Are You Interested in Saving a Life?

 His father travels and I work full time; he failed his drug test  and I found all kinds of drug paraphernalia in his room and when I asked him about what I found he told me to mind my own business.

His father got him a bed at Peachford but he is in Europe so who's gonna take him? I'm only five feet tall and my son is a nationally ranked soccer player; he's big and can be frightening if he doesn't want to do something. What should I do?" she launched hysterically at me when I answered the phone.

I began to bring her to a place of calm so we could have a conversation when she interrupted with, "Well he said he owes a dealer a lot of money and his dealer said he has to come up with the money by the end of the week or he's gonna get beat up again... he told me he got hurt at practice... but now I know that's not what happened."

When she came up for air I asked if she had contacted the local authorities and she went off on me saying, "That cannot happen. He will loose his college scholarship."

Unbelievable, I thought to myself. Don't you get it? If he's dealing, which it sounds like he is, unless you get him treatment he's not going to have a scholarship.

She continued to ramble about loving her son but was scared about making a decision because her son had threatened his little sister, and she didn't want to be the next one to be threatened. Hearing that, asked her this question:

Are you interested in saving your son's life?

I said to her if your answer is yes, you need to do one of two things: Either call the police, tell them that your son is a danger to your family because he threatened to do bodily harm to his little sister; tell them that you have discovered that he is dealing illegal drugs and you are concerned that more harm will come to him or your family because of the debt he owes and you want him picked up on a 10-13 and taken to Peachford; or let SafePassage come take him to Peachford. SafePassage uses regular duty law enforcement personnel who can work with your son through crisis intervention, verbal de-escalation and para-verbal communication to safely transport him to the facility of your choice.

She said she did not want to involve the police so she chose to allow SafePassage to transport her son. I explained that her situation with her son was serious and asked her not to tell her son until we were there to be of support when she delivered the news that her son was going for treatment. She agreed to these terms and further agreed to reach out to me if anything changed at home before we arrived.

Yes, you guessed it...

She just couldn't wait. Before we arrived at their home she decided to talk with her son by herself because she wanted to at least try to take him herself; she contacted one of her tennis friends for help but he would not get into her car; he only became more angry and aggressive with her.

Do I have to draw you a diagram or do you already know how this turned out? That's right, the at-risk teen never made it to treatment, he ran away.

Are you interested in saving a life?

In this day and time an adolescent gets out of control so quickly that it is in the best interest of the parents and guardians to act with swift decisiveness to remove the at-risk teen from their environment and obtain professional help when they are not thriving. When you, the guiding force in your teenagers life, discover substance abuse, behavioral changes or cognitive learning  challenges or other elements of disfunction that is inhibiting your adolescent positive growth, it is paramount that you seek professional help. There is so much help readily available but you have to be the one to take the first step.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 23.8 million people over the age of 12 need treatment for substance abuse and of these only 11% get the help they need. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control reports that substance abuse among America's teen population is bordering on epidemic proportions. Substance abuse results in an increase in violence; inappropriate sexual activity; unrelated medical illnesses such as HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C; and the list goes on.

When was the last time you searched your teenagers room or read their journal? This is not about their right to privacy, this is about maintaining the emotional, physical and spiritual safety of your teenager as well as you knowing what is going on under your roof. Parents remember: you are liable for their actions; and, responsible for getting them treatment.

So I ask again: Are you interested in saving the life?

Lane Taylor