Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

More Things I Wish I had Known...
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, February 28, 2012

- From The Bridge to Hope

CLICK HERE TO CONNECT TO "BRIDGE TO HOPE" - A Weekly Meeting of Families Affected by Substance Abuse or go to: bridge2hope.org

The “Bridge to Hope” group is a support group for those impacted by the addiction of a loved one. The Bridge to Hope Family Support Group’s mission is to educate and support families confronted with substance abuse and addiction, so they will know they do not walk alone.


“…I had known I wasn’t alone through all of this and that there was a good support system out there. When I reached out and had a chance to talk with others I realized I wasn’t going crazy.”

“…I had listened to that little whisper from my heart that told me my child was using drugs.”

"…I hadn’t convinced myself that this was “just a phase” or adolescent “right of passage.” That I knew how to distinguish between normal teenage behavior and drug related behavior.”

“…I had understood that no matter how much I loved my child, how much I cried, how much I hurt, how much I bribed, how much I punished, I couldn’t make my child stop using drugs.”

“…I had understood that taking care of myself was just as important as helping my addicted child recover. I had to get better so the cycle of enabling could be broken.”

“… I had understood that addiction could occur in any family. It is not just something that happens in dysfunctional families. Being a role model or even a great parent role model is not enough to stop the disease of addiction.”

“…I had known the huge impact this disease would have on my entire family; and I had taken steps to make sure everyone got the help they needed earlier rather than later.”

“…I had understood how very important it is to have everyone who is supporting a child’s recovery (all parents, family members, church, school and others) on the same page.”

“…I had understood that there is a strong spiritual component to recovery from this disease; that church can be a significant resource for my child and my family. Churches have experience dealing with other addicts in the congregation and they can help us understand that recovery comes from faith in a Higher Power.”

“… I had been able to let go and let God sooner. Recovering from the impact of addiction in the family is a process that takes time and is different for each person.”

“…I had known and really understood what terrible lengths my child would go to (lying, stealing, running away and much worse) to obtain drugs. Valuables needed to be removed from my child’s grasp before the family heirlooms ended up in the pawnshop never to be seen again.”

“…I had understood the difference between encouraging and enabling. Enabling resulted in spending upwards of $10,000 on heroin over the years.”

“…I had known I was enabling my child to use drugs when I lied for him and protected him from consequences. Addiction is a situation of opposites where your heart will rule your decisions instead of your brain. You are not helping your child by protecting him from the consequences of his actions no matter what your heart tells you.”

“…I had known that someday I would feel good about my child being in jail because he is safe and not using drugs.”

“…I had paid attention to the warning signs: dropping grades, withdrawal from sports and school activities, disappearance of old friends (the “good kids”), new friends who had first names but no faces or last names, increased secret phone activity, sneaking out, etc.”

“…I hadn’t convinced myself that this was “just a phase” or adolescent “right of passage.” That I knew how to distinguish between normal teenage behavior and drug related behavior.”

“…I had known more about the drug situation in my community and school. As parents, we are ignorant of the drug problem with a capital “I”. We have to educate ourselves about street drugs, their potency and symptoms of use, as well as the potential for abuse of prescription or other medicine that we may have in the house.”

“…I had listened to the clues I was given by teachers and the school principal. I think many people knew or suspected about my child’s drug use before it was acknowledged at home.”

“…I had understood that drugs are literally everywhere including churches, schools, recovery meetings, rehabilitation centers and places of employment.”

“…I had known that even when I tried to make my child safe by “grounding” them that drugs could easily be “delivered” to the house.”

“…I had understood that no matter how much I loved my child, how much I cried, how much I hurt, how much I bribed, how much I punished, I couldn’t make my child stop using drugs.”

“…I had known that treatment was not a one-shot deal and not a cure.”

“…I understood what a really long process recovery from addiction is (years not months) and that after abstaining from drug use it takes them a long time to catch up with their peers intellectually and socially even though they want so much to be normal.”

“…I had been aware that all recovery meetings are not the same and I had to shop around to find the right program for my child.”

“…I had never given up on my child. Recovery takes time. “Just for today” are watchwords. What a difference two years makes! There isn’t any good reason to give up hope.”

“…I had challenged the educational professionals at school more. There is a truant officer at some schools to support efforts to keep your child in school but you have to ask. There are alternative education programs at some schools but you have to ask.”

“…I had questioned the doctors and the experts more. Addiction can masquerade as depression. I think the age of the child is an issue in treatment. Techniques that work well with a 23-year old may not be appropriate for a 13-year old.”

“…I had known about Act 53, a government funded program to involuntarily court order a child into treatment without a criminal record.”

“…I had known that drug tests could be manipulated.”

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Are You A "Balloonatic" ? - by Jessica
Posted by:Sally--Monday, February 20, 2012

BALLOONATIC - The overwhelming feeling that addiction issues have filled your home like a Macy's parade balloon.

Recently I was asked by our wonderful Wesley Spectrum Family Therapist, Jocelyn, to draw a picture representing Herman's "size" relative to the other four rabbits, Roger and myself in our family circle.

It was then that I realized that Herman, who is now "out" about having no interest in working his recovery program, is significantly larger in size than the rest of us.

The image of a huge Macy's parade balloon came into mind, because he completely fills up our home presently, making everyone else seem so small and unnoticeable, not to mention difficult to navigate around in our daily lives.

I also think it is fair to say that an addict who sees no need to be in recovery in order to stay clean, is very much like a large parade balloon; both are full of hot air/gas, and can float out of control do damage without controls in place.

That being said, I started to do some thinking. I found the similarities with guiding a giant helium parade balloon and coexisting with an addict not working a recovery program remarkable.

To guide a Macy's balloon:

50 to 100 volunteers who have had extensive training (because some balloons are more difficult to handle than others) are required. It would be more than helpful if we had 50 to 100 volunteers, but we have six; Roger, the various therapists, one very experienced, strong (wind tested) P.O., Lloyd, and me. I think this group might exceed the power of 100 volunteers, or at least we tell ourselves so.

You must be at least 120 pounds. For our balloon, you must have strong intestinal fortitude. No light weights could handle this stuff.

You must be in good health. This is another important requirement for our balloon. Thus the need to attend support groups like PSST, along with the other various ways to keep your self physically, spiritually, and mentally healthy. I took up running, because along with the obvious mood and health benefits, it is almost impossible to cry and run at a good pace. It works for me.

Now on to planning for the parade route.

For the Macy's parade, a few team leaders are required. A police officer marches along with each balloon. Once again, the similarities are striking. We also have two leaders, Roger and me, and our P.O. marches along with us. In handling our Baby Herman balloon, we have become almost invisible. Let's face it, how many people actually notice the balloon handlers?

Typically, handlers are dressed up in outfits that coordinate with their balloon. Much like the losing of oneself when you only see yourself as the parent of an addict who is headed for relapse. So the handlers/parents hold onto the ropes and guide the balloon, while trying to prevent a mishap. Many accidents happen, your balloon could collapse, and then you find the need to carry it. Your balloon could also crash into a building or injure a handler or an innocent spectator.

Of course true "Balloonatics" are not discouraged or dissuaded by this. We set up guidelines or contracts to help keep the balloon, the handlers, and the spectators safe.

Our Baby Herman "balloon" is one of the more challenging types. He carries around him, the atmosphere of using, think Pig Pen from the Peanuts comic strip.

It consists of:

1) denying the need to go to 12 step meetings, making excuses for why they are not for him

2) fantasizing and reminiscing of his glory days using, and thinking about using in the future

3) desperately waiting to reconnect with old using friends and go to old using places. Any new friend possibilities are discarded as "losers"

4) Addict mentality, the lying, over confidence,defensiveness, mood swings, and self centered point of view - think "dry drunk"

Eventually Herman will relapse. We cannot predict when, but given his lack of working any recovery program, we know a big windy rain storm is headed our parade route.

We Balloonatics will continue to hold onto the ropes, trying to prevent an accident, and guiding Herman as he works and goes to school. This is the best we can do as far as preparing him for his "discharge" from our home in 189 days. As seasoned balloon wranglers, we have a contract in place. We may find ourselves letting go of the ropes sooner than 189 days, if our rope burn gets unmanageable.

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Nature VS Nurture - by Wilma
Posted by:Sally--Monday, February 13, 2012

Nature vs Nurture?

This is an age old question when trying to understand behavior. I think many of us PSST parents struggle with this question when trying to understand our substance abusing teens. And as an adoptive mother (and there are quite a few of us in PSST who are adoptive parents) I can't help but wonder. Bam Bam's birth mom had substance abuse and psychiatric problems herself.

And I found out recently that Bam had found one of his brothers on facebook. At first I didn't recognize the name. What caught my eye was this boy mentioning placement and tagging kids he had known in placement so I thought that maybe this was someone Bam had met in placement. then I noticed the hometown linked it with the kid's name and put the puzzle together. And this brother was busted for his involvement in knocking off a convenience store with a gun and had posts about being high. And he is only 16 years old. We have not had physical contact with the birthfamily in about 13 years. So here we have two brothers, not raised together, but both with substance abuse problems, placements and crime. Bam was picked up for shoplifting once and not charged but I suspect that wasn't the first or last time he just hasn't been caught again. But I know that in my own biological family we have had alcoholism, suicide, crime, mental health problems. So even if Bam was my biological child we still had our own skeletons in the closet. I think I was (am) a good mother and did the best I could. I feel that I nurtured him gave him unconditional love, stability. I know i'm not perfect, far from it. And there are kids out there with worse environments who don't turn to drugs and alcohol. Could I have prevented this? Probably not. I just hope that eventually he "gets" it and turns his life around. He is making some progress but I'm afraid when the ankle bracelet comes off, even with probation, he may not be able to resist the influences of his friends and his craving for weed and alcohol.


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Virtual PSST Make-up Meeting
Posted by:Rocco--Monday, February 13, 2012

Virtual PSST Make-up Meeting

Sorry about the last minute cancellation of the Wexford PSST Meeting due to the snow. We all know that addiction issues do not take "Snow Days".

We would like to try a "Virtual PSST Meeting" - Sally and I will start with our comments and you are invited to enter your own or to respond in the comment section.

If you have too much for the comment section that is not a problem - please send an e-mail to sallyservives@gmail.com at the top right hand corner of the Blog.

Sally and Rocco: Our son Cisco is 19 and has been in and out of recovery programs since he was 15. We have been coming to meetings on a regular basis since May, 2009. Cisco is now off of juvenile probation and we are thankful (like Violet) that he is still alive and has no charges or legal issues pending. He is about to complete 30 days of a recovery program that he went into on his own. He tells us that he is able to handle his recovery better because nobody has forced him to do it.

He will be returning to our home on Wednesday and going back to his job on Friday. We have a contract ready for him spelling out that he will continue to work his recovery, show respect to his family and his home, stay away from any mind altering substances and illegal activities, allow us to work his budget with him and other rules concerning people, places and things.

He understands that the consequence of any violation of the contract is finding somewhere else to live. He understands what this means since he did it for almost two months and says he does not want to do it again.

We are thankful for where we are and that we have control of our lives and our home. We are thankful where Cisco is as this time. We accept that we are where we are supposed to be and of course we are thankful for everyone's support at PSST.

We will continue this "One day at a time."

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If you can still pretend, you can still change.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Sunday, February 12, 2012

Click here to see the source of this picture
People don't change because they can't imagine themselves changing. It's a wall that each of us puts up. That way if we don't try to change we can't fail at it.

While change is the most difficult thing that each of us do, it's also a very simple thing. That is to say it's not rocket science. It's easy to understand the idea of change but difficult to implement change. That's where pretending can help.

Think of children. One of their primary play activities is pretend. Pretending prepares us for real change; however, as we get older we cease pretending.

Consider our teens in inpatient. We are of course disappointed when we see our teenager "pretending" to change. We know our teen is full of it; however if we realized that "pretending" is the first step to taking down the barrier to change, then we might feel different about it. Pretending helps the teenager to imagine the actual change thereby making it possible, but of course not guaranteed.

The same principal can work for us. Parent's who are beginning to attend PSST sometimes can't imagine themselves standing up to their own teenager. Try pretending. Try pretending that you are that really tough parent that you admire at PSST. What have you got to lose?

If you do try pretending keep this in mind. Just like the teen in the rehab, it doesn't help him if he just pretends now and then. He has to attain a consistency to his pretending or else it won't fool anyone. Once he attains that consistency, he can actually trick himself into real change. By pretending consistently he has really imagined himself changing. It's a case of: "from time to time is a waste of time."

Therefore, if you do try pretending, try to be consistent with your change. After a month you can look back and evaluate. For example, if you tried to use "nevertheless" and "regardless" each time that your teenager tried to manipulate you then pretend that you will do that for a month. You don't have to be perfect with it but continue the effort consistently.

I think most of us agree that we need to be ready to change before we can change. Some people would disagree with that. Some people would say that a change of behavior comes first and the change of behavior actually changes the way you think and feel and viola, you become ready. Either way, you don't really have to even feel "ready" if you're just pretending to change. And, you can make it fun if you try. Wasn't pretending always fun when you were a child?

For some it will be difficult to pretend. Some will become focused on the question, "But what comes next?"

This is the crux of the matter. If you focus on "what comes next" you successfully stop yourself from changing. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am and the change process if stifled.

There is a saying in 12-step: "More will be revealed."

I love that saying because it works just as well for people of faith as it does for the Agnostic. You don't have to think that your higher power is the agent revealing "more" but you can if that fits with your faith. However, it's also possible to believe that "more will be revealed" because that is simply the way the universe works. The experience of being alive is that one thing is revealed after the next. Like an onion, layer after layer of things being revealed to you. It's not possible for everything to be revealed at one time. Just imagine that! We would be so overwhelmed.

In other words don't focus on what happens next. Let tomorrow take care of tomorrow. Tomorrow you will be in a better position to see things clearly. If I can borrow from the Bible:

John 21:6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

What would you like to change the most but don't think you're ready? Cast out your net. Pretend. Do it every day for a month. Then see what's in your net.

If you can still pretend you can still change.

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Reflections - by Violet
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, February 11, 2012


As I read the posts I am brought back to the days of not so long ago filled will despair. I have seen myself in many of the situations filled with doubt as to the commitment and sobriety of my son, and to the ability of my parenting skills. Which surface all too frequently, but not this day and the rule I try to embrace is, for today that is good enough.

I am in a different place than many of my PSST comrades and at times feel that my contribution may be limited but I would like to update my journey in the hope that others may realize there is an end to this madness. Oh, it doesn't come quickly. It doesn't come because your child has some miraculous epiphany. It comes, over time, because you have changed. In time, you decide what you will tolerate. In the interim your child is getting older and through practice you are able to make your decisions by detaching with love thereby harboring less guilt and shifting the responsibility where it should be, on our children.

So, with that, back to my story.

In the not so long distant past, through the darkness of suicides, death, moving, fires, floods, overdoses, psychiatric disorders, police, arrests, county jail, homelessness, rehabs, relapses, and juvenile probation, we have emerged to a new level of uncharted waters. The young adult. Oh yes, there were many times I could not imagine my son living this long, yet here we are.

Sal, is now 20. A young 20 due to years of drugs delaying his mental development. He is in his 2nd year of college, (can you even believe I can say Sal and college in the same sentence).The holidays were the first time he was home for longer than a few days in a very long time. While he is in my house the hyper vigilance, room and body searches, limited friends, accountability and consequences all continue. I find I am much better when he is away than at home and I no longer feel guilty with that realization. I have accepted that he has been given all the tools for life, it is now his choice which path he travels down. I will help him any way I can as long as he is sincere about his accomplishments as well as his failures. I am comfortable with the decisions I need to make, whether it be easy or extremely hard. I have the tools, thanks to PSST, to keep him in my home if he's on track or put him out if he is not. As you know the realization that he is responsible for his actions did not come overnight or even over several years, yet it has come and I now have some type of peace knowing just as he controls his destiny, I have control over mine, at least for today.

The fights are gone. My actions are more deliberate now. An example: He is supposed to return my calls promptly. I don't know about all of you, but if I don't hear back from him in my mind, he is high, in trouble or just doing something he shouldn't. The new part is that I can't control his actions so I calmly turn off his phone and go about my day. He finds a phone to call me back and the usual protests of, you won't be able to talk to me if I don't have a phone are no longer met with fear and guilt but answered with, your right, I won't. So now he has to think, his usual antics are not effective, so surprisingly an apology comes. The phone gets turned back on. Several test calls are given and he responds. Should he not, off it goes for longer. What is amazing to me and mind you I am an educated person, is that a slight twist in my response brings a different reaction from him. Who would’ a thought!

Yes, I still get crazy. Our alcohol and valuables are still under lock. While he was home, we were loading up my car. I had my keys (which contain the keys for the alcohol and valuables) on me and used them to open my car. We get in the car to leave and my keys are gone. Well of course I blamed Sal. I searched him and his room. Accused him all day. Insisted if he didn't turn them over he would have to leave. He calmly kept saying he did not take them. Then as I get into bed that night, contemplating my course of action, I step on my keys that had fallen on the floor. I apologize to Sal and tell him at this point he will always be first suspect. He just said I know mom. Not so long ago this scenario would have played out much differently, mainly because Sal would have had the keys. The growth for both of us is that I did not feel guilty accusing him and he accepted that he has much work to do to change that.

I do not drug test Sal at this point. That may change if he is allowed to stay with me this summer. He also understands that staying with me is my decision based on his actions or lack of them. Being that Sal used K-2 in the past, a clean drug test for him doesn't mean he's clean, I use his behavior and my gut as my guide. This is not for everyone, but at this point for me it works.

I saw Sal Friday at college. I find I need to inspect him to determine how I feel he is doing. His psychiatrist has advanced his visits to every 2 months now. He doesn't need his medication to sleep every night. We talked. He looked well. Clear eyes. Eye contact when speaking. His weight was good. Then I got a flat tire. Normally that would have caused an outburst on his part and he probably would have called for a ride back to campus. But something different happened. He got out to put on the spare. He told me to put on the emergency brake, but I didn't feel he was right, what did he know. So he said nothing and the car slipped off the jack about 6 times. Each time he just put it under the car and kept working away. It was about 12 degrees out that day. A good Samaritan came after about 40 minutes and asked what the problem was. Sal told him the car kept slipping off the jack. The man said do you have the emergency brake on. Sal looks at me and said, Mom, I told you we needed to have that on. So, I put it on and low and behold he gets the job done in no time. Now in another day not so long ago, this would have caused a terrible scene. I said sorry son. He said that's o.k. Mom. I rewarded his behavior with a small amount of cash which got a thank you to which I replied no son, thank you.

So, in this life of an addict’s parent, I hold on to those small moments of progress, I remember the past and understand that tomorrow is not promised. But for today I have a smile and that's just good enough!


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I Am Thankful - by Violet
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, February 11, 2012

I wanted to share in a somewhat light and humorous way some of the things I have become thankful for as only parents of addicts can appreciate. Not to make light of any of my daily blessings, but that's for another time.

I Am Thankful:

That I moved 60 miles to a new city, left my family and friends, bought another house (my old one was paid for), enrolled my son in a private school in an attempt save his life. (Who knew then, addicts can find drugs anywhere.)

That I have the courage to make the hard choices through all my tears and heartbreak.

That I am not bankrupt from all the theft caused by my son.

That the thieves he brought in my home that robbed me did not harm anyone.

That all the property he destroyed can (eventually) be replaced.

That the bullets fired at my car, on two separate occasions did not harm anyone.

That I was strong (or maybe stupid) enough to physically fight for control of my home and I was not seriously injured. ( I am a professional, do not attempt.)

That the fire that destroyed my new house 18 months after I moved in, while we were sleeping, was not caused by my son and no one was harmed.

That the flooding of my other house (which at the time I had not sold) was not caused by my son and no one was harmed.

That I no longer have to check my son while he's sleeping to see if he's still breathing.

That the overdoses, attempted suicide, dealers and living on the street did not kill my son.

That I will forgive(maybe) but never forget those who pretend my son doesn't exist.

That I am not the only one who has Shuman, the jail, family court, the police, Western psych, Resolve, Probation and various placements in their GPS and speed dial.

That the police no longer know us by our first names.

That even though I live with alarm systems, security cameras, deadbolts and coded locks, I still call it home.

That my boys and I have not totally (although that can be debated on occasion) lost our minds following witnessing the suicides in our lives.

That I still have a job, considering all the days used dealing with the court and placements.

That I no longer want to assault all the "perfect families", who think what to wear to prom is a problem.

That there is medication for my blood pressure, depression, anxiety and stress.

That I understand Addiction is a disease and the 3 C's that go with it.(Didn't cause it, can't control it, can't cure it).

That in our Juvenile system there are professionals that care.

That I have found skills, support and friends at PSST who do not judge.

That as you are reading this you are nodding your head in understanding.

That there is always a chance that tomorrow will bring a new today!!


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I Don't Smoke, I Only Vape - by WIlma
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, February 11, 2012

Well, here is something I haven't heard of. In checking Bam Bam's text messages he has one from a "friend" asking for money for the magic flight box he is buying. Of course I have no idea what this is so check the internet and what do you know another device for smoking weed or rather "vaping". I found a rave review on marijuana.com. I have never heard of "vaporizing" so had to go to my favorite website, urbandictionary.com, to find out what the heck this is.

Now he can inhale the weed vapors instead of smoking a joint. And it says that it makes toking up at home or in a dorm much less risky. Since Bam is on home detention he might be thinking this is a way to keep "smoking" without the odor to alert us. Of course, he is still being drug tested but I think his need for weed is greater than fear of being positive. He also continues to use chewing tobacco in his room which is against house rules but a battle I'm not picking to fight at the moment as Fred and I are not on the same page with this. I wonder if he'll try "vaping" the chew??

I have attached a word document with some definitions.


vaporizer 259 up, 27 down
The most efficient way to smoke weed. Fully releases all of the THC from the weed, saving your lungs from the abuse of J's, spliffs, and blunts. You will exhale a white, ODORLESS vapor, making toking up at home and in a standard college dorm room much less risky. Gets you more high off less weed, pays for itself.

vaporizer 2 thumbs down
The most efficient way of consuming substances found in herbs by avoiding combustion and the various health risks that are accustomed to smoke. Cannabis vaporized is proven to deliver most of the active ingredients found in the plant (cannabinoids, flavinoids, etc) while avoiding the majority of tar, carcinogens and unwanted chemicals. The vaporizer does this by heating the herbal blend up with heat by using hot air (convection), a safe metal heating plate (conduction), or sometimes both. The extracted cannabinoids turn into a mist (or vapor), and is less irritating to the lungs, therefore reducing coughing and allowing you to inhale larger hits. Since THC can be destroyed by combustion, the total % of THC inhaled per hit is much more than smoking, therefore reducing the amount of herb used for desired effect; in the long run saving you money. By using heat right under the threshold of combustion, many chemicals found in smoke is not present in vapor. The temperatures used are from 314.6 F - 400+ F. When a vaporizer is first used, it tends to become the preferred method consumption, producing a positive, very cerebral head high. Many of the couch lock effects from smoking will be left behind, leaving you to want to get up and do something like socialize or get tasks done, instead of being a lazy couch potato. The biggest change people notice from making the switch to vaping is a HUGE reduction in phelgm, and the dreaded Smokers Cough

vaporizer 259 up, 27 down
The most efficient way to smoke weed. Fully releases all of the THC from the weed, saving your lungs from the abuse of J's, spliffs, and blunts. You will exhale a white, ODORLESS vapor, making toking up at home and in a standard college dorm room much less risky. Gets you more high off less weed, pays for itself.
We're gonna come back from the party and hit the vaporizer and get RIPPED

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A Parent Asks for Advice on Act 53
Posted by:Sally--Saturday, February 11, 2012


We are in a predicament about whether to go through with the Act 53 papers. Or not.

It would help a lot if my husband and I agreed fully on it. He will support my final decision but at this point I am exhausted and tired of doing all the foot work myself.

This could be the last foot work I may have to do since my daughter will turn 18 this May 24. Also she left and is living at another kids house because of her knowing I was looking into Act 53. She is only a block away and we know exactly which house so that is reassuring.

There is just no crystal ball to know whether this is the best way to go or my husband's thoughts are let her go and this will not last. Then when she comes to her senses she will ask to come home and then she will be given the stipulation that she can only come home after she gets into a rehab.

But I asked him if she knocked on the door this cold wintry night do we let her in and then expect her to look for this rehab? Or do we refuse the minor in the door?

If she gets back in, can she then not look for the rehab and refuse to leave?

Then we are stuck and back to keeping my purse always locked in our triple locked "fort" which is our bedroom.

Make sure the car keys are locked up there to and any medication including the dogs medication is locked up.

And who is to say she will not again do drugs in the house that she buys from the local stores (orange extract, Unisom sleep aid, Benadryl, cough syrup etc). Right now she is with so called fellow friends who she claims are treating her wonderfully.

So if I have her ripped out of there because being accepted by peers is her life long dream since she was bullied so badly at high school we had to remove her for her own safety (suggested by the school).

PA Cyber-School did not work so she is at this time a drop out. After her summer drug rehab that she came out of fantastic and herself and happy for the first time in 5 years.

The goal was for her to get a lot of NA meetings under her belt, get her GED, driver's license, job, and prepare for college courses.

None of the goals where met due to one issue and relapses we dealt with within 6 weeks after getting home.

Please tell me more about your experience with ACT 53 and the other PSST parents who dealt with this dilemma.

Thank you,

Two Tired Parents

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Ralph a Proponent of Home Drug Testing
Posted by:Ralph--Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Alice and I have been drug testing Ed and Norton at home for several years. The point of home drug testing is about knowing the information that we need to make good parental decisions concerning our teens. For example, "Is our teen just being a teenager, having a medical issue, or is she using drugs?" The answer to that would mean a drastically different approach to helping your son or daughter.

Ed and Norton would often lie about their drug use. In the early days, that was confusing to Alice and I, because we were led down a path by manipulation. Then when we did start drug testing at home, it was hard because we were accused of not trusting them, and Ed and Norton found several creative ways "cheat" on the tests. But, if we had it to do over again, I'm sure that we would still start home drug testing as soon as we suspected or knew of problems. The tests avoid the fuzzy decision making, some manipulations, and sometimes false accusations.

We have used mostly urine test "cards" or "sticks" that need less than an ounce of urine and about 5 minutes to react and dry. We have also used the saliva tests. For us, the urine cards were easier and less expensive. We've also found that the accuracy of the cards is way above what you need for a home test. If the reagent turns a color, even lightly, that is close enough that your teen has passed. A little bit of drug goes a long way to keep the reagent colorless.

The test sticks cost roughly $1 to $2 per drug tested, and come in 1- to 12-drug test cards. There are tests for most drugs, except the Spice/K2 fake incense and artificial cannaboids and the newer "bath salts" drug concoctions. Depending upon the drug and the amount used, you can catch many drugs for up to 2 weeks after last use with these sticks. This is enough that statistically, you can catch all drug use with just a weekly drug screen, and be pretty sure with a bi-weekly test. Alcohol is a little tougher. You will need to catch it within a few hours to 2 days, and I only know of saliva tests for it. Hopefully someone with more knowledge about alcohol tests can comment to this post.

Remember this rule: "If you refuse to take the test, you are dirty/fail the test." You will probably need it. Also, as I mentioned, Ed and Norton were very good at cheating on these tests at first. You will need to make sure that your teen has no access to water, liquids, or other solid contaminates during the sample collection.

Test cards and other test equipment can be obtained from three different types of locations, depending upon your preference and comfort. First, some local drug stores have test kits available at the store. These cost a little more, but for non-regular testing, if you can find the test you desire, it is easy to pick one up while you're doing normal shopping.

The second source is a local company. Jim Musiol of DTx (One Step Detect Associates) in Jefferson Hills visited a PSST meeting in May 2010. You can buy the same cards and kits from their office or from their web site:

One Step Detect Associates
1474 Route 51
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

Finally, a family-owned mail order company in Maria Stein, Ohio called Test Medical Symptoms will ship an order out, arriving in just a few days in a plain brown box. They have telephone and web-based ordering. There are discounts for web ordering and sometimes sales of soon-to-expire tests.


Above all, Good Luck! It is not easy to parent teens with addiction, and hopefully you can find a way to make home drug screening a tool to help you and your teen to "keep it real", as Alice and I did.

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Bromo-dragonfly (B-fly) is the new kid on the block
Posted by:Rocco--Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Take a look at what kids are attracted to when it comes to synthetic drugs. As they say, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

Get on YouTube and look at the thousands of videos posted by teenagers about their high on salvia, Bromo-dragonfly, K-2 and bath salts – all easily available synthetic drugs are available on the internet.

Synthetic drugs are full of contaminants and are made by amateurs. No one can ever really be sure what they are taking and in what dosage.

Dragonfly: What This Deadly New Drug Means for Your Family
By Joseph Lee MD - Medical Director of Hazelden’s Youth Continuum
Dr. Oz Show © 2012 ZoCo1, LLC

From doctoroz.com

Synthetic or designer drugs have been around for some time now, but they have been surging in popularity in the U.S. over the past decade. There’s synthetic marijuana, synthetic amphetamines (i.e., K-2, Spice, Herbal Incense, Bath Salts), and an ever-growing list of synthetic hallucinogens, including Dragonfly, all easily available online for any half-determined individual.

Despite the rash of synthetic-drug-related headlines in the past year, I find many parents and adolescents still feel these issues don’t pertain to them.

These problems are often imagined to exist in lower income parts of cities, “…not in our neighborhoods” and certainly not in our homes. Gauging current trends, however, there are plenty of reasons for every family to become aware. I hope the information below helps some families out there from suffering a preventable tragedy.

Bromo-dragonfly (B-fly) is the new kid on the block.

What Is Dragonfly?

Bromo Dragonfly is one of the dozens of designer hallucinogens with an increased presence in our communities. There are many cousins of Dragonfly, most famously the “2C” drugs, such as 2C-B and 2C-E. All of these chemicals work on serotonin, and change the way we feel and experience the world through our thoughts and senses.

Bromo-dragonfly is the name for another synthetic amphetamine modified from the common phenylethylamine structure. The name comes from the molecular structure that resembles a dragonfly.

Users love the hallucinogenic properties that are just less than those of LSD and the longer duration of effect, which may be more than several days. Typical doses are sold commonly in the form of blotters (paper that is soaked in liquid then cut into square tabs).

In 2007, an 18-year-old woman in Denmark was found dead after ingestion of a hallucinogenic liquid later found to be Bromo-Dragonfly. This case led to B-fly being classified as an illegal drug in Denmark on December 5, 2007. Several reports of deaths and toxicities followed.

Bromo Dragonfly is extremely potent, meaning that a very small dose has a very big kick – even a minor overdose can be disastrous.

Confusion, heart problems, hallucinations, seizures and even death have been reported from the consumption of Dragonfly, and it has been banned in several other Western countries. Moreover, many of the individuals who have suffered from its use were first time users.

Young people are now routinely treated across the country whose minds have been devastated by the impact of various synthetic drugs. Many of them get better, but the hallucinations, paranoia and disorganized thoughts can last months.

Why Would My Child Use Dragonfly?

Let’s be realistic. Young people have, and probably always will, experiment with substances.

Though risk-taking and novelty-seeking may be expected, easier access to drugs (usually online) and an endless stream of incomplete open source information (usually online) are newer trends.

Combined, these variables give some very false and very dangerous confidence about using these substances “safely.” The legal gray area that many synthetic drugs reside in certainly does nothing to discourage such a notion.

There is, an increasing number of young people who find that their social reputation improves significantly as they become amateur experts in obscure drugs. They innocently, but ignorantly, give advice to their friends about how someone else used safely before, how to mix the chemicals, and what they should expect.

All of this occurs without any knowledge of drug interactions and preexisting medical conditions. There is very little accountability when catastrophe strikes.

Some young people who buy Dragonfly actually believe they are buying acid or another drug, only to fall victim. This is because most of these designer drugs are full of contaminants and are made by amateur laboratories. No one can ever really be sure what they are taking and in at what dosage.

Why Is This Stuff Legal?

Dragonfly and many other synthetic drugs are currently not regulated on a federal level. The problem is that these chemicals can easily be altered with slight changes in structure to evade regulation. It also takes time for legislation to pass, creating an endless catch-up game for government agencies.

These drugs are bought online sometimes from other countries, so jurisdiction is another problem.

How Can I Protect My Family?

In the end, parents are the CEOs of their home. If your family is currently in crisis or you have strong suspicions, there are a number of ways to safeguard your home.

This includes tracking credit card statements, screening packages that come to the home, and especially tracking Internet browsing histories.
If you are in a desperate situation, don’t feel bad about doing what is necessary in your child’s best interest.

That being said, the best way to prevent drug use is to establish a culture in your home that preserves both safety and dignity.

Parents need to clear about the expectations they have regarding drug use. It’s equally important to withhold judgment so that children won’t be discouraged to communicate with you in times of need. The best parenting styles for drug prevention are authoritative, meaning that while parents are emotionally available and compassionate, they hold firm boundaries and expectations.

Most Importantly – Get Help

All of us are blinded by the love we have for our children and no one is consistently an objective observer of themselves and their families. If you have any concerns, pediatricians, mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, and school resources can all point the way to effective screening and evaluation.

Perspective and Prevention

Bromo Dragonfly will not be the last drug, synthetic or otherwise, to make headlines, but it does represent some new trends in drug use.

The Internet’s role in drug use, easy accessibility, and murky legalities are all now a reality for many families. It’s up to parents, teachers and health-care professionals to protect our loved ones through education and prevention.

Dr. Oz Show © 2012 ZoCo1, LLC

Dr. Oz Investigates Dragonfly – Part 1

Dr. Oz Investigates Dragonfly – Part 2


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You're right! Nevertheless comment by Joy Y.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, February 04, 2012

This post from Joy Y originally posted May 11, 2011.  Joy Y identifies herself as a Canadian PSST reader.

Today at a record breaking PSST meeting where 27 or 28 parents, (still counting heads) attended, "Ralph Kramden" pointed out not to forget to use these power words when I was doing a role-play.  Earlier, "Joan" pointed out that she had used nevertheless to make a strong point with her daughter too. 

Original Post:  "I have learned from (from Max and Lloyd) that there are two words / phrases that are extremely powerful (1) "you're right" and (2) "nevertheless." When used sequentially (in that order), they have power beyond the sum of their parts. Joy Y.

Thanks for the comment, Joy Y. It seems to be more powerful when you give real agreement to something, as opposed to lipservice, and not apply the nevertheless like a negating "but."

Also, these two work well with "I'm NOT comfortable with that."

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