Is your teen abusing medications to get high?


Last week I was a witness to the beginning of another tragic story. I was left shaking my head and wondering where this teenager went wrong, or more importantly, where his parents went wrong.

On Saturday night I was dispatched to a traffic collision involving three vehicles. The call information mentioned that one of the drivers was possibly DUI. When I arrived, I saw an officer walking a male from the street to the sidewalk. From a distance I estimated his age to be about 14 years old. I just assumed he was a passenger from one of the vehicles.

I got out of my car and walked over to where they were. That’s when I found out this kid was actually 16 years old and he was the suspected drunk driver.

He rear ended one vehicle and then crashed into another when he tried to back up. He appeared under the influence and was eventually arrested for DUI. Of course, he didn’t have a driver’s license either.

The driver was under the influence of a dissociative anesthetic. Most people don’t even know what that is. A dissociative anesthetic includes PCP, ketamine and Dextromethorphan (DXM). DXM is the active ingredient in cough medicines. It’s also abused because it’s easily accessible.

This kid had been drinking cough medicine and also had four Xanax pills in his pocket from his mother’s prescription. Talk about a train wreck.

About an hour later I did a record check on his name and discovered he was arrested for DUI three months ago. Could his story get any worse?

I walked by a room where he was sitting and asked him what his blood alcohol was when he was arrested. The kid told me .20%.

I shouldn’t be shocked anymore, but every once in a while it still happens. I told him he was on the road to being a statistic and I warned him of the dangerous path he was heading down. He said he understood and seemed to listen to me.

Did I get through to him? Probably not, but at least I tried.

I leave you with this final thought if you’re a parent of a teen. You might want to watch the cough medicine bottle or other prescriptions in your medicine cabinet. You could be running low and didn’t know it.

Most people think it won’t happen to them, but there’s a chance it could. Don’t end up like some of the people we deal with. They don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late.

3 thoughts on “Is your teen abusing medications to get high?

  1. 20% of society, going back to the beginning of time (or at least as long as they kept records and notes of such things) have addictive personalities. This has been exceptionally well documented in medical science. Its NOT the parents fault. It NOT societies fault. Its NATURE. Some of us just have that cross to bear and until you get a handle on it yourself there is little, if anything, anyone else can do. This is one reason why the “drug war” is such a joke. People like us (I’ve been clean and sober for 35 years now) will ALWAYS find something to get high with. Just accept the fact that 2 of every 100 people you run across have a need to medicate to one extent or another and move on. Nobody can change it, least of all a stranger.


    • This information doesn’t surprise me. I think quite possibly it is 25% or 30%. I have a lifelong friend (age 72) who is an alcoholic (she’s not even ashamed to admit it). I love her dearly and she will ALWAYS be my friend. I’ve been very lucky over the years to not be the brunt of her alcoholic behavior until recently and I’m still shaking from it. She lives out of state and came for a visit. Our plan was for me and 2 of my adult children (ages 24 and 28) to meet her at her hotel in Huntington Beach and take her out to lunch. I was so excited to see her. We talk on the phone all the time but the last time we were together was about 7 years ago. My daughter and I arrived first. It was about 10:30. When she hugged me, I could smell the alcohol on her breath. She offered us refreshments (no alcohol for us) and continued drinking vodka with either water or lemonade. I saw the progression of her toxicity as her speech started slurring and she kept closing her eyes as if she was going to roll over and fall asleep. We started by having intelligent conversation and progressively she wasn’t keeping her thoughts together. I was so sad when my son (age 28) arrived about 12:00. She adores my kids and immediately smothered him with hugs and kisses. He looked over her shoulder wording “what the hell”? I wasn’t sad really, I was appalled and so disappointed. I always speak so highly of my wonderful friend and now my kids see a much different side to her. At this point, she could barely stand up and the slurring was horrible. We attempted to go to lunch – how idiotic I was!! Her room was upstairs and my son literally had to hold her up to get her down the stairs. I was scared to death that she would lose her footing and fall down an entire flight of cement stairs. We were going to walk only 2 or 3 blocks to some great eateries. I could see quickly that there was no way this was going to work. After about a block, she slurred that she couldn’t walk any further because she was so hot. We decided to walk a few more feet and wait inside a pharmacy out of the heat while my son went back to get his car. She was so drunk that she couldn’t stand on her own. She proceeded to lean forward over a cardboard display in the front of the pharmacy prompting the manager to approach us asking if she was o.k. I said we would be leaving in a few minutes. During this time, I am patting her back and saying we will be out of here soon. She was facing away from me. What she did next I will NEVER forget. She turned her head looking directly at me with an almost twisted demonic face and in a tone I have never heard her use, mimicked what I had said to her with such an ugly smirk on her face. I was in the company of someone I didn’t know. My son arrived and it was a joke trying to get her into the car. At this point, my son suggests that we just pick up some food at a drive-thru and take it back to her hotel. While we ate our Del Taco food at the cement table outside, I looked at this whole scene and realized that she didn’t even know what she was doing or saying. So much for my kids sharing their lives with her. We helped her up to her room and I just had to get the hell out of there. What a nightmare. We walked my son to his car and I proceeded to say they had just seen alcoholism at its prime. What a huge lesson it was but it wasn’t the first one. Their first lesson was in 2005 when their 15 yr. old cousin was killed in a horrendous car crash in Victorville along with the other 3 passengers in the car (ages 15, 17, 18) as well as the mother of the boy driving the car that t-boned them as the result of the 18 yr. driver being drunk and on drugs. They were driving 90+ mph on a 45 mph street and swerved over into their lane. They were killed instantly. That poor 19 yr.old boy in the other car had to witness the death of his poor mother.

      All of my children (ages 22, 24 and 28) drink responsibly. They do not have addictive personalities but I realize that could change any time, any day.


      Just one story from one of thousands of families in Southern California that have been affected by addiction.


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