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Monday, June 25, 2012

What Can you Do About Kids on Drugs?

Hi A.B.!

I'm not a parent, so suggestions for helping troubled teens have escaped my notice. I know drug & alcohol problems have been around for a long time, but they seem to have reached epidemic proportions.  Luckily, the teens in my family have not walked on the wild side, and have refrained from engaging in destructive behavior.

So, I find myself at a loss, as a neighbor tells me of a boy out of control.  He turned 16 last week, does drugs, drinks, hangs out with guys in their 20's who are very rough. He does not have a driver's license, but he drives his friend's cars. Memorial weekend he did not come home, & staying out all night has since become a habit.  He tells his mother she can't stop him. His father, who is unemployed,  also drinks and does "spice." His mother has a very good job & has climbed up the career ladder. G.

Dear G.

The only thing that really works is what the comedian Carol Burnett did for her drug-addicted teenaged daughter. She and her husband removed the whole family to Hawaii. If the parents are not in sync, it's hard to do anything. The culture doesn't support old-fashioned values. The husband doesn't. The kid is too immature to make the right choices and he probably feels this lifestyle values him and makes him happy.

Tell the mother not to feel like she has failed. She has probably been a good parent. But good parents are busy people, earning a living and working hard, sometimes they aren't there at the right time to catch on to what is happening—what bad influences have taken over your own kid. In the past parents worked hard but the culture mandated dinner together every night and family time on weekends and in small towns neighbors would look after your kids when they were out and around and let the parents know if someone was out of tine.. And the community wasn't rife with drugs and perversion as it is now. And there was no Internet or video games or cell phones. We have lost our moral compass and our kids are paying for it.

Sometimes the kids hit bottom and stay there, sometimes they hit bottom and get better. It is an epidemic. Thousands are dying of overdoses, or in auto accidents. Many are so brain-damaged that they can no longer function independently, some with less capacity than a 2 or 3 year old. It is heart-breaking. Sometimes the only thing you can do is pray. A. B,

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