Countless people have asked me "What happened to Onterrio Smith?" I have heard every "Whizzinator" joke possible. They were funny to so many people, but not to me. Onterrio was my college roommate, good friend, and one of the most talented football players I have ever seen. Now, he is a legend in Sacramento High School football, and legendary for his fall from grace. He came from a broken home in the projects of Sacramento to be a football star at Grant HS. He attended the University of Tennessee and was an immediate star, but kicked out for drugs and transferred to the University of Oregon where I met him. He is one of the most likable and charismatic people I have ever met. He was the best running back in the 2003 draft but slipped to the 4th round because of "character issues" stemming from drug use.
Addiction has no socio-economic or cultural bias. It can happen to any family. It can happen to people who may seem to be on the top of the world and have everything to live for. Darryl Strawberry, Stanley Wilson Sr., Ken Caminiti, Michael Irvin, Eddie Griffin, and Len Bias are a short list of athletes who have been victims of addiction. My friend and teammate who had the potential to be one of the best running backs in the NFL is a sad example of how drugs can ruin a life and career.
I watch a show on A&E called Intervention. The show is a video documentary about addiction. A camera crew follows alcoholics, drug addicts, and people with OCD, eating disorders and other addictions around; but those featured on the show do not know that they will soon face an intervention by their family. After the intervention, the addicts either elect to immediately enter a treatment facility or face alienation from those who they love. It is a great show but its very sad to see how bad addiction affects not only the addict but the toll it takes on their families and loved ones.
I believe no one wants to be a drug addict. I think people like using drugs and alcohol because of the feeling you get from it, but no one can want to be like the people on the show. The people featured on the show are at the bottom near rock bottom. People begin using drugs for all types of reasons and they never think they will end up meth, crack, heroine, prescription pill or alcohol addicts. After watching intervention, seeing famous people fall victim to addiction, and watching my friend's life and career tailspin out of control I have but one thing to say: Just say no!!! Making one bad decision can shatter your dreams, ruin your life, and/or kill you.