Pubdate: Wed, 11 Nov 2009
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Terrace Standard
Author: Claudette Sandecki
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


If a teenager falls in with the wrong crowd and turns to drugs, the 
law forbids parents and family trying to step in and rescue their 
child.    Laws force parents to stand by and do nothing  while their 
child self-destructs.

Why would the sensible teen of model parents who knows the risks of 
illegal drugs start using? The answers can be as varied as the 
individuals: To fit in.  To blunt feelings of inadequacy. To avoid 
arguments and create a false sense of togetherness.

For years parents have cautioned their kids to avoid drugs.  Schools 
have lectured our children on the evils of drugs, and brought in RCMP 
to inform both students and parents on the signs of drug-taking and 
the long-term physical harm drugs can do.

At $5 to $20 a tablet, ecstasy is an accessible drug affordable to 
teens. Odorless, the pills are easy to carry and to hide. The 
colourful tablets look like children's vitamins  with patterns on 
them of  Christmas trees, Bart Simpson, or some other harmless symbol.

But each pill is potentially a  volatile cocktail of unknown 
substances produced in illegal drug labs funded by organized crime. 
The pills are a synthetic drug  and may contain deadly 
substances.  In 2007 RCMP analyzed a sampling of ecstasy seized from 
various areas. The study showed 72 per cent of the pills weren't 
ecstasy, but rather a fatal mixture of crystal meth.

Ecstasy acts on the central nervous system raising blood pressure, 
heart rate, and alertness. Users feel no need to sleep.  They may 
sweat profusely but drink little water, until their organs  shut 
down. They may suffer a heart attack or a stroke, or go into 
convulsions and stop breathing.

The drug releases massive amounts of serotonin and blocks re-uptake 
of the hormone.  It boosts self-esteem and produces a feeling of 
euphoria.  The high can last from six to eight hours, followed by 
depression, anger, headache, insomnia, even thoughts of suicide.

Users display rapid speech, darting eye movements, enlarged pupils, 
may appear shaky or unable to sit still, perform repetitive movements 
such as pulling hair or picking imaginary lint, and want to touch 
more than usual. That's why it is called the love drug.

Because they can't go to school or work while under the influence, 
they tend to binge on weekends or holidays. The drug can cause nausea 
or vomiting, diarrhea or constipation; they may not feel well and 
miss school or work.

Parents are advised to confront the user as a unified family, 
pointing out the user's inconsistent behaviour while reassuring the 
user of their love and caring. The user may lie, steal, break 
appointments, skip school or work, and repulse family. Expect the 
user to become angry, abusive, and transfer blame to the parents.

Nonetheless, family are advised to remain calm, say nothing hurtful, 
apply no pressure, make no judgments. In other words, be saintly.

If a user chooses to stop using ecstasy, they will need to be 
admitted to a care facility for five days of detoxification under the 
supervision of a nurse, then follow up with weeks of counselling.

As a first step to treatment, the user - as a form of commitment - 
must make an appointment to see a drug counselor who will complete an 
intake form to reserve a bed in Prince George's youth treatment 
center and make travel arrangements for the six hour trip.

Until age 19, treatment is free except for a counselling fee. Family 
pay for transportation to Prince George.

December 31 Terrace will lose its youth treatment centre,  due to 
withdrawal of government funding.

But no treatment can begin until the user seeks help. Until then, 
supportive family can only watch while the drug destroys their child's life.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom