Actress Eliza Duskhu has come forward to the public, revealing her past struggles with addiction.
Dushku, widely recognized for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bring It On, attended the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness on March 7 to bring awareness to the opioid crisis that is currently plaguing New England—and the entire nation.
As a featured speaker at the event, Dushku spoke candidly of her experiences in sobriety. She has been sober since 2008, and first started using drugs at age 14. Now 36 years old, she considered herself both a drug addict and an alcoholic, and fought to get sober for many years.
Addressing the group of students at the event, Dushku was upfront in discussing the realities of drug addiction, stating that, “I loved the first time I took a drug because I loved how it made me feel, I loved the way it made me not feel and I didn’t have to feel. It was fun and I loved it until it wasn’t.”
While enjoying fame and success on television in her twenties, Dushku hid a private battle with addiction. Her talk with the students maintained an honest tone, as she revealed the struggles that have persisted even into her sobriety. She even recounted an occasion in 2014 in which she almost relapsed—her father, dying of cancer, dropped a pill. She resisted the urge.
The Youth Summit, hosted by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, aimed to provide education to middle and high school students. As the opioid crisis continues to swell, particularly in areas like New England, education and prevention have become more important than ever.
Jeff Allison, former pitcher for the Miami Marlins, also shared his story of recovery at the event. James Wahlberg (brother of Mark) screened his short film titled If Only, a moving piece about opioid addiction amongst teenagers and its implications.
Teenage opioid use has become increasingly common in today’s society, as children are experimenting with and misusing prescription drugs at an alarmingly early age. Programs like the Youth Summit are an important step in creating awareness surrounding the subject, allowing children an open forum where they can discuss the pressures they are facing.
With so many risks associated with opioid abuse, celebrities like Allison and Dushku have chosen to shed light in any way that will benefit future generations.
Dushku completed her speech with an impactful statement, looking out across the room of young people in the position that she once was: at a crossroads between childhood and adulthood.
“I got sober for my family, but today I’m sober for me, and I’m sober for you. Drugs and alcohol are powerful, but we are more powerful,” she said.
Watch Dushku’s speech in its entirety here (recording by WMUR).