It's hard enough to move to a new city, start a college career and meet a new set of friends. It's even harder when two weeks before you start a new life, your brother's life ends.

On Aug. 12, 2005, I arrived in Phoenix after driving two days from Dallas. My exciting arrival to Arizona State University was disrupted by the worst news I would ever hear. My brother Matthew had just turned 21 three months earlier when his life was taken from my family and me. He died from an accidental drug overdose of prescription drugs. His lungs filled with fluid, he bled from his nose, and no one was there to save him.

We were both going through drug abuse recovery; his was unsuccessful. We both started using drugs before high school. He loved the downers, and I was an avid user of uppers. My drug life came to an abrupt halt when I was a sophomore in high school. I came home from school one day and found Matthew unconscious in a bedroom of our house. He had overdosed on heroin and almost died that day. He would have if I had not found him. He went through intensive outpatient recovery, and we both began counseling. That was the day I decided drugs were no longer a part of my life.

Matthew began a recovery but ultimately couldn't stay away. The influence from his friends and the love of addiction pulled him back in. It has been more than two years since he left me, and I still don't want to believe it. People say it gets easier, but I have yet to experience that.

I have lost a number of friends to drug and alcohol abuse but nothing compares to the loss of my best friend, my blood, my brother. I am constantly exposed to drug use at ASU and have been able to refrain because I know the consequences. I fight the urge to make all the pain go away; I avoid the temptation and live without the high.

I am here to tell you that you are not invincible, no matter what you may think. It only takes one time, one mistake. Learning the hard way is the worst road you can take. I will never get my brother back, I will never be able to say goodbye, but I will continue to live my life. He was my light, my heart, my everything. I know he is watching down on me, making sure I make it through the day and fulfilling my dreams he can't experience with me.
  • Drug Facts
  • Xanax, or Alprazolam, is a drug in pill form which is prescribed to patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
  • Mixing Xanax with Alcohol can be deadly.
  • In Philadelphia, recently, 28 young teenagers took powerful doses of Xanax during lunch period at a middle school and 12 had to be treated at a hospital.
  • Since Xanax is so readily available some abusers may never have to pay for the drug.
  • Xanax is commonly misused to create an alcohol-like high, with feelings of euphoria and increased sociability.