Hazel – P.E.A.S.E. Academy Class of 2020

Hazel started drinking when she was 10-years-old and started smoking weed with her sister’s friends, the summer before 6th grade. She also took opioids that summer, creating a need for money that prompted her to take medication from the medicine cabinet to sell at school.

As a result, Hazel’s mom, who had been physically abused by her husband, sent her daughter to live with him, a drug addict and felon, for rehabilitation. At the time, he was doing heroin. Hazel’s dad abused her in many ways, including breaking her jaw and fracturing her eye socket. He forced her to drink alcohol in an effort to make her unaware of what was happening to her.

Hazel went to parties and got into fights, was arrested for assault, burglary, grand larceny, and shoplifting. She served six months in jail for a combination of all of them. At this point, she was in junior high, and was severely depressed.

Hazel started doing heroin at age 12 and kept on doing it until she was 15. She prostituted herself for money to pay for her $200/day habit, had multiple arrests, and overdosed several times. At the end of 8th grade, her father’s abuse escalated because he found out she was stealing pills that he had hidden in cereal boxes and was eating his food, so he threw her down the stairs.

Compelled to leave her dad’s house, but in fear of leaving her three siblings behind, she went back to her mom’s and to her district high school, where old middle school friends were now doing drugs. Hazel was doing lines of cocaine on her desk and shooting heroin in the school bathroom. She encouraged her friends to do heroin. “Some of them died as a result,” says Hazel, “and I will live with that forever.” 

Hazel’s cocaine addiction stirred up anger and rage, leading her to hit and bruise her mom and run outside barefoot in the winter cold and hide in a stolen car, leading to an arrest for grand theft auto. She stole her mom’s painkillers, did opioids, drank and did acid at school,” To gain the sympathy of my teachers, I told them my dad died,” said Hazel. Finally, a school counselor told her she needed to get help, or she would die and convinced her to go to treatment

Hazel got sober and came to P.E.A.S.E. Academy. Soon after, she relapsed, overdosed and found her way back to P.E.A.S.E. She apologized to her friends and her drug counselor who said he was proud of her for “owning it.” Hazel has been sober for a year and a half and she credits P.E.A.S.E. for her recovery. “It’s a place where you can thrive,” she says. “I didn’t think I would graduate high school or make friends. Adults have always said bad things about me, but not here. I’m rough on the edges, but soft inside. These people are my family and they protect me.”