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Teens & Drugs

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-Seventy-three percent of teenagers said the number one reason kids use drugs is to avoid stress. I'm Steve Pasierb, I'm the president of Partnership for Drug-Free America. We're a national non-profit organization. It's not just to go out and get wrecked or to rebel. It's these kids are under a lot of stress, both externally and on their own, they want to succeed, they want to excel, and that manifest themselves in occasionally needing to escape. And escape for them is drugs, and sometimes, it's prescription drugs. You hear we have 73 percent of kids saying stress is the number one reason teenagers use drugs, and only 7 percent of parents in the study say that. So, parents think if your kid is over-programmed, on the run every minute, from school to practice to sports to this, that's a good thing. And to a degree, it is. But it gets to an excess. And it fuels this pressure kid is feeling. Drugfree.org is the way most people experience the partnership. What we've done is this-- the website about the issue, not about the partnership. A lot of tools for parents. One of the cool things we just launched was a Parents' Guide to the Teen Brain. Why do you get along with your adolescent but yell and scream with your teenager? What's going on? How do I manage that? We're about to launch a new set of tools on detecting and intervening when your kid is coming home drugged, when your kid is coming home high. Those parents don't need prevention. They're right in the thick of it. It's all about parents, kids, what the latest drug terms are, what you can actually do about it. We hear from parents all the time, "Give me one or two things I can do. I don't wanna be an expert. I can't be an expert. Give me something I can try this weekend when we're in the car, I'll give it a shot, and if it works, I'll be back." Far too [unk] parents see the kid who died, and that does happen, and that's heart-breaking. But more common is the story of a kid who gets in trouble, the kid who develops a dependence or an addiction, they get help, they get into treatment, the family gets the help they need, and the kid gets better. And the family moves on, and yes, they live a life in recovery, but there's so much hope, there's so much promise. And those are the kind of stories we're trying to tell. There's a great mom, Lorraine Popper and her nephew, Larry, who are in our lives. And she's done everything that she can do to get him past his addiction. He's now living a wonderful life. -I'm Lorraine McNeill-Popper. I'm a writer by trade. I'm also an aunt/ mom. I adopted my nephew, Larry, early in his childhood. I think he was 1 at that time. My twin brother died from a drug overdose. My first inclination was he's using. You know, it's-- his father did, his mother did, and it's in his genes. He had a serious addiction. He admitted he had a serious addiction to marijuana. Going out late at night, making up alibis, "I have to go. I wanna go buy a sandwich. I wanna go to a friend's house and pick up a report." And then, I just saw the same, exact behavior traits that I saw in my brother, and he was heading down that same road, and I know what was waiting at the end of the road was death. -I was about 13 years old when I started using drugs. I think I started using drugs, basically, because everybody else around me was doing it. I mean, from my peers to older people that I look up to. I'm a little bored. My body a little bit turned to about my friends who were getting high. My father, as a matter of fact, he was 28 years old when he passed away. I was about 15 months. And he had a drug-related overdose. -He had, I guess, ingested too much cocaine. He went into the hospital. He lived one week, and he died. -Well, basically, what happened to me, was I got caught. I got caught out there with some weed on me and under the influence. And basically, from there, they said, "Listen, you're not gonna be in school anymore. You gotta-- you can't be in this school anymore. You have to go." -Love me later, hate me now, but I'm gonna save your life. And we got him into a program, and it broke my heart. I remembered the day, the last day that we spent together, you know, packing his bags and, you know, sending him away to, you know, to a residential program. -I was a 15-year-old kid thinking there's nothing wrong with getting high and smoking a little weed every now and then. But in rehab, I met people who were smoking crack. I met people who were injecting heroin, I met people who were selling their bodies for drugs. It's given me strength. I could-- and I mean, these were real people that have been through some real situations that I'm in, you know. -You look good. Oh, my God. That's-- -He learned discipline, he learned rules, he learned direction, he learned self-respect, he learned how to, you know, talk about his problems. And he'd learned that he wasn't-- for whatever reason, you know, he chose to get high. He wasn't the only kid with problems. -The relationship with my aunt definitely changed for the better. I mean, everything just-- like a new day came. We were able to connect. We were going out and doing the things that we haven't done since I was a little kid. I mean, going out shopping, going out to eat, doing all these great things. -I'm-- I was truly blessed in losing my brother to be able to have him sort of reincarnated in my-- in my nephew. And I see so much of my brother alive in him. And it's kind of-- it's kind of poetic in a way. -Ten years later, I'm 24 years old. I feel great about my life. -Treat it like a health issue. If you see your kid is sick, you do hope they're gonna get better, you take him to the doctor. You think your kid is using drugs, they'll hope they're gonna go into phase they'll go through, take action. -Good.