Feb 122004
Authors: Jesse McLain

Nate sold drugs to everyone in his high school.

“I sold to every single demographic, from the girl driving the

BMW to the poor kid taking the city bus to school,” said Nate,

using his first name for legal reasons. “It was easy for everyone

to get.”

He has learned that the decisions he made in high school

affected his later life much more than he ever could have


Nate attended a southeast Denver high school with approximately

4,000 students.

“There are very few people who take their first drink here, they

usually have it long before,” said Ernie Chavez, head of CSU

psychology department. “When you graduate from high school I don’t

think you’ve fully become who you’re going to be yet.”

Chavez also said habits begin at a young age but take years to


Nate’s decision to begin selling marijuana may have opened the

door to future mistakes.

“Looking back I made one wrong decision that just escalated into

a bunch,” Nate said.

But Nate made average grades all through high school while

admittedly not working hard.

“I didn’t have to try in high school so I never had any ambition

to go to school,” Nate said. “I had a step-grandmother on the board

of (the University of Colorado) so I figured I had a way into

college no matter what.”

Since Nate began drugs so young he said it affected his entire


“I didn’t care at all about anything,” Nate said. “It was very,

very easy. I knew a lot of people that had everything, when I got

into (selling liquid) G it was very easy to get because I knew the

guy who made it, it was easier for me to get an ounce of weed than

a pack of cigarettes.”

Nate, who quit most drugs his junior year of high school,

graduated in 2001 and hasn’t yet made it to college.

Abigail Johnston, a resident assistant in Braiden Hall, agreed

that many times experiments in high school can have a negative

effect on a student in college.

“It seems like most of the time it is something carried on from

earlier years, even though some people aren’t used to all the

freedom,” Johnston said. “And it definitely depends a lot on your

peer group.”

Johnston believes most often the people who have serious trouble

with addiction are those who began using before college. She said

those who just experiment usually can try something and leave


Daniel Barotz, CSU junior economics major, agreed.

Barotz believes that even if he had experimented more, he would

be the same person he is now.

“Very few people take experimentation even to the level of

casual use, never mind addiction,” Barotz said. “I drink on a

regular basis and smoke pot every now and then, maybe once a month.

I have never had a desire to use other drugs.”

For Nate, mistakes made in the past are still affecting him.

“Knowing how much you can screw your life up at such a young age

really affected me,” Nate said. “Some people can experiment and do

very well and some get too involved.”

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