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It’s time to be IN our kids’ business

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“Dad, wake up … something is wrong with Jack, he’s not breathing.”  It’s was 5 a.m. as my daughter shook me awake.  As I bolted up the stairs my mind raced as to what could be happening to my tenth-grader.  A friend had spent the night and as we went to bed, he and his friend were playing video games.

As I dragged my son out of bed and onto the floor, there was no pulse and I began performing CPR.  Shortly, the Flower Mound Police and Fire Departments arrived.   As they began running an IV, I asked what are you giving him?  The response was stunning, Naloxone to reverse the affects of a heroin overdose.

My son spent the next two days in ICU, the next several months in Drug Rehab.  Everything in our lives changed.  My 16-year-old son almost died; my son forever will be a recovering addict.”

When do you think it started, I asked? 

“We know, in the seventh grade, he and a friend first tried pot, but heroin, we couldn’t imagine.” 

But in our protected world of Flower Mound, Texas, the father said, “My son almost died of a heroin overdose.”

The above story was shared by a parent in Bridlewood about events that happened in the spring of 2013.  We think this can’t be happening in Flower Mound. Surely, we are insulated in the suburbs. 

Recently I attended a Winning The Fight (WTF) meeting. WTF is a Flower Mound-based non-profit (501c3), community-based organization that provides drug education, support and necessary resources to families that suffer from the disease of addiction. WTF was established by Kathy O’Keefe, whose son Brett died of a heroin overdose in 2010. During the meeting, I was chided by a room full of Marcus High School students when I said in the past, officials with our police department and school district have told our Town Council that drugs in our local schools are not a serious problem, that it is only a small minority.  An innocent looking 17 year-old from Double Oak, who, dripping wet, couldn’t weigh more than a 100 pounds, came up to me after the meeting and said; “Mr. Hayden, I’ve been clean now for 100 days.”  To which I said; “How long did you smoke pot?” “Pot?” she said quizzically, “No, it’s meth and heroin.”

Another mother recently contacted me and said; “Tom, I would like to tell you what happened to our family.  I’m a single mother that used to live across from Marcus in Stone Hill Farms. I used to have a very good job working with the federal government, but it required me to travel quite a bit.  It’s tough raising three kids alone, and one of my children began experimenting with drugs when he first went to high school, it escalated to heroin and he was arrested for stealing. At the age of 18, he spent 11 months in the Denton County Jail.  Thank God he was arrested, she said, because he would have died otherwise.  But, because of this, I lost my job and had to take a new job earning considerably less. We lost our home; I had to clean out my retirement to pay for rehab (90 days of rehab averages $500 – $1,000 a day and most insurance companies have limited coverage), but my son is alive and doing better.

A jailer with Denton County said we have a lot of people from “down your way” (referring to Flower Mound). “The average age in jail is around 25, and 90 percent of the people in our jails are there because of drugs. Whether it’s using drugs, stealing something to buy drugs, or selling themselves so they can get drugs…and this is in Denton County.”  “It all starts in high school,” he said.

But it gets worse! A 23-year-old girl who graduated from Marcus saw something I had posted on the WTF Facebook page and contacted me.  She said her best friend lost her virginity in the seventh grade and drugs were involved. At parties in our homes, she said, lots of kids are having oral sex, and it usually involves drinking or drugs. As parents, do we really know what is going on upstairs in the game rooms of our homes? A Flower Mound tenth-grader, who was in rehab, was asked in front of his parents, how many sexual partners have you had? The response was 27. Let’s say he was exaggerating and perhaps the number is half that. Even so, this is in the tenth grade!

Is Flower Mound safe? Yes, we have good schools and low crime, but we are not without our problems. The time to have a frank conversation with our kids is today.  The world is different!  Our children have easy access to pornography on the Internet and may have developed the attitude that pot is no longer a dangerous drug. Nevertheless, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people who have used cocaine and/or heroin, probably started with pot. Yes, the world is different and kids in Flower Mound are dying from drug overdoses, and families are forever being changed. 

A hit of Cheese (Heroin mixed with a Sleeping Medication) cost maybe $15, and I bet if you asked any high school student they could easily tell you where to find it.  One parent from Flower Mound High told me how relieved his son was when he started drug testing at home.  He said; “Dad, my friends push me so hard to try something, but now I can tell them I can’t because my Dad tests me for drugs.”  

Yeah, I know; our kids are good kids, they make good grades in school, they are active in sports, and they go to church. It wouldn’t happen to our kids.  Ask the father from Bridlewood if it could be his son, or your son or daughter.  It’s time to be in our kids’ business!

On August 10, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Trietsch Methodist Church the Town is sponsoring an all day event to have a conversation about drug use in our community.   Professionals will be there to assist if you have questions, need help, or just need someone to talk too. Bring your child; let them experience how their life could be changed by one bad decision. For more information about “A Community Conversation: Drugs” please visit www.flower-mound.com/communityconversation.

 

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