Dear Dr. Laura,
I always told my son that addiction ran in our family, which it does. You don't know if you carry the gene. Why take the chance by trying any drugs? Even if they don't kill you, it's a miserable lifestyle. Believe me, I've seen what it has done to some of my family members.
My son listened until he was about 17, at which time everything started falling apart. He had been a straight-A student, kind, loving, compassionate, so EASY to raise. He began to suffer from anxiety attacks around age 17. We took him to a psychologist thinking it would help him to have an objective 3rd party to talk to. It really didn't seem to help at all. I figured if I could just love him enough, he could overcome his problems. Little did I know that his experimentation with drugs had already begun in an effort to feel better. It just never occurred to me because he had always been such a straight arrow. And maybe part of me didn't want to believe it.
Oh, if I could turn back the hands of time. Over the next 5 years, things escalated to the point that it was clear he had a drug problem. But it happened gradually, insidiously, so that on a day-to-day basis it wasn't that noticeable until it could no longer be hidden. Unfortunately, he was now over 18, so there was, in essence, nothing we could do legally to help our son.
We buried our beloved son, our only child, 6 months ago at the tender age of 22. He died of a heroin overdose. Our lives will never be the same. Why, oh why, didn't we take more direct action when he was still a minor? Hindsight is 20/20. Once they turn 18, your hands are pretty much tied.
Please, please Dr. Laura, tell people it CAN happen to their children; it can happen to anyone. This was a boy who was deeply loved and grew up with 2 decent, loving parents.
Parents: Please learn from me. Be ever vigilant. If you don't want to say anything to them because they will be mad or they threaten to leave and you're afraid you won't see them, then grow a spine and BE A PARENT!! Would you rather have them dead and you'll NEVER see them again? Because I'm here to tell you that is the alternative. Think it can't happen to your family? That's what I thought. I was wrong. Please learn from my mistakes, I beg you. If I can prevent one other parent from living the hell that is now my life, I can go on. Thank you.