Lost Boys (and Girls)

I was saddened, but not surprised when I read this morning that former teen idol Corey Haim had died at the age of 38 from an apparent drug overdose.  I was not surprised, because I had watched the A&E Series “The Two Corey’s” and was aware of his struggle with addiction.  Through watching the show, I felt a great deal of sympathy for Corey Haim.  It was apparent that fame at an early age had taken its toll on him.  Like the title of the movie that made him famous, he seemed like a “lost boy” trapped inside a man’s body.  As difficult as it was to watch his self-destructive behavior, it was heart wrenching to see how much he seemed to desperately want to belong somewhere.  It was a sad ending and another life lost due to addiction.

Drugs and addiction are everywhere and can affect anyone, any family, regardless of race, sex, religion or income.   As the parent of teenagers, it scares the daylights out of me.  On any given day, you can turn on the television and most likely find a show, whether talk, news or reality, which depicts drug use and addicts.  I watch shows like A&E’s “Intervention”, because I want to gain a better understanding of addiction.  Personally, I am afraid to take more than the recommended or prescribed dosage of any medication for fear of 911 having to be called.  Given that, I am baffled at how someone uses street or prescription drugs in excess and not think about the consequences.  Maybe it starts with trying it once and if that doesn’t kill you trying it again and so on.  It must be the same for the quantity of drugs used as well (one OxyContin, then two and before you know it 10 plus a day).  It is like a game of Russian roulette with the actual gun and bullet being replaced by the drug(s) of choice and the dosage.

Watching shows like “Intervention”, and occasionally scouring the internet to see what today’s teens are up to, has made me a little street savvy (I am certain my children would disagree, but nevertheless).  For instance, I know that “Tina” is one of the street names for Crystal Meth.  I’m glad I know this, because if I ever hear one of my teens say they have to “go get Tina”, I will know to thoroughly interrogate them before they leave my house.  I don’t say this to be funny; I say it because it’s true.  Also, I have learned that “Robo-tripping” or “skittling” is the name for the euphoric high and visual and auditory hallucinations kids gets from over-the-counter cold medicines that contain Dextromethorpan (DXM).  While this alone is enough to make me want to put my kids under house arrest for their own protection, it is Pharm Parties that make me shudder and shake my head in utter disbelief.  When I first heard the term “Pharm” Party, I was thinking F-A-R-M and thought maybe kids gathered on a farm to party…duh!  In actuality, a Pharm Party (as in Pharmaceutical Party) is where teenagers raid their home medicine cabinet for drugs like Xanax, painkillers and anti-depressants.  They then go to these parties and everyone places the prescriptions they have brought into a large bowl.  The partygoers partake of these drugs as if they were munching on candy or chips.  The kids call this potentially deadly snack “trail mix.”  How scary is that?

I wish I could guarantee that my kids would never use or abuse drugs, but the truth is, I can’t.  None of us can.  There just is no magic formula.  I have come across a few tips to help in the fight against teen drug use/abuse that I can share.  They are, safeguard your medications, be involved, ask questions, help your child to develop good self-esteem, and talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs.  Since there is no guarantee, I will continue to educate myself, talk to my kids and keep a watchful eye on their activities, friends, behavior and self-esteem.  In addition, I will pray every night for the guidance and wisdom to help them through the teen years.  I hope my kids know they can talk to me about anything and that they never forget how much they are loved and that they always, always remember they have a safe place where they belong.

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