Teen Drug Use - If You've BTDT, I could really Use Some Advice

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Posted 6/27/2012 by 2girlsluvme in NSBR Board
 

2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/27/2012 8:13:19 PM
Hello everyone.

Backstory: We have joint legal custody of my 14yo step son. His mom lives in a neighboring state and he is with her during the school year, here with us during breaks, summers, etc. His dad is very involved in his life and texts or talk with him nightly.

Two nights ago he was arrested at 2am for a curfew violation after sneaking out while visiting his grandparents in another state. He was also cited because he was carrying cigarettes.

A year ago, his mom caught him smoking and let us know about a month after the fact. Her attitude is "he's a kid and kids do these things". His dad had a very long talk with him and has since asked him multiple times about smoking, hanging out with the wrong kids, etc. We have been through all of the medical/logical/legal reason he should not smoke. He agreed and denied any additional smoking.

After his arrest this week, it is obvious he's been lying about the smoking this entire last year. He has admitted that he smokes regularly now because he is "stressed" at school. During the inquiry, he has also admitted to smoking pot. He says it was over six months ago and he only did it a few times. We asked the grandparents to administer a 12 panel drug test last night. They did and it came back negative. Thank goodness.

The last year has been transitional. He and his mom moved, he started high school and his mom started a job that leaves him home, by himself, until 7 or 8 every night.

His grades have gone from straight As, to Bs and Cs.

I know we need to do something, but I'm not sure what. He will be here for the next six weeks and we will have a lot of opportunity to get him help, counseling (his mom says he doesn't need it), direction and support.

Does this sound like a kid that is just "being a kid", or do we need to drastically intervene? I would really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

ETA: His electronics are gone. His phone, his itouch, no facebook, etc. He had 14,860 texts this month. I can't believe the kid had any thumbs left!


~~Jennifer~~

momstime
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Posted: 6/27/2012 8:47:18 PM
I'm sorry to tell you, but no matter how much dad works to involve himself in his son's life, phone contact just isn't enough. This child is on the cusp of some bad, really bad, stuff. You are wise to take action now.

My advice: If his lips are moving, he's lying. He will neither admit to a serious problem nor give you the truth to his amount of use when it comes to drugs. "Yes, I smoked pot...but it was MONTHS ago" is just enough truth to satisfy you without giving you the whole dirty truth. A reasonable estimate would be to multiply whatever he tells you by 10...and that is probably still a gross underestimation. If he says he used once, assume at least 10X. You get the idea.

You are in a bad situation because the only way to combat drug abuse in teens is to have an undivided consistent front. You must get mom on board. Good luck to you this summer. I hope he can turn himself around.




2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/27/2012 8:53:32 PM
momstime - Thank you for your response. You are confirming everything in my gut. My girls are 10 and 11 and I'm new with teenager boy issues. Plus, he has two parents, so I have to walk a line and not overstep. Mom is very combative and defensive, so it will be an uphill battle, but one worth fighting. Thanks.


~~Jennifer~~

Georgiapea
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Posted: 6/27/2012 8:57:31 PM
How much time will family members be able to spend with him this summer? Can you prevent him getting out of the house at night? I'd keep an eye on him, like going to the community pool with him and doing other fun stuff where you can keep an eye on him at all times. If he's using drugs and his access is cut off, you'll soon know by his behavior.

aimmer
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Posted: 6/27/2012 8:59:36 PM
I completely disagree with momstime. I think parents and teens can have open honest mutually respectful relationships. I also would not consider your son a "drug user"

As a Mom of 3 teen boys, he sounds like a very normal teen that is going through some stressful transitions. I think the most important thing you can do for him is to make him feel like he can come to you guys and talk about things he is going through. That he has a safe place to land.

He told you he experimented with weed a few months ago and he tested negative to back up that claim. He has lost phone, Facebook, electronics. What more are you going to do? The cigarette smoking sucks but if his Mom is not 100% on board with making sure he is not smoking then there really isn't a lot you can do.



2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:02:10 PM
He is spending his entire summer with family. I am self employed, so he will be spending a lot of time "interning" at my office this summer.


~~Jennifer~~

busypea
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:03:32 PM
No advice but ((hugs))


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IPeaFreely
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:07:24 PM
I agree...if their lips are moving, they're lying.

Sad but true.

scrap_pea_junkie
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:19:56 PM
I agree with aimmer. Make sure that you make him feel that he can talk to you guys if he chooses to. I did the same things he is doing at the same age. Unfortunately I made bad decisions and gave into the peer pressure around me. But FORTUNATELY I had a solid foundation and knew I could talk to my Mom and confide in her and she would still love and support me. I finally came around to my senses without getting into trouble but I was very, very lucky.

So my only advice would be to not harp on him, let him know in a round about way that you have an idea about what he may be doing. But also let him know that you don't agree, but you still love him unconditionally.

aimmer
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:21:53 PM

I agree...if their lips are moving, they're lying.




I don't feel that way at all about my teens. I'm sure they don't tell me every detail of things they are going through. But we do talk about sex, drugs, smoking, taboo subjects and I respect how they feel about things. In fact I called my 16 year old today from Target and asked if he wanted or needed me to pick anything up for him. He said no but texted me about 10 mins later to pick up condoms. I seriously about fell over. But I am so glad he feels comfortable enough with me to ask. I always want him to trust me like that.

I think about my teen years and think about how much easier it would have been if I felt like I could talk to my parents about things.



Luvnlifelady
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:22:59 PM
I tend to agree more with momstime. I don't think it's normal teen "stress" type of stuff. I have a 15 yo DD and she can be moody as heck when stressed, but she hasn't done weed or smoked anything to deal with it.

I think it's a sign of a bigger problem down the road if you don't get on him now. Without mom's help during the school year though, I think your hands are tied. He is left alone when with her for far too long. Anyway he can live permanently with you guys and visit mom?



Idahopea
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Posted: 6/27/2012 9:54:18 PM
Do you know of a good counselor? I think I would try to get him in to talk with someone about all the stuff going on in his life. He may fight you on it at first, but I know several kids who have benefitted from having an impartial person to talk to. Another advantage to his seeing someone would be to have the counselor talk to his mom at the end of the summer instead of you or his dad. Sometimes hearing things you need to change as a parent can be easier if it is said by someone outside of the family who has no personal stake in the outcome.

Idahopea
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:00:09 PM
One more thing, I think both you and his mom need to have drug testing kits in the house at all times. If you ever think he might have been using you have the kit for that, but it can also give him an excuse to save face with the other kids when they start using. He can tell them his parents have a drug testing kit in the house and he knows they will use it on him. He can also say that since he has already been in trouble he can't take the risk that you might test him that very night. I got this suggestion from a drug and alcohol awareness class I attended. Sometimes just having the kit in the house can help prevent using especially if he really has only tried it a few times. You can buy the kits at Walmart or other pharmacies and the basic ones are not even that expensive.

SMG in AZ
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:12:50 PM

One more thing, I think both you and his mom need to have drug testing kits in the house at all times. If you ever think he might have been using you have the kit for that, but it can also give him an excuse to save face with the other kids when they start using. He can tell them his parents have a drug testing kit in the house and he knows they will use it on him. He can also say that since he has already been in trouble he can't take the risk that you might test him that very night. I got this suggestion from a drug and alcohol awareness class I attended. Sometimes just having the kit in the house can help prevent using especially if he really has only tried it a few times. You can buy the kits at Walmart or other pharmacies and the basic ones are not even that expensive.
Yep. I did that with DD and gave her notice way before I tested her. I told her I was going to start and that I was not going to try to "catch" her. Rather, that I was going to start doing it randomly in a few weeks, so to think abou that possibility if she was out with friends and tempted. I had great currency--car keys. Instead of punishing her by taking them away, I told her that every time I tested her and she was negative, she would earn the right to have the car for a few days. So it became much easier to manage as I was giving her something instead of taking something away. And like the post above, she could also "blame" me if she was offered something and wanted to decline.




Suzy

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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:20:32 PM
www.drugfree.org is a good resource to learning about drug abuse and teens. I would be concerned because he is smoking. The crowd that smokes very often smokes pot and abuses other drugs. If he is in a crowd heading in that direction he needs new friends before its too late. If he is associated with a rebellious crowd, kids who are going the right direction will start to avoid him because they don't want to get in trouble by association. If he gets in trouble at school for smoking, he could be expelled and then he will be caged with all the other troubled kids. Its a bad road to be on.

If he is smoking to reduce stress, he might be having some mental health issues. Seeing a doctor would be good if you can get him in.

His lower grades could be a reflection of drug use but it could also be because of adjusting to a new school.

I hope you are able to get help for your son before he burns too many bridges. It gets harder and harder to recover from drug addiction when bridges to a healthy lifestyle are gone.

I haven't BTDT but I am right in the middle of it right now with my 16 y/o.

revirdsuba
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:20:42 PM
Unfortunately being unsupervised until 7 or 8 o'clock at night is a big problem. A teenager should not be sitting home alone all those hours. Or does he have friends over or is he not home at all? Too many hours for mischief even if smoking and drugs were not involved. It is just not safe for kids of any age.

I do think that having drug test kit in the house is a good idea.
Tough road to travel, wishing you all the best.

PEArfect
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:20:50 PM
It doesn't sound like his mom thinks this is as serious as you do. Unfortunately no matter what you do or say to try to help him this summer as soon as he goes home to his mom he will go back into his old routine. His mom has to be a part of the solution. It sounds like he's trying to get a reaction from his mom. Jmho.


Jen


Idahopea
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:28:45 PM
Another thing you might discuss is what to do if he is ever with friends and things start to get out of hand. I think if we give the kids ways to get out of bad situations, they are more likely to use them. I always told my kids if they were ever in an uncomfortable situation with drinking, drugs, sex, whatever, they should go into the bathroom and gag like they are throwing up, even if they have to stick their fingers down their own throat to do it and then use their cell phone to call me to come get them. If you go out of the bathroom at a teen party and tell everyone you were in there puking, no one wants you hanging around and they all understand why you need to leave. Gives the kids an out in addition to the drug testing. One of my kids was at a sleepover one time and the dad gave my kid bad vibes so my kid got sick and had to go home. We knew the mom and the kid, but not the dad. You never know what might come up and this excuse can get kids out of several bad situations. Hopefully your kids won't ever need this idea!

2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:35:06 PM
Thank you for all of your replies.

First, we are listening to what he is saying, but verifying his actions now that he has lost trust. He was honest (now), but he hasn't been in the past. He needs more direction and supervision. He is not making good, healthy decisions for himself and we are concerned that this is fast trending in a negative direction.

The smoking is a huge concern, mainly because of the crowd.

We will definitely get him in some counseling while he is here.

Periodic, random drug tests are going to be a part of his life from now on. Privileges will be tied to clean testing.

Thank you very much for your comments and support.



~~Jennifer~~

Chlerbie
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:48:10 PM
My stepdaughter is 24 now but I've been in her life since she was 13. We made it easy for her to come and talk to us and she did experiment with smoking/drinking/weed adn was able to talk to us about it without us flipping out and she never became super involved with it in any way--and we feel that was partly because we were able to guide her without turning into the police over it. Every child is different. You know your stepson, so what worked for one child doesn't necessarily work for others. But I'm agreeing more with aimmer's side of things. My DSD is now a responsible adult, working on her Master's and doesn't do anything but social drinking.


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2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/27/2012 10:55:41 PM
We know that this doesn't doom him for a life as a substance abuser or addict or perpetual lowlife. We are concerned that he is making poorer and poorer choices, and that he doesn't have much supervision during the school year. We are not quite sure how we are going to handle that with his mom.

He is also experimenting at a very young age. The cigarette smoking started when he was only 13.

We want to help him turn this around. He's a very smart kid and we have high hopes for his future, college, etc. We don't want him to blow the opportunities he has.


~~Jennifer~~

mglb6
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Posted: 6/28/2012 2:30:02 AM
I'm not a parent, but I have two younger brothers, and they definitely told me more about what they were actually doing than they ever would have told my parents (even when they got caught).

Both of them used pot in high school, semi-regularly. They also drank at times (although they didn't drive or get in cars with anyone who had been drinking).

I drank occasionally in high school, and started smoking cigarettes occasionally, but I never tried any drugs (marijuana or otherwise) and most of my friends who did only used it occasionally, so I was really concerned about the pot smoking.

My bigger concerns than trying marijuana would be the being out at 2a.m. (I'm guessing without permission) and the lack of concern his mom is showing. He's younger than my brothers were when they started trying alcohol and pot (they were 16/17). His grades dropping like that is also a big concern.

Can the custody arrangement be changed? Can your DH somehow talk your DSS's mom into the counseling? If she doesn't think he needs it, then what is the harm in him going anyway? It can't hurt him, right?

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.


mglb6
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I-95
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Posted: 6/28/2012 2:35:29 AM
He's still young, and I suspect the divorce, dad's remarriage, the move, mom working late hours, new school etc etc, has him confused about who he is and where he stands in the family.

This probably sounds sappy, but he sounds like he needs a lot of love and positive attention. Made to feel like he has a family (with 2 sisters to whom he can be a hero type big brother)and that he's welcome.

I know he's been busted, and that's not good, but there's a fine line between punishing him (no electronics, interning for you, drug testing) with a lot of negative stuff, maybe making him resentful and more isolated, and being too warm and fuzzy.

Any chance he could be allowed his phone say, 2 hours a day, after he has finished working for you, or at an agreed upon time, like 4pm-6pm? It just sounds to me like you're about to come down really hard on him and 'make' him tow the line. A 14 yr old boy get turn resentful really quickly....or he could be putty in your hands with some positive reinforcement...and clear rules.

WillowJane
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Posted: 6/28/2012 7:43:02 AM
I am more in the courts of aimmer and I-95. Your SS has been honest with you about the use of drugs and testing has backed it up. He needs a safe place to land when making bad decisions which you have given him. He now needs consistent, loving, direction with oversight by his parent(s).

I remember moving/changing schools when I was 14. It was one of the worst times of my life. I can't imagine being alone through it all as well. SS is trying to find a place where he fits and the place he has found is with the wrong crowd.

If I were in your shoes, I would be working to get SS to come live with me.



momstime
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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:29:01 AM

I completely disagree with momstime. I think parents and teens can have open honest mutually respectful relationships. I also would not consider your son a "drug user"



I honestly don't care if you agree with me or not. The fact of the matter is, this child is in trouble. You don't need to believe it, I just need the OP (and her dh and his x) to believe it.

What is a drug user? One who uses drugs. He has admitted to using drugs. I never said drug addict. I pray it hasn't come to that, and from the clean test I would assume it hasn't. NOTE: drug tests purchased from drug stores are notoriously unreliable!!!! Do not stake your sanity on drug store tests. TRUST ME


As a Mom of 3 teen boys, he sounds like a very normal teen that is going through some stressful transitions.



This is not a case of normal teenage angst. Here are the facts:
1. clueless (said with love) mom turning a blind eye to inappropriate behavior
2. unsupervised teen
3. two homes-two sets of rules (NOTE: 2 homes doesn't have to = problems)
4. 14 year old smoking cigarettes (poor decision making and illegal)
5. 14 year old smoking (smoked) pot (poor decision making and illegal)
6. sneaking out in the middle of the night (poor decision making and illegal...curfew)
7. falling grades
8. admits to being stressed and needing to self medicate with cigs



I think the most important thing you can do for him is to make him feel like he can come to you guys and talk about things he is going through. That he has a safe place to land.


ABSOLUTELY!!!!! But just don't count on him coming to you and exposing all his secrets. If he loves smoking cigs or pot, he most likely won't tell you he is doing it because you will make him stop. He knows this.

I won't give you all the down and dirty details of my own experiences, but believe me when I tell you that I know of which I speak. I used to think just like Aimmer. My child was SO open and honest about everything. He doesn't lie (was the lie I told myself). He is where he says he is, etc. When he said "only stupid people do drugs, and I'm not stupid, MOM" I had no reason NOT to believe him. When his grades started to slip, he said it was stress. We talked and talked and talked about what was bothering him. I always thought, not MY kid. He wouldn't do anything THAT STUPID. He comes from a Christ centered home. His parents are plugged in...open lines of communication, we know his friends and their parents, volunteer at the school, eat dinner TOGETHER etc...His home is stable and loving. His parents have been married for 23 years...to EACH OTHER. But guess what? We awoke one day to find that our son was a hard core drug addict. You know all those pretty little pills that everyone has in their medicine cabinets? Yep, that is what (some)kids do today for fun. They try to pharmaceutically (sp?) numb themselves.

I do not think EVERY child who smokes pot will journey this path, but if my child (who had every advantage of a loving, stable home) can cross that divide, the OP's step son is well on his way. To take the advice to treat this like normal teenage behavior could spell disaster. I applaud your efforts to turn him around now.





2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:34:30 AM
I95 - You are right on. He DOES need a lot of love, support, and sappy stuff. He also needs structure and supervision and someone to set some boundaries and stick to them. He is being punished for sneaking out, getting arrested, causing mayhem for his grandparents and lying. He will get his phone back eventually, but he was texting all night, every night since he's been out of school. This is how he has been communicating with the kids he is getting in trouble with. We don't want to alienate him, but we are trying to be firm and set expectations. Unfortunately, he doesn't get that from his mom.

And we would love to have him here full time. He knows that. He has his own bedroom and bath in our home and he definitely has a place here. He also loves his mom and has told us that he doesn't want to "leave her alone". He is a good kid with a good heart, just making some bad choices without the supervision and structure that he needs.


~~Jennifer~~

2girlsluvme
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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:40:47 AM
momstime - Thank you. I really appreciate your candor and perspective. We would rather intervene NOW than wake up five years from now and wish we would have. This doesn't mean the world has to come crashing down around him, only that the adults in his life love him, are united, and absolutely unwilling to let him continue on this path.


~~Jennifer~~

CheriVall
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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:42:51 AM
I had a LONG reply typed out then I read some of the responses and deleted it .. because momstime said it all in her last post ..

and just an added website for you to check out

Kaitlyn's Promise

because we too had the kind of relationship where we talked about everything and anything .. we "trusted" that she was telling us what was going on .. blah f'ing blah .. see where that got us ..

Hugs to you .. and I hope you continue the drug testing .. (and if you need them that is one of the things we do now .. give them away FREE ..just send me a message)

Cheri

and for the record drug addicts are NOT low life losers .. they are 16 year girls that have families that miss them tremendously .. IJS


"There is a choice you make in everything you do. In the end, the choice you make, makes you." ~Author Unknown

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." -unknown



Kaitlyn's Promise

momstime
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:43:28 AM

This doesn't mean the world has to come crashing down around him, only that the adults in his life love him, are united, and absolutely unwilling to let him continue on this path.



^^^ THIS is worth repeating.




2girlsluvme
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 6/28/2012 8:54:41 AM
Cheri - Thank you very much. I know you would move heaven and earth if it would have changed things for Kaitlyn. What brand of drug test do you recommend for reliability?


~~Jennifer~~

momstime
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 6/28/2012 9:04:42 AM

and for the record drug addicts are NOT low life losers .. they are 16 year girls that have families that miss them tremendously


I have added you to my prayer list. I'm so sorry.
And you are absolutely right. My son was a baseball player, National Honor Society, popular (still is) and well admired for his kindness and acceptance of everyone. I am in a parent support group, and the common thread of our addicted children is intelligence. The majority of these kids are at the top of their class when the trouble starts.

Drug addiction is at epidemic levels. We need to wake up as parents. Smoking pot, cigarettes, drinking etc is not just kids being kids. Back in our day (said in my best old lady voice), we might have been able to drink or smoke pot, and the majority of us didn't take it any further. Why? Because we didn't have anything else that was seemingly benign and acceptable to experiment with. We had alcohol and pot (bad, but relatively tame in our warped minds...hey, our parents drank, right?), and we had street drugs (coke, crack, acid, heroin) that were just too over the top to consider.

Kids today have a medicine cabinet of "safe" drugs....only NEWS FLASH: Oxycontin (narcotic prescribed for pain) is actually synthetic HEROIN! A kid might not ever try heroin on his own, but once he's tried Oxy (a "safe" drug) and runs out of money to buy it, he will likely turn to it's ugly cousin, heroin...which is ridiculously cheap and easy to get on every corner of this country. Do you know what the average heroin user looks like? Middle class, white, 18-24 year old. Those are the facts.




CheriVall
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Posted: 6/28/2012 9:25:04 AM

What brand of drug test do you recommend for reliability?


We get ours online so I am not sure of the brand .. it is a 7 panel screen I think (Jon is the one that handles the drug tests .. I will ask him when I talk to him and get back to you)

Cheri


"There is a choice you make in everything you do. In the end, the choice you make, makes you." ~Author Unknown

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." -unknown



Kaitlyn's Promise
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{{ body }}
{{ footer }}