My Son With The Drug Problem Is Coming Home - And Response

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

I think many families, regardless of income levels or profession can relate to having a family member, friend or someone we know struggling with a drug problem. I've encountered people from all walks of life who have drug related or have drug addiction or alcohol related problems. It doesn't matter what color you are, your religious beliefs, what neighborhood you live in, your income level or profession.

The drug problem plaguing America has affected us all on some level. The drug problem is an American problem that crosses all social, economic, religious and racial levels. It isn't relegate to any one neighborhood, race, religious, poverty vs. wealth.

The greatest problem, I think, is the cure has proven worse than the illness. Because, until otherwise forced, the targets were individuals or groups based only on social standing, economics levels and race.

My oldest son has struggled with a drug problem for 16 years. Jail and
prisons haven't helped him. They've only made him at times more desperate. No, he's not the falling down, thuggish type we often visualize. He's a handsome, smart and slim six-plus footer who, even he will admit if asked, made some terrible choices a long time ago and now he doesn't know how to get back on track and I don't know what else to do to help him. However, I'm going to try this when he gets out from serving six months in Georgia for a parole violation. And, neighbors, you don't have to worry. He has never and will never hurt anyone or take anything from anyone. The only person he's hurt, and he knows this, is himself and a family that loves him, but mainly himself. You won't have to flaunt your shot guns and rifles like last time when he was paroled to my address. Or have your child pass by my house with what appeared to be a 9mm (probably one of those pellet pistols). I know you all already discussed these things at your monthly neighborhood association meetings - the police in attendance giving you all the info. And I'm alright by that too. I'm not ashamed and have nothing to hide. I've even come across some of your own children who unbeknown to you are most likely dabbling in drugs and other self destructive behavior. I learned to recognize the danger signs a long time ago.

Unlike some, I've never been in denial, nor believed my child/children couldn't possibly do wrong. I've tried to educate myself as much as possible on the drug problem and its history and journey in America. I've learned a lot. But there is so much more I admit I don't know. Will probably never know.

When I was in the Southwest over 20 years ago (I won't name the city) there was a baffling phenomenom where young adults from affluent backgrounds were driving the family SUVs and other vehicles over cliffs and into canyons killing themselves and anyone with them. Some religious leaders and friends of mine (Yes, I know and have religious friends although I'm not very religious myself), attempted to convince parents and officials drugs were most like at play. No one wanted to listen. They believed drugs were a problem plaguing only predominately inner city black communities or some poor white trailer park.

Fourteen years later, when young adults from wealthy backgrounds were dropping dead in their path from injesting or shooting up too pure a form of heroin in another Soutwest wealthy town, the truth about what was taking place 14 years prior could no longer be ignored.

The War on Drugs has failed, I believe, because no one is willing to address the host source. I read once somewhere that science, when looking for a cure for any illness or epidemic, always try to track down the host source. They know if they can expose the host source a cure is not far off. No one has seemed interested in exposing and attacking the HOST SOURCE of the America drug epidemic. They were more interested in receiving federal dollars and filling prison and jail beds to get even more federal dollars. When those monies are sent down they are diverted and used for other means rather than seriously addressing America's drug problem. Only a fraction of the money is spent on rehabilitation, drug education and prevention.

Because I've sought on my own to educate myself by going to (and as I've been told, I'm still not all that educated. My wrting skills prove that (smile). I'm smart/intelligent, a survivor, but not well educated). I've learned a lot. I can almost always tell what drugs might produce
certain types behavior. I know what the sleepy look, the dilated pupil look, the wild-eyed look, the deer caught in the headlight look - what type drugs a person might be most likely using. I've known young people from otherwise good families and good backgrounds, whose parents don't have a clue, who've fallen into the drug trap. They don't know how to escape, or if and when they do escape, something keeps drawing them back. Like my son gets drawn back.

I hope Sheriff Long will do all he can to help his on, as I intend to help mine - again. It doesn't matter that the son is an adult. Most all fall short sometimes and just need that extra encouragement. However, this time, in helping my son, I know it will have to be my last time. For it's both physically and emotionally draining. Like running in behind an oversized two year old who is determined to keep sticking his fingers into the electrical sockets. There's just something that's too tempting and fascinating about those electrical sockets to a two-year-old, even after they've gotten a good shock a few times. But, I have to give it one more shot.

And, police? You don't have to sit outside my door or up the street on Florida Avenue, probably at the insistance of neighbors, I'll assume. If you or anyone want, just knock on my door. You're always welcome. Just come on in. My house is often cluttered, but friends say they always feel comfortable and relaxed at my house. So take your shoes off and kick back. Plus, they say I make a mean batch of Korean egg rolls (bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, etc.).

Brenda Washington

* * *

Ms. Washington, I commend you. No facility will correct your son's problem. Only your love and your son's determination can solve that.

As a failure of alcohol rehab, I can relate. I wish you and him the best of luck and God's help. May God bless you both.

Carlos Dempsey

* * *

Perhaps, Ms. Washington, instead of letting this drug user back into your home, and apparently you've done this repeatedly, you should change the locks on your door and allow this son to stand on his own two feet.

If he fails, he fails, and if he succeeds, he succeeds, but he should be doing this on his own, especially since he's over 18.

He makes his own decisions and is only a "victim" to his own weakness and desires.

Don't blame your son's weakness on anyone other than himself. This is not society's problem, it's his problem.

June Boxman

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