Looking for Answers

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Looking for Answers

Last Wednesday night, more than 200 people came together in Andover, MA. Parents were looking for answers, teenagers were looking for understanding and police were looking for help. There was a meeting taking place at the Town Hall for the first in a series of forums targeted at the growing use and abuse of prescription drugs and heroin among teenagers in their city. A powerful speaker from “Just Listen” shared her story of her daughters struggle with heroin which eventually claimed her life. She dubbed, “Legal drugs have become a gateway for illegal drugs.” She presented a series of photos that started from infancy to young adulthood and ending with her daughters’ gravestone. Amy was a 20 year old, “high performance addict,” who got good grades and got into the Boston College nursing program. Her mother spoke of how she wasn’t sure if Amy needed to be looking at colleges or rehabs, but when she asked experts, they said college; the experts were wrong. Just before turning 21 Amy ended up in a rehab facility where she somehow got access to heroin and overdosed. The facility did not have Narcan, a nasal spray that can bring overdose victims back to life. She read a page from Amy’s personal journal which said, “I have to get back to the life I loved. I stand as heroin’s puppet.” The book written by Amy’s mother was titled, “Heroin’s Puppet,” it chronicles her family’s journey into the dark world of substance abuse, which started with marijuana, graduated to Oxycontin and ended with heroin.

Andover Police Sgt. Greg Scott said it is a story he has seen “over and over and over again.” Scott said he grew tired of seeing people of all ages getting addicted to prescription drugs and then heroin. So he began asking them their life stories. Invariably, he said, they started young with marijuana and alcohol. Quite a few people stood up to talk, eager to have their say in this discussion. One mom said, “It’s time to throw out the stereotypes, the new face of addiction is young people in suburban cities and towns. My son went to Philips Andover and graduated with a lacrosse scholarship to the University of Maryland.”

During a lengthy question and answer session, parents wanted to know how they could tell if their kids were on drugs, how to talk to them about substance abuse without yelling at them and what to do if their child becomes addicted. The good news, the panelists said, is that there is help available, from police to social service agencies to rehabilitation facilities. There is always a way to get help when help is needed from a substance dependency. Seabrook has a mission to provide exceptional addiction treatment through the healing of the body, mind and spirit. We encourage all patients to restore their lives by embracing a way of life based upon the 12 Step Principles of Recovery. To learn more, please visit: www.seabrook.org.