By: Christie Baldwin/Junior Writer
On March 18, 2019, Richard Jensen, a former meth addict turned guest speaker, informed Blue Ridge students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, based on his own experiences and struggles. Jensen also discussed his resulting mental health affects.
Jensen told his audience of his life struggles that began when he started to abuse drugs and alcohol and their negative impacts on his life.
According to Jensen, peer pressure led to his first experience with drugs.
After that, the pull of the drugs’ addictive qualities completely hooked him and took over his life.
“There is no challenge in life that you can’t overcome,” says Jensen.
He went to jail for around seven years, couldn’t be there for his mother when she was passing, and wasn’t there for his daughters when they were little.
Jensen believes that students will fall under peer pressure and are forced to do drugs or alcohol when they don’t particularly want to. After graduating high school he decided that, that summer he would get a job as a fisherman in Alaska to make a little money before college started. Although he never got there…he was peer pressured to do methamphetamine and was afraid that he would loose his friends if he stopped doing drugs or alcohol so he kept doing them and was addicted. Sometimes when he needed a fix he would beat up people or hold them hostage in their houses.
At one point in his life he was homeless. He would take cigarette butts and ash trays he found, clean them out, and would let the tobacco dry overnight so that he could have a cigarette for the next day.
Jensen worked really hard after he got out of jail for the last time and he found his love again for wrestling and knew that going to college and wrestling could save his life. He was the oldest wrestler but that didn’t stop him.
He attended Clackamas Community College at the age of 36, where he played in the National Junior College Wrestling Tournament NJCAA in 2008. He was also a featured athlete and won an Emmy Award for the video on him that was broadcasted on ESPN.
See the video that Richard Jensen showed the Blue Ridge student body here: