Quote of the Week

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

Marijuana and E-Cigs
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, October 21, 2013

Local reports from Florida, New York, and Philadelphia have reported on the trend of using electronic cigarettes to vaporize marijuana, citing concerns of parents, law makers, and law enforcement agents who worry that electronic cigarettes allow users to get high without detection. Both products are legal in some states and not in others, making enforcement even more challenging.

For the full article, click here.

Thanks to Lloyd for sharing this link!

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A Teen's View of Prescription Drug Abuse
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, October 20, 2013

(Thanks to Mary Canary for sharing this article.)

With his new documentary, “Out of Reach,” filmmaker Cyrus Stowe, a senior at a Dallas high school, set out to uncover the growing problem of friends sharing and abusing prescription medications in his hometown.

"I’m grateful that my film can open eyes and prompt action, and that can start with talking with your kids about medicine abuse, and safeguarding your medicine. It’s as simple as going into your bathroom, opening up your medicine cabinet and understanding the orange bottles in front of you are easy targets for abuse. Keep them safe and out of reach."

Read the rest of Stowe's account about the problem, along with his experience in making the film, by clicking here.

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Parents of the Year Speech
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, October 12, 2013

Quote from Paul & Anne's Parents of the Year acceptance speech at the Allegheny County awards ceremony, October 2013:

Please remember this in regards to our child's addiction:
    * We didn't cause it.
    * We can't control it.
    * We can't cure it.
We can't want their sobriety more than they do.  When we do, it leads to enabling behavior that is ultimately detrimental to our child's well being.

The one thing Paul & I have learned from this journey is:  Even when we can't change a situation, we can change our response to it!

We still take it one day at a time, but believe us . . .  there is hope when all seems hopeless!

2013 Allegheny County Juvenile Court Parents of the Year (full speech)

  • This is sort of like winning the prettiest person award in an ugly contest. You wish that you weren't eligible to be considered, but yet proud to be selected.
  • Thank you for this recognition, it has been added and checked off on our bucket list!  Who knew!
  • We have met so many parents throughout our journey that are so much more deserving of this award than us, but thank you.
  • There isn't a parent here tonight who didn't have a different hope and dreams for their child, but life has a way of thrusting us into situations we never dreamed we would face.
  • We stand before you this evening with a message of hope,
          o  Because frankly, sometimes, hope is all we have.
          o  But hope needs help!  It needs the assistance of perseverance.

  • We must be an advocate for our children . . . be their voice when navigating through the system.

There are so many people that we'd like to thank for helping keep our son alive until he came to the realization that he had to change.  We call them, Team Cameron:

  • Sheri Magill, Act 53                              *  Lloyd Woodward
  • Kathie Tagmyer                                   *  Val Ketter
  • Justin Innocent, Wesley Spectrum / Juvenile Probation Officer
  • Elizabeth Bayley, Wesley Spectrum       *  Bob Banos
  • Judge Dwayne Woodruff                       *  Judge Borkowski

Just to give you an idea of the journey Team Cameron has traveled, here are the places we have all been to beginning in April 2008:
  • Western Psych                                      April-May 2008:
  • Pyramid Ridgeview                                May-July 2008:
  • Shuman                                                July 5-August 2010:
  • Abraxas I                                              August 2010-February 2011:
  • Liberty Station                                       February-May 2011:
  • Shuman                                                May 2011:
  • Alpha House                                          May-August 2, 2011:
  • August 2-August 9: Ran from Alpha, relapsed
  • CLEAN DATE:            August 8, 2011
  • Allegheny County Jail                             August 9-September 2011:
  • Shuman                                                September 2011:
  • Abraxas LDP                                          September 2011-February 2012
  • Gateway YES                                         February-April 2012:
  • Liberty Station                                      April-June 2012:
  • Shuman                                               June 2012:
  • Rutter House                                        June-August 2012:
  • Shuman                                               August 2012:
  • First Step                                             August-September 2012:
  • Shuman                                               September 2012:
  • September 7, 2012:  Regained freedom after 2 years and 2 months of institutions
  • Pathways 3/4 House                              September-October 31, 2012:
  • Own Apartment in Mt. Lebanon              October 31-Present:

We came to the decision that for our son's best interest, he could never live with us again.  That was one of the most difficult decisions that we've ever been faced with.  But it was the right decision for our relationship with Cameron.

Additionally, we'd like to thank:
  • Jesse Yunker; who, without your guidance and friendship and empty bedroom!  You have provided a safe, comfortable and clean environment for Cameron so that we may rest without too much worry each night.
  • Cameron's brothers:  Jason, Brian & Aaron for welcoming him back into our family with your unconditional love and support and praise for where he is today.  Dad & I know how difficult the years were for YOU and we will NEVER forget your understanding of the decisions we made concerning your little brother.
  • And Amber and Ashlynn for being the BEST additions to our crazy family.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY . . . PSST parents - we could not have gotten through this without your tears & laughter as we gave our updates and reached out for support, ideas or just HUGS when we were at the bottom of a very very deep hole.
Please remember this in regards to our child's addiction:
  • We didn't cause it.
  • We can't control it.
  • We can't cure it.

We can't want their sobriety more than they do.  When we do, it leads to enabling behavior that is ultimately detrimental to our child's well being.

The one thing Paul & I have learned from this journey is:  Even when we can't change a situation, we can change our response to it!

I'd like to read the Facebook post Cameron made immediately after hearing that Paul & I were chosen "Parents of the Year".

My mom just told me that her and my dad have been chosen Allegheny County Juvenile Court Parents of the Year.  I'm so happy they finally get the recognition they deserve.  Everybody tells me how great I'm doing and how far I've come, but people rarely realize the hell and embarrassment I put them and the rest of my family through.  I couldn't have accomplished everything I've done in the last 2 years without their love, support and annoying me enough to motivate myself to go do something with myself.  Love you mom and dad"

Words we never thought we'd ever hear from Cameron!

Ladies and gentlemen:  Please give a round of applause for our son, Cameron, who is now 26 months clean and successfully working the Narcotics Anonymous program.

We still take it one day at a time, but believe us . . . there is hope when all seems hopeless!

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The Word is Out . . .
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Awards Ceremony was held tonight in Pittsburgh, so now it’s official!
Anne & Paul at the PSST meeting celebration

Paul & Anne are the Allegheny County Parents of the Year!  Members of their personal family, as well as members of their PSST family, were at the ceremony to show their support and pride for what this couple has achieved.  For their firm yet compassionate dealings with their son, for what they’ve been through & survived together as a family, and for their encouragement in helping others in the PSST group – they truly set an example for us all. 

After their speech at the ceremony, their son (now 26 months clean) joined them at the front of the room to give them hugs – such a fitting and heartwarming gesture. 

Lloyd, Val, Cam, Anne, Paul & others at the
Allegheny County Awards Ceremony

Justin is the Probation Officer Rookie of the Year!  His supervisor nominated him based on his ability to pick up his new job duties so quickly and efficiently, his dedication to his work, and his willingness to help the organization in whatever capacity he was needed.


Congratulations to all of these deserving individuals!

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Addiction & Loss
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanks to "Wilma" for sending us the following article about a documentary film focused on heroin addiction. 
Using her own money and donations from friends, Rachele Morelli commissioned a film detailing how her son became a heroin addict, as well as the impact of his death on his family and friends.  She has distributed it free to school districts throughout Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  http://triblive.com/mobile/4846199-96/film-morelli-heroin

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Resources for You!
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanks to "Mary Canary" for sending us information on the following resources for parents and their communities:

"Out of Reach" is a special documentary created by a teen filmmaker who captures the issue of teen prescription drug abuse.   This site provides information about how to share the full film and an accompanying "Out of Reach" toolkit with friends, schools, communities, families and more.  http://medicineabuseproject.org/resources/out-of-reach-medicine-abuse-through-the-eyes-of-a-teen
The Partnership at Drugfree.org is one of the helpful links featured in the right column of this PSST blog.  This site offers numerous videos, toolkits, and guides for parents on such topics as connecting with your teen, how to spot drug & alcohol use, how to prevent drug & alcohol use, etc.  You can find these resources at http://theparenttoolkit.org/
The Parents360 Rx Action Toolkit is a new community education resource that can be used by professionals from law enforcement, prevention and treatment, as well as by any concerned adults who want to share information about medicine abuse with their friends, family, neighbors and organizations to which they belong.  Check out this toolkit at http://pact360.org/  if you would like to promote its use in your community.

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Parent of the Year announced at PSST this Saturday at Eastern District Office!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Come celebrate with us!

This is our annual Award. The actual award will be given on Thursday, October 10th at the Allegheny County Awards get together at 550 Fifth Ave., downtown Pittsburgh starting at 6:00 PM. All parents are welcome; but this Saturday is just for us! Cake anyone?

Our Parents of the Year were nominated by both parents and staff. We do not have an official way of nominating but people do approach Kathie and I and tell us who they think should have it.

Each year this award usually goes to one of our PSST parents who has both used the parenting skills of PSST and who also has given back to the PSST group in a substantial way. It was another year of tough choices as so many parents in our group stood out. 

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