ViewFinder – Collision Course: Teen Addiction Epidemic – KVIE

♪ ♪ >>Collision Course,
Teen Addiction Epidemic is made possible
by Sierra Health Foundation, supporting efforts that promote
the healthy development of youth. Additional funding
for this program made possible
by Kaiser Permanente and UC Davis. ♪ ♪ >>Embedded in families
of rich and poor alike, a new form of drug addiction
is killing our kids. >>I do not live in poverty. >>Prescription pills,
over-the-counter cough medicines,
and other newer concoctions have young people
cascading out of control and plunging into a pool
of untold darkness. Twenty year old Kelsey
stays with her parents in El Dorado Hills. Yet from the affluent
Northern California suburb, this attractive young woman
comfortably slides into a drug infested den
in the heart of a rundown Sacramento neighborhood. >>I’m gonna be using
my drug of choice, my pain reliever: heroin! Actually I started with pills,
and I was using oxy. And I did that
for about four years. I’ve struggled
with a lot of depression throughout the years. It’s kind of like
a quick fix to numb out from the world. You don’t have to feel
that emotional pain. After you start doing it,
your body depends on it. And not only your
body, but mentally! I promised myself
I would never do heroin. But you just start
hanging around the wrong crowd, meet people,
and it just happens. >>On the streets,
Kelsey hooked up with Casey, a veteran
who joined the military at 21. Injured in combat,
he’s now addicted to pain pills that he grinds up and injects. >>Bad thing of it is
I have an 11 year old son that I take care of. And I used to be somebody. You know? I used to be a good father. >>Casey says his mom
was an addict, and he was doing drugs
at a young age. He started by huffing gas. >>One of the most
severe indicators of later pathology
and drug addiction is the use of inhalants
at an early age by children. >>The kids are a step ahead
of the toxicologists. Who would have ever thought
you would spray room freshener up your nose
to try and get a high? >>Lindsey and her mom
are rebuilding their relationship. Drugs including inhalants
led the family down a rocky road of despair
beginning when Lindsey was 13 years old. She’s now 20. >>I tried drinking
a couple of times, and then I was actually
was huffing hairspray for a little bit. I started using Adderall
the beginning of my sophomore year
of high school. From the first time I took it,
I was just completely hooked. >>Adderall
is a prescription medication used for
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
or ADHD. >>I feel it’s very
over-prescribed, and the kids
that don’t want to take it are the kids that really need it
because it makes them really calm. And then for people like me,
people who don’t have ADHD, it gives us a ton of energy
and helps us focus. >>Adderall’s an amphetamine
that if abused, can become highly habit forming. >>I felt as though
it made me everything I ever wanted to be. I could study. I didn’t want to eat. I was losing weight. It gave me energy. I got it from a friend
who actually was prescribed for it,
and I would buy it from her. I was using it every day. My tolerance got so high
that the amount I was taking was about 9 times
the normal prescribed amount. Eventually it was not enough. I needed more. And so I moved on
to cocaine and ecstasy. >>Too many drugs,
and Lindsey crashed! >>Something just snapped,
and a moment of clarity just happened. It was like I have a problem. I came to that point
because after I took the pills, I still didn’t feel okay. I had nothing. >>Lindsey shuffled
in and out of recovery. >>My mom and dad? They were like no way! They were the enemy. They were the ones
preventing me from doing what I wanted to do. >>Finally, sobriety clicked,
and Lindsey works hard to stay drug-free. >>Today it’s like, you know,
every day I am just grateful I have the parents that I have. It’s incredible the relationship
I get to have with them today. >>Psychologist Dr. Ernest Jarman
says people need to recognize that addiction
among young people is an epidemic. >>What you try to do
is you try to make people aware that there are problems,
aware that there is help, and you start at that level. Awareness! Willingness
and the courage to do something! >>Kristina
never got that message. To support her habit,
she sells her body in this filthy garage
called a trick pad. The guy who owns this place? >>He rents it out to turn dates
to get money for drugs. >>This so-called trick pad
borders an established neighborhood
that boasts some million dollar homes. >>Addiction is a problem
that knows no cultural or socio-economic boundaries. >>Kristina started using drugs
in elementary school. Twenty years later,
she’s aged far beyond her years. >>All my life,
all I’ve ever known is using drugs. I remember in sixth grade,
I stole my mom’s bottle of valium. Took those to school,
and got everybody high. >>From prescription pills,
Kristina turned to heroin. Hurley Merical is with
the non-profit agency Oak Park Outreach. He’s trying to help Kristina. >>Starts out as fun
as it always has. Recreational drugs? Now it’s serious
with these youngsters! They end up injecting drugs. >>Ninety percent of adults
who struggle with addiction first used before the age of 18. Kids from
higher end neighborhoods usually don’t have to look far
for drugs. But when their supply dries up,
they’re venturing into known areas
where dealers hang out. Hurley sees it everyday. >>They come from all zip codes. They come from Davis. They come from Marysville. You have percentages
before the detox. >>Okay! >>Think Kristina can’t be you
or your child? This was never the life
Kristina wanted either. Without help,
Kristina’s future is bleak, >>Lost…. >>Twenty-four year old Bryan
also struggles with addiction. He stole beer from his parents
when he was 10 and started drinking. Later he was prescribed
pain pills for a bad burn. >>You start out using,
and you don’t think you’re addicted. Before you even know it,
you are addicted. >>Teens are getting drugs
from friends, medicine cabinets,
and their parent’s night stands. >>The dealers are your
next door neighbors’ kids. The dealers are the same age
as the kids. These aren’t…. When we are talking about
Rocklin, Granite Bay? But there are also connections
in, let’s say, Oak Park! >>Locking up medications helps. But if kids want drugs,
they find them. Bryan did. >>I started smoking oxycotins
off of tin foil. >>During this interview
at his parent’s Yolo County home
in rural Winters, he was clean. >>The next time I use,
it could kill me. >>Shortly after this interview,
Bryan was using drugs again. >>Ended up going out,
met a girl, and started using with her. Methamphetamines…. ….and eventually
ended with me shooting dope. And that was a run
for about 8 months! >>Homeless,
Bryan was living under a bridge. Bryan’s mom, Jan Morkal
was devastated. >>I can remember very vividly. One time, I live in the country. And I can absolutely
see myself on the road and saying to God…. I was willing to let God take me
if he would just let Bryan get well. >>It was hard on me
growing up as a kid. I can remember coming home
from elementary school in the fourth grade
peeking around a bush. And if I saw a beer can
on the counter, I wouldn’t go in. No way in hell! I’d go
to a next door neighbor’s house
and start drinking, go down to the elementary school
and vandalize. >>We know that substance abuse
runs strongly in families. >>Although my mom and dad
are not alcoholics, I did get the disease
of alcoholism. >>I don’t think
it’s anymore under someone’s control
than skin cancer or breast cancer
or an infectious disease. Sure, there’s some role
you had initially. But once you begin
to get the actual manifestations of the disease,
you can’t stop it without a significant amount
of help. >>When Bryan was 12,
his mom got sober. Nine years later,
she was drinking again while her son
was spinning out of control. >>I had an intervention. We actually had
a couple of them. And it was all done
by the same person. And Ricki
really got to know Bryan and know my family. >>As with Bryan, what we did? We went through
the peaks and valleys with him. We went through the relapses. We went through
the camping on a river bank where mom is crying
and concerned for her child deeply. The easiest thing
for Jan to do would have been
to bring her child home. But she knew that at this point,
he needed to start seeing his own consequences
for the choices that he had been making. >>At first, that intervention? The one
that got recovery from it was me. >>Jan stopped drinking
and Bryan hit bottom. >>I wasn’t having fun. I just wanted to die,
and I needed to change my life! >>Bryan knocked on the door
of his grandmother’s house in the town of Lincoln. >>On my 25th birthday,
December 7th? I ended up flushing
28 grams of methamphetamines down the toilet
and going to see my grandma for my birthday. >>I was not happy. You know,
my mom is 86 years old, and Bryan hurts people
when he’s using. >>Grandma got manipulated
into letting him in. Interventionist Ricki Townsend
returned for another meeting with the family. >>I sat with Bryan alone. And it came to fruition
that it was healthiest that he spent
one more night with grandma, and then find some other
alternative place to sleep. >>Bryan went
into a recovery house and has been clean since. His sobriety will be
a life-long commitment. >>Many times,
it’s looking at what is driving these kids
to try this. And sometimes,
it’s as simple as a profound depression
that is not recognized by anybody. And this kid is just so unhappy
that he is trying whatever he can
to relieve the suffering he is feeling inside. >>Drug use is sometimes
a form of self-medication. Bryan turned to meth,
a deceptive drug that gets you hooked fast. One in three teens
sees no risk in giving it a try. Kids are not being scared off. >>They’re starting
with pot and alcohol at the age of 13. So by the time
they get into high school? Right now,
they’ve got the pill parties! >>They’re called
pharm parties. >>You throw your pills
into a container, and they all sit around
and grab one of your parents pills. And they don’t know
what they are grabbing! >>Substance abuse
(and that includes alcohol) is America’s number one
public health problem. Prescription pills
are the drug of choice for 12 and 13 year olds. Every day,
about 2500 teenagers abuse a pain reliever
for the first time. >>The other thing? We’re having
epidemic proportions in the parties:
it’s binge drinking! It’s been known
that the kids are dying from this. >>In many cases,
parents look the other way. They don’t know how to deal
with these problems. They don’t want
to confront it head on. It causes them great angst
or brings up a personal issue for them
or for their dealing with their family members,
parents or siblings! >>Raven Hoopes,
a recovering drug user, has her finger on the pulse
of this growing epidemic. >>At Harm Reduction Services,
we have got a huge increase in young, specifically Caucasian
to upper middle-class suburban and rural young people
coming in for services. >>Harm Reduction Services
is a non-profit located in Oak Park,
an inner-city Sacramento Neighborhood. >>We’ve seen anywhere
from about 20% to 30% increase in those young people
in just the last 6 to 9 months. If you can educate
your young person to know what to look for? Know what the drugs look like
and know what the effects are and really, truly understand
some of the long term pieces to it,
then you are starting the conversation
to save their life. >>Teenagers want to party. Nineteen year old Kirill
is no exception. But that doesn’t mean
he drinks or uses drugs. >>I still socialize with them. I just don’t get caught up
in whatever they are doing. >>Alcohol issues at home
put things into perspective for Kirill early on. >>Mostly it was self education,
and what I learned in school about drugs and alcohol,
and just the environment that I grew up around. People use it to get away. just to…. I don’t know. At the end of the bottle,
there’s still problems. That’s what I’ve heard
in rap songs. >>Kirill and 16 year old Rudy
both love rap music. They also know that rap
and a dangerous, new drug cocktail
called lean often go
together. Rudy,
who lives in Stockton, got swept away. >>Yes, I have had
personal experience with using it.” Lean starts out
with hard candies tossed into a glass or pitcher. They’re covered with codeine
cough syrup, soda,
alcohol, and sometimes crushed up pills. The hard candy is…. >>Kind of like ice! You just drink,
suck on it for a little bit, and throw it back in the cup. >>Lean is very addictive. >>Numbness of the hands,
numbness of the body, certain parts
if you drink a lot…. Leaning? Like you have…. ….like your head
is unattached! You just kind of feel
like you are not there at the moment. >>The brain
is not fully developed until 25. That’s why younger kids
are more susceptible to getting hijacked
by addiction. >>Alcohol was kind
of the start for me: 7th grade, 8th grade….. >>Stockton is a hot bed
of teen addiction and has one of the worst
juvenile drug and alcohol arrest rates
in California. Rosie Rangel
is a substance abuse counselor with San Joaquin County. >>I see it,
and it’s just heartbreaking. Substance abuse
is a big problem in Stockton because we are
right in the middle of the state. We have both major highways
coming through our city. So drugs are coming through
the county through the border. And they just travel right on up
through our highway systems. >>The first time I got arrested? I was drinking
with some friends, and I got a robbery case. And the second time,
I got arrested was for possession for sales. My dad was mad. My mom came two days later
to visit me in jail. And all she did was cry. >>Joshua was arrested at 18,
spent time in jail, and is doing
mandatory counseling with the county. >>It’s huge. We get clients everyday
who were arrested for drug sales,
being under the influence, committing a crime…. >>At 20, Joshua has two strikes. Another could put him away
for life! >>My residents
and medical students? If there’s one thing
that they come out of the jails or prisons saying to me
time and time again? “Hey, they’re just kids. They’re really nice kids.” >>There’s no need for you
to get on drugs at all because nothing good
comes out of it.” >>Though arrest rates
are skyrocketing in Stockton, kids remain so hungry
for prescription drugs that dealers
are staking out public parks. >>When a person
uses up a prescription from the doctor,
they most likely will go to pill park. That’s here in Stockton. >>And this is it: pill park,
an intimidating place full of movement and activity,
people coming and going. >>That park
is famous for people meeting there to get pills. >>Drugs and crime! Rudy made a decision. He wasn’t going
to let drugs ruin his life. So he quit. He even joined the group
Students in Prevention. >>We want to reach out
to people our age. I’m 16. People our age and even younger,
4th through 8th grade…. ….teach them
not just about drug abuse, not just alcohol,
but also mental health. People don’t understand
that mental health is a big thing. People need people there
as a support system. >>Christiane Highfill
oversees Students in Prevention. >>With programs like ours? The work you are doing
is really paramount to our fight in regard to keeping drugs
away from young people. >>Everyone has a past,
and everyone has a history. But that’s the past
for a reason. Drug abuse is something big. It’s big now,
and I know it can be prevented. >>I’ve seen people selling weed,
oxycotins and vicodins. >>Pain pills are popular
with 18-year-old Brienna’s friends. But Brienna
had a brush with death from taking too much
over-the-counter cough syrup. >>I decided
I was going to attempt suicide. >>The last five years
have been rough. >>Brienna lives
with her mom Stacey. Overdosing on cough syrup
sent Brienna to the hospital emergency room. >>When she was 13,
she attempted suicide It was very out of the blue. It was very unexpected. I never saw that coming at all. >>Brienna was also experimenting
with other drugs. >>It’s just a big escape. >>At 16, Brienna became pregnant
and is now the mother of a little girl named Ebony. >>Actually,
she really wasn’t an accident. I intentionally wanted
to have a baby because I wanted something
to bring me out of how deep I had gotten
into things. >>Brienna is a good mom
and getting counseling. She got clean
when she found out she was pregnant
and attends a high school for young parenting moms. Her advice to other teens? >>I danced sometimes,
like five times a week. And I think
that there are natural types of drugs
like what you get out of dancing or running
or any extracurricular type of activity. I think if people
do something like that, then that helps a lot. >>People have energy in them. And we need
to get that energy out. >>Fifteen year old Julian
burns off that energy by golfing. >>When I was ten,
my dad got me golf clubs for Christmas. And I just had a few lessons. And ever since then,
I just couldn’t stop playing. I love it. >>Julian says
he wants to become a pro golfer. Still, he doesn’t have
to look far to see what other kids
are doing. >>Drugs? That’s a big problem here. Kids think it’s cool,
and they don’t have anything else to do. So they choose the drug life. I just told myself,
“I’m never going to smoke or do drugs!” >>Julian is a good student,
loves golf, and is winning trophy’s galore. >>I see golf as getting me
to where I want to be. So it gives me that outlet
that most kids don’t have. I can go to a place,
a golf course, where I feel comfortable
and people respect me and what I want to become
and what I want to be. >>If we work at it,
we can really find something that really makes them tick,
that they feel good about, that they look forward
to getting out of school and going
and doing this thing. >>In the long run? By playing golf
and staying off drugs, Julian is saving
taxpayers money. The government spends
half a trillion dollars per year as a result of addiction. Health problems,
unemployment, jails,
institutions, death…. It’s all very costly. As for the emotional toll? That’s impossible to calculate. >>I just wished
I had known more. >>Linda Chapman
pours through her daughter’s baby clothes
and other treasures. Tiffany Noel
was Linda’s Christmas baby. Tiffany had
a healthy childhood until high school
when she broke her neck in a bad car accident. She was prescribed pain pills
and became addicted. >>She was doctor-shopping
and pharmacy-shopping, actually too. So she was aware
that she needed more pain pill prescriptions
to feed her addiction. >>Tiffany overdosed
several times. Another late night phone call
and again, Tiffany had taken
too many drugs. >>It was maybe 44 days
that she was in the hospital. And they told us
she was going to go home. >>Side effects
from excessive use of prescription pills
had devastated her young body. >>We found out
she was bleeding internally. They tried to save her
by giving her blood transfusions. >>But it was too late! Tiffany’s liver
had essentially exploded. Her beautiful blue eyes
turned blood red as her body shut down. >>She held on for quite a while,
and then she died. In the back of our minds,
we always knew that this addiction
could kill her, but we were really not prepared
for the heartache that it has left us
in our hearts right now. I hear moms
and daughters together, and I miss that. I miss her. >>Tiffany was 27 years old. >>She had so many
hopes and dreams for her life. Being an addict
wasn’t one of them. >>Education, prevention…. Sharing that information
is the best defense against the addiction
and the abuse. >>I know that some people
think that okay, they can go ahead
and be addicted, that it’s just their life
that they are playing with. No one else cares. It’s not true. Tiffany is gone now. And Dan and I
have to live on without her. And it will always leave a hole
in our hearts. It will never be the same. For information
about how you can help educate, contact Pathway to Prevention,
a group of mother’s committed to change. ♪ ♪ >>To order a DVD copy
of this program, call 888-814-3923
or visit >>Collision Course,
Teen Addiction Epidemic is made possible
by Sierra Health Foundation, supporting efforts that promote
the healthy development of youth. Additional funding
for this program made possible
by Kaiser Permanente and UC Davis. ♪ ♪  

1 comment

  1. The sad part is that they put Acetaminophen in that type of medication to "deter" abuse. That's like putting a shotgun aimed at the driver that goes off if they exceed 80 mph to deter speeding. This is murder, not deterrence.

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