Testimony of Illicit Drug Use
It was one of those early spring mornings when dew still glitters on the grass before the burn of the sun. As I rounded the last mile of my 6:00 a.m. run, my thoughts were sharp, my heart was beating, I felt so alive. As I crested the hill, there was the familiar shape of my house, but I saw something was out of place. A slumped form on my front porch; a scene I could not assimilate. In the safe suburban neighborhood, in front of my safe suburban house, was the body of my seventeen year old son, passed out, as I was to discover later – from heroin. Oh my God! Heroin!And so began a process of phone calls to treatment centers, insurance companies, and a convoluted labyrinth of agencies. I sat at the kitchen table, held my head in my hands and wept. I was overwhelmed, frightened and I felt totally alone.That was thirteen years ago, and I can now thankfully say that my son has been drug-free for many years and is a happy and productive member of society. He plans to climb the Sierra Nevada Mountains (again) this summer. He is living his dreams.
Getting there wasn’t easy. However, I learned a lot in the process that informs the beliefs I have about substance abuse treatment today. The instinct to protect and rescue a child who is struggling is consistent for parents rich, poor, black, brown, white or yellow, religious or not. Everybody has problems, everybody deserves help. Oh, and the other thing: the disease of addiction doesn’t care if your kid has insurance.
Today I (Lisa Bell, Director of Clinical Services) work for an organization with a program that offers help to young people impacted by substance abuse. We don’t care if they have insurance either. The Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA) program will serve any male or female under the age of 18 regardless of their ability to pay. We always remember that the youth we serve are someone’s children and treat them as if they were our own.
The Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse program performs over 300 assessments each year and it continues to grow. Help STARS continue saving young lives from addiction.