Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jan 2005
Source: Salem News (MA)
Copyright: 2005 Essex County Newspapers
Author: Sandra  Kaplan
Referenced: Series


To the Editor:

I just finished reading your articles on drugs and drug addiction. You wrote
wonderful stories, unfortunately sad, but true.

I, too, have a daughter who is addicted to drugs and is struggling to
keep herself clean. I found out recently that she had started to use
drugs about five  years ago, about the time her father and I were
divorcing. I never realized the  pain she was going through during
that time period. I think all she wanted was  to know she was loved
and needed in my life, but I was blind to her needs at  that time.

I remarried about two years later when my daughter was 18 years old.
She never really accepted my husband and they clashed terribly. It was
a horrible mess trying to keep her in my life as well as my marriage
from not falling apart. I didn't even know she was doing drugs at that
time. Boy, was I stupid. I now blame myself partly for where she is in
her life right now. I wish I could go back in time.

I was blind as most parents are in the beginning. We do not want to
believe "our kids are doing drugs." My daughter graduated from
Winthrop High and then we  moved to Peabody. From that time on, all
hell broke loose and I was losing my  daughter to drugs. But again, I
was blind and kept thinking it would pass and  everything would be all
right again.

April of 2004, she came to me asking for help. I made several calls
and she was put into the Bayridge facility in Lynn for five days of
detox and then was supposed to attend outpatient classes daily. I
really thought this was it. She  was cured and going to be drug-free

She only attended the classes for about three days. There she met a
boy who had been addicted to heroin and had no intention of quitting
at that time. He only went into treatment because his parents made him
go. Her lies, stealing and mood swings were enough to tell me she was
in serious trouble and was headed for disaster. She had two close
girlfriends who were also  addicted to those OxyContins, and all three
of them stole whatever they could  from whomever they could, never
realizing the pain their parents were going  through.

My daughter came to me again on June 21, the day after Father's Day,
and told me she needed to go into treatment that very day or she would
not make it through the day. Again, I made several calls and finally
found someone from CAB (Center for Addictive Behavior) to help us.

I called a Lynn phone number but somehow, with the luck from God
above, my call reached Boca Raton, Fla., and a young man listened to
my story and offered us help. He checked our medical insurance and
asked if my daughter was willing  to go to Florida for treatment. Of
course she was and a plane ticket was waiting  for her at the Delta
counter at 6 p.m. that very day. I was in touch with this facility
every step of the way until she landed in Fort Lauderdale where a limo
picked her up and took her to a place called The Watershed in Boca

For the first few days of her treatment, I had no contact with her,
which killed me not knowing how she was doing. I finally got a
call from her and she was so happy she was there because she really
wanted help. With the help of well-trained staff and counseling, my
daughter was beginning to see past the drugs and looking toward a
brighter future. She was finally in the right place  and heading for

After 30 days and the expenditure of $37,000, my daughter was clean
and sober. She then entered a halfway facility in Del Ray and was
almost seven  months clean. She had a great little job, attended the
required meetings, and  made several friends.

Somehow, she got mixed up with a few of the wrong kids and relapsed.
My heart was broken in a million pieces. All her hard work, all our
praise and money spent to keep her on the right path gone down the
drain to those horrible drugs. She had to leave the facility she was
in, enter a new one for two weeks (I guess it's kind of like a
punishment), and will be drug-tested in this new facility every day.
She has new rules to follow and when the two weeks are up she can go
back to her original facility and hopefully start the recovery process
all over again. Of course, going to a new facility just cost me
another $510 on top of paying her rent of $620 a month at her regular
halfway facility. I don't think these kids understand the emotional
and financial burden us parents are going through. I want to save her
from heartache and death, but I can't. I can only guide her and stand
beside her, but I can't cure her illness only she can do that for herself.

I pray to God every day to keep her safe and drug-free. I seek
counseling and I take self-help classes at Grace Chapel in Lexington
for peace of mind. My marriage is on the rocks from all of this and my
family and friends can't do enough to console me.

I just want every person out there thinking of doing drugs or are
actually doing drugs, that you are killing your parents and
yourselves. You can get help and you can stay straight if you want to.
You have to do the steps, seek out a sponsor, and don't be afraid to
ask for help. There are places  out there all over the country that
are willing to help anyone who asks. I now pray every day that my
daughter will make it this time and start her life over and look every
day to a bright and happy future. I never want to receive that phone
call that something terrible has happened because of the drugs. They
are killers and we have to stop them now. Parents, teachers, family
and friends: These kids need your help. See the signs and don't be
blind like I was. You probably can save a life if you just open your
hearts and care. We can't let these drugs kill any more of our
children. May God bless us all.

Sandra  Kaplan

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