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Drugs & Health Blog

Music in a Drug Free State of Mind

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Sara Bellum

SBB has the scoop on the lucky teens who have won the the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest---their prize includes a trip to Los Angeles to attend a GRAMMY rehearsal backstage! You might remember from a recent blog that the contest is part of NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week. We asked teens ages 14-18 to compose or create an original song and/or music video that “explores, encourages, and celebrates a healthy lifestyle or accurately depicts a story about drug abuse.

The three winners focused on personal experience living around drugs, and told their stories through original music and lyrics.

First prize went to the songwriting team of Daevion Caves, an 18-year-old high school junior, and Jordan Atkins, a 16-year-old sophomore, both students at Alton high School in Alton, Illinois. Their music video, “Drug Free State of Mind,” shows them living daily around drug use but having the courage to stay drug-free: “We all Shootin’ Stars, patiently waiting to be seen…remember what you do, you got the power to… determine your future.”  

Watch Video Here: “Drug Free State of Mind" by Daevion Caves and Jordan Atkins

Second place went to Markiest “Ghost” Jones, a 15-year-old 10th grader from Plantation High School in Plantation, Florida. His musical composition, “A Clearer View,” is a rap song he described as a cautionary tale about what happens when you decide to take drugs: “Do better than addicted/Make love the true prescription/Hope is all you gonna need/So believe you can achieve.”

Listen here: "A Clearer View" by Markeist "Ghost" Jones (MP3, 3.6MB)

(View Transcript)

Third place went to Vera Marquardt, a 17-year-old in recovery at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, California. Raised in Hawaii, Vera strums a ukulele to accompany the story of her journey that she calls “Take it to the Days.” Her lyrics include these words: “Take it to the Days When I didn’t have to Depend/the easy way out has slowed me down… but I lift off the ground.”

Listen here: "Take it to the Days" by Vera Marquardt (MP3, 3.1MB)

(View Transcript)

The winners will be given star treatment at the 53rd GRAMMY awards. But more important, they are living proof that you can pursue your dreams without getting distracted by drugs.

Interested in watching and hearing the winning entries? Go to:

If you are having trouble listening to the audio files you may need to download the free Windows Media Player

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


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i think that was a good songand that nobody shud do drugs

Your families, your school and your community can all be very proud - especially the talent, the inspiring message and the position you have chosen. You are truly winners! Good luck!

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i think that was a good songand that nobody shud do drugs
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I love these people !! rock on...

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Immense congratulations to third place winner Vera Marquardt, a talented young resident at our Phoenix House Academy of Lakeview Terrace! Vera, your Phoenix House "family" is so proud of your amazing accomplishment. We're thrilled that our Phoenix Rising Music Program helped you express your talents and share your story.

For Vera's fans and friends, take a look at her inspiring interview on our Phoenix House blog:

drugs are a huge problem, and seems to be a never ending battle.
Keep on fighting and keep up the support against it.
It's always better to find an alternative for youngsters to focus on

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This song really makes alot of since because you shouldn't have to take drugs to be inlove and all that other crazy stuff because things happen and i understand what he means by what he is saying!! Because the girl did those drugs she got into alot of trouble and she became pregnant and she was not even ready:( at the age of 16 thats really young!!! From being a daddys little angel to becoming a bad girl being with the boyfriend taking drugs really can mess your life up emotionally and when you look back to the day then your going to think that its really stupid and dumb.

Also, no one should do drugs period i dont care who you are and how bad you think you are you may not think your hurting yourself but in the end your hurting yourself and your family and friends and its really not cool!

amazing currently in rehab...these songs give me hope

I love these people !! rock on
amazing song…im currently in rehab…these songs give me hope

WOW just loving thys song i think the reply butt is my best friend now owww and if yhu guys have any questions or oncerns follow me on twitter and youll find out way more thanks and have a great dayy

heeeey ;)
This helped alot with a school project.

Drugs as we all know can lead to some pretty bad things loss of jobs, family, sanity etc. they can also make you lose track of whatever is important. Most importantly some drugs can kill you if you over dose.
I think that we need more programs and funs directed toward keeping children ocupied so that they dont wonder off because of free time and use drugs, I myself am a DJ and surprisingly Have never been offered drugs at any of my events. [commercial link removed, per guidelines]