Opioid addiction affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Music artist Tin Tenn’s addiction started when he was just 13 years old.
The Memphis, Tenn., native had several ways of feeding his addiction. At first, he was prescribed pain medication from doctors. He later moved on to stealing from his mother’s medicine cabinet, as well as buying drugs from friends and dealers. The now-24-year-old says his curiosity led him to try any drug he could get his hands on.
“It got to a point where I thought I needed the pills to survive, and I was willing to do anything,” he said. “It brought me to a lot of dangerous places with dangerous people. It brought me to homelessness, jails and institutions. The only thing left was death.”
His secrets came out when he turned 16. The teenager was caught skipping school and was handed a felony charge for selling weed. His parents, he says, weren’t sure what to do with him.
“I made my parents worry about me constantly. I’d go days without calling them, even at a young age.”
Over the next few years, the problems worsened. The teen was frequently in and out of jail and rehab, causing more frustration with his parents and uncertainty about his future.
One thing was certain in his life, however – his love for music. When he was 15, he wrote his first rap song and was hooked. His decadelong struggle with addiction would eventually bring him to his knees, but his music would become his escape and help him along in the healing process.
“I reached a point where I was tired of the lifestyle,” he said about his addiction. “I was so depressed, I couldn’t leave the house, and was running out of prescriptions constantly trying to change the way I felt. It was insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I decided to get help.”
The musician turned his struggle with addiction into music.
“My experience with drugs influenced my music heavily,” he said. “I felt so free putting the words down on paper.”
Fortunately, his decision to get help saved his life. He has been clean and sober since Aug. 8, 2016.
The musician wants others to be aware of how powerful prescription drugs can be.
“I want people to know that, just because a doctor prescribes you something, doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous or not addictive. You need to have that dialogue with your doctor if you’re being put on a narcotic.”
Listen to Tin Tenn’s song “Lucid Dreams” here, which was inspired by his experiences as an addict.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, find the resources to help here.