Lansing, Mich (WLNS)– 1,500 students filled Okemos High School’s gymnasium this morning for an emotional presentation about addiction.
Okemos native, Corey Warren, is the CEO and President of WAI-IAM, Inc. and Rise Recovery Community.
Warren suffered for years from drug and alcohol abuse. After being clean for eight years, he now shares his story with high-schoolers in Michigan in hopes of breaking the stigma surrounding addiction.
“It’s important to start targeting this population to be able to get them educated as they continue to get older, to not go down the same road that I did,” Warren said.
The “StraightTALK” presentation highlights Warren’s recovery from a chronic heroin and alcohol addiction. It also exposes the audience to the gut-wrenching misery of the co-dependency and agony his family faced during the years of addiction.
Attendees not only heard from Warren himself, but also from his mom, Jacque Liebner about what she went through as a single parent, and how the two of them overcame Warren’s addiction.
“I don’t think you know what you’re experiencing until you look back on it. You just do what’s in front of you, you do the best you can. Life doesn’t come with a handbook,” Liebner said.
Liebner and Warren said the most important thing when it comes to addiction is talking about it.
“We can talk about the fact that we’re struggling and our loved ones are struggling and looking for help– help is hard to find because we won’t talk about it,” Liebner said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 41 percent of high school students in Michigan have used Marijuana, 5 percent higher than the national average, and 5 percent have reported using cocaine.
“In high school, I don’t think anyone thought that that was happening, but now, yeah I think finally the administration is saying we gotta get something in here and start talking to these kids,” Warren said.
Another StraightTALK presentation will be held at the Okemos High School Auditorium on October 15th. It will provide parents and the community more in-depth details about what addiction and recovery look like. The event is free and open to the public. More details about the event can be found here.