Tag Archives: dabs

Be Ready for the Long Term if Your Teen Needs Rehab

3 Tips for Finding a Rehab for Your Teenager       

by Julie Knight  

If you think your teen’s pot use is no big deal, you may be very wrong.  You may need to prepare yourself for the long-term recovery from drugs.

Over the past three years, I’ve struggled to find a rehab with counselors who could convince my teenage son that using marijuana two or three times a day is damaging his developing brain.

“It’s just marijuana,” he told me when he was 15-years-old. By the time he turned 16, he’d escalated to dabs, one of the most intense concentrates of marijuana, OxyContin and cocaine. He would drink alcohol until he blacked out.

A friend his age died after ingesting the same lethal mix of OxyContin and alcohol that my son was experimenting with.

I’ve sent my son to five residential rehabs for drug addiction. He’s relapsed after each rehab within a few weeks. When he turned 18, I offered to send him to sober living or said he’d have to live on his own. He’s living on his own now. I know he’s still using marijuana and alcohol. I’m not sure what else.

I’ve been asked to share some of my lessons learned. Here are my top three tips.

  1. Understand that the best program is probably going to be a long-term solution: short-term residential rehab followed by a long-term boarding school or after care program. As hard as it is to fathom giving up your child for up to a year, it’s so much easier than trying to stay two steps ahead of a drug- or alcohol-addicted child who is a mastermind of deceit.

The purpose of a short-term (30- to 90-day) residential rehab is just to get your child to wake up to the fact that drug or alcohol use might not be leading him or her on a path to success or wellness. The goal is to uncover the factors driving their use and offering tools to cope with those issues.

Prepare for sticker shock. That program can cost anywhere from $2K or $3K up to $50K+ for just one month.

The catch? After you spend that boat load of money for residential rehab, you’re not done. Then they tell you, “Oh, by the way, now you need to send your child to an ‘after’ program and that program has to be at least 6-12 months, so mortgage your house again because that will cost you at least $80K for a good program.”

What? You don’t have a house or an extra $80K stuffed in your mattress? Good luck.

  1. Get over the cost. Find any way you can to pay because that “after” program is the key to your child’s success. Don’t make the mistake I did by skipping it.

It should be a program where your child has no access to outside influences. Bringing a child home and trying to manage the process with outpatient counseling doesn’t work. At least not for my son.

My son fooled us all with his “miracle” recovery in his first wilderness program. He seemed transformed while safely tucked away in the mountains of Southern Utah. But he relapsed within a week of returning home, though it took me several months to discover this.

When my son came home the first time, I signed him up for outpatient counseling and sent him to a presumably “drug free” private school to get him away from his drug friends. I tested him for drugs but he figured out how to cheat the urine test. He also started using alcohol heavily since that didn’t show up in the urine test.

He met a boy at the “drug free” private school who introduced him to OxyContin, the pill form of heroin.

I didn’t think I could afford a 10-month boarding school / after program for my son because it was so expensive. Where was I going to get $80K? But turns out I went on to spend more than that with various other, shorter-term rehabs that didn’t work.

  1. Find an expert to help you find an appropriate rehab for your child. I used David Heckenlively in Walnut Creek. He did a great job of counseling me to find the best rehab for my son, a program called Open Sky Wilderness. Even though my son relapsed soon after returning from wilderness, I truly believe he learned valuable lessons there that influence him today in positive ways. It was one of the better programs my son went to, and it taught me a lot about how to parent a drug-addicted child.

In retrospect, I wish I’d listened to the advice that a longer-term boarding school is recommended after residential rehab. Not all teenagers will relapse and get into harder drugs like my son did but many will.

I was a single mom paying for all this myself. I didn’t have a house or relatives to help. I didn’t think I could afford a more expensive after program. But I later learned I could use my retirement money since this was a health-related expense. I could also borrow against my 401(k).

I also used Denials Management, which helped recover a portion of the cost of the wilderness program. A refund of about $10K came to me after about eight months of fighting the system. That was the best Christmas gift ever.

I believe all the counseling my son has received has helped him understand a few key concepts. He knows he can’t try meth, even once. He knows he can’t mix drugs and alcohol.

When I kicked him out, he could have moved to be closer to his drug-using friends but didn’t. He’s living 30 minutes from me in Sacramento. Thanks to all the counseling, he knows how much I love him. He visits often.

I think he’s using more moderately now because he’s able to work full-time and he’s finishing school. But I know it’s a progressive disease. I have to enjoy every hug I get while I can.

The cost of the five residential rehabs totaled more than a year’s salary. I drained my retirement fund to save my son. I’d do it again. For all I know, my son might be dead now or in jail if I hadn’t intervened.

In my next blog post, I’ll feature tips from other parents weighing in on “How to find the best rehab for your teenager.”

The author, Julie Knight, is a single mother living in Davis, California with her sixteen-year-old daughter.

Marijuana is a Hard Drug, Dutch Doctor Compares to Heroin

A Growing Threat to Our Youth

There are several reasons that marijuana should no longer be called a soft drug, which is misleading. The cannabis of today is undeniably a hard drug.   Dr. Darryl Inaba, Director of an addictions recovery center in Medford, Oregon was recently interviewed on the science of marijuana addiction.  He said:

“As a clinician who has worked with those who experience medical, emotional and social problems from its use for the past 40 years, I am concerned about the life consequences that legalization will have on those who are vulnerable to developing problems from its use, especially youth users who are most at risk.

“Currently about 17% of those who are treated for substance-related and addictive disorders in the United States list marijuana as their primary and many list it as their secondary or tertiary drug of choice. It is, in fact, the substance most often listed by the 1.8 to 1.9 million treated for addiction each year in this country.  

“The majority of the clients I have treated for CUD during the past 40 years were self-referred, not criminally-referred into treatment.  They entered treatment because marijuana was causing severe dysfunction and disruption in their lives and they desperately wanted to stop despite the great ridicule they were getting from others calling them a ‘wussy’ who should go out and get a real addiction like heroin or meth before needing any help to stop.”

Those with Cannabis Abuse Disorder will not be able to stop without help.  Dr. Inaba goes on to explain the problem with stronger strains of marijuana today,  “dabs,” “spice” and edibles.

Expert finds it’s more dangerous than heroin

Dr. Martien Kooyman of the Netherlands  said the following about the truth of today’s pot:

“The cannabis grown and sold today is not same drug as was available in the 1970s. The average THC has increased to more than 15%. Cannabis issue can clearly lead to addiction. The damage to the brain from chronic use is worse compared with chronic use of heroin. Among the negative effects of long-term cannabis use in adolescence include neuro-psychological dysfunction, decline in IQ, short memory, among others.”

Dr. Kooyman vehemently stated that cannabis can no longer be labeled a ‘soft’ drug. There is no justification to have different laws for cannabis than other drugs (labeled as ‘hard’).

“The legalization of cannabis reinforces already existing opinion among youth that there are no risks in using cannabis.” Dr. Kooyman made these comments at a special session on cannabis at the World Federation Against Drugs meeting, held in Sweden, 2014.

Marijuana advocates insist it’s not as dangerous as heroin.   Existing studies on addiction are not accounting for the higher THC of today, over 16% in Colorado and average more than 20% in Washington.  In the old studies, the rate of addiction was 9% for adults and 17% for those who began as adolescents.   In essence, your chances of getting addicted to marijuana were roughly the same as the chances for getting addicted to alcohol.

These statistics need to be studied again, accounting for THC that is averages about 4x higher than previously.   Furthermore, “dabs” and “wax” are off the charts in THC, very potent and addictive.

Marijuana Competes with High School in Colorado

Hello, my name is _______. _ I am 16 years old, live in Idaho Springs and attend Clear Creek High School. I am  here today to express my concern on the potency limit amendment.

In my town there are three dispensaries within about a 3-mile stretch.

With the legalization of marijuana it is becoming more accessible even to youth. While it is not legal for anyone under the age of 21, they are still getting it pretty easily. Parents and other supporters are willingly buying it illegally for children.

I have seen it all throughout my high school weekly if not daily. Kids come into school smelling like weed, you see them vaping, eating edibles or popping pills (marijuana pills).

Countless students have dropped out, been suspended or expelled because of it. My own friend has come to school high countless times.  Her motivation, GPA, and aspirations are dwindling at an alarming rate.  She is 17 years old and has now decided she no longer wants to go to college. We don’t hang out as much anymore because all she wants to do it get high. And I know for a fact her parents are buying it from retail stores.

Not only are kids getting bud, edibles, oils or pills. They are getting “dabs” or liquid THC.

I am a firm believer that children WILL be negatively affected by marijuana. It starts with one drug and then they want something stronger.

My own mother smoked it.  She was aloof and distant and soon moved onto other drugs. She gave my brother weed; he never finished high school and has been struggling since.  I haven’t talked to either of them in years.  It tore my family apart.

I am now a part of the Rock House, which is a youth outreach center for troubled teens or teens with troubled pasts. There I do a lot of community outreach and we see a lot of kids who come from troubled families. One member I was really close with got sent to foster care because his parents were abusing marijuana. I haven’t seen him in 2 years.

We cannot force the youth to stop, but with lowering the legal potency levels I believe we can help protect and prevent unwanted ‘accidents.’

(Read other recent articles about youth usage in Colorado, and the reports coming from Rocky Mountain HIDTA)

TV Anchor in Car Accident Promotes Responsible Pot

Generational Divides Among Marijuana Users

Imagine getting into a fender bender with the company car and calling yourself an example of “responsible drinking.”  Cyd Maurer had a fender bender while working for a TV Station in Eugene, Oregon.  Her company called for drug testing. After it was found that she had THC metabolites,  the 25-year-old was fired. She has put out video claiming that she is an example of “responsible marijuana use.” Isn’t it ironic? In other words, getting into an accident in the company car is not a problem for her employer.   Continue reading