My brother Jonathan was 19 when he died. He was a sophomore here at the U of A, majoring in psychology. Jonathan was a fun loving, big hearted, and brilliant young man. He had a beautiful smile and a laugh that instantly put people at ease.
Really, Jon looked like any other student on campus. But he was different. More different than I could have known at the time. Jon had secrets that ultimately killed him.
Jon’s house by the University was always alive with music playing, friends catching up, and an overall welcoming feeling. I knew that, like many college students, Jon drank and smoked pot recreationally with his friends. What I didn’t know about Jon was that his drug use was escalating. He was trying more dangerous drugs and using more frequently. But since Jon always seemed happy, healthy-looking and under control, my mom and I were unaware of this secret. Jon was running straight A’s in school, he had a job, seemed happy and everything appeared fine. But, drugs were apparently becoming a part of Jon’s daily life and on October 3, 2006 drugs took his life when he suffered an accidental overdose.
Jon enjoyed life so much that I know if he was was here he would tell you that the short high of a drug isn't worth losing your life. I will always have unanswered questions about Jon’s death and how he got to such a dangerous place. What I have discovered is that the people who did know Jon was abusing drugs were his friends. So, you see, friends have a lot of power and tremendous responsibility to take care of each other.
My mom and I created the Edward and Jonathan Linden Endowment to benefit UA Campus Health because we believe that every life is worth trying to save. The Friend-2-Friend website is the first step in the project because we think that friends have the greatest potential to recognize when another friend has a problem. Friend to Friend offers help regarding issues from drug abuse to violent relationships. The website's motto is "Notice. Care. Help." I ask you to please never let an opportunity to help a friend pass by. Ask yourself if any of your friends are in harm’s way, with drugs or other risky behavior. Reach out—you would want someone to offer help if you were struggling.
Please explore this website more to see how you and your friends can stay happy and healthy during college.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you. Please don't forget to notice, care and help.
The Friend 2 Friend program was developed by The University of Arizona Campus Health Service through a gift from the Edward and Jonathan Linden Endowment.
To make a donation to the Friend 2 Friend program, please visit the donations page.