my dad knew from the start so he wanted a divorce.My parents got divorced before my fifth grade year was over. My mom moved out to Greenwood and got involved with drugs again. A couple of months later, her boyfriend ended up putting his hands on her. I honestly believe it was the drugs that made him do that, because when he is not on drugs, he is a decent man. Anyway, he got sent to jail, and my mom moved back in with us.My dad left my family, which now included Rylan, in the summer of my fifth grade year. That had a major affect on things. My sisters and I started arguing a lot and eventually we called the cops on each other. The cops contacted CPS for family violence, and we were removed again.My mom started back on drugs -again. I believe this was the worst go around with the monster my mom had. It took her over a year to realize that she needed to go to rehab and get things straightened out in life. She now has been clean for a year and a half. I am proud of her, and I hope she realizes it.In my personal opinion, I believe there isn't enough that is being done to prevent drug and substance abuse. I think society needs to do something to prevent them, something stronger than just in schools or on the news. We need to bring it to other's attention that drugs are slowly tearing people apart and hurting people as the days go on. I believe the more that people know, the better things will be. If people aren't aware of what is really caused, then nothing will ever be cured.I have smoked before and coming from someone who knows what it's like, that should say a lot. I wouldn't want for anyone to have to experience the things I have in my life. To help prevent myself and others from using drugs, I believe that stronger law enforcement and the penalty for doing any drugs would make others not want to use as much, because they might fear losing certain things in life if they get arrested or caught with drugs.I also believe that allowing students to speak their opinions on school grounds would help because many students can't say anything due to getting bullied. I think we, as students, should have the right to voice our opinions.