Found odd stuff in son's room: straws, coffee mug and saucer, solvent-soaked kleenex

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by recovering doormat, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Okay, I'm officially panicking. I usually post on the general and PE boards but this is definitely substance abuse.

    My son has been self-medicating with marijuana for about six months and it's getting worse. Within the past few days my ex (son lives with-dad not far from me) has found coffee mugs with saucers used as lids, and in the bottom of the mug was a damp wad of Kleenex. He threw the first few away and then yesterday sniffed the tissue to see if it was water (son has tried to germinate marijuana seeds in the past on wet paper towel) and it had a strong solvent smell.

    One of my son's friends left a backpack at my ex's for days. My ex looked inside and found a strange, jerry-rigged tool: an auto repair type wrench with an elongated head that has a small hole at the top to grab the nut/screw, and duct-taped to the hole was a hard plastic straw, the kind you see in sippy-cups. It looked like something used for snorting.

    I'm wondering if these kids are snorting ground up OTC medications or huffing solvents, or distilling something on the solvent-soaked tissue.

    are there websites where I can find out what the paraphernalia is used for?

    My son looks awful, he's always been thin but he's pale and his eyes always have dark circles, he goes to bed early and seems tired all the time. His dad and I are reaching out to everyone we know about getting himinto rehab before it's too late.
  2. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    Can you get him into a dr today to do a good physical evaluation as a start. It sounds like he may be malnourished and if he has been doing hard drugs it could affect his liver and they could do a liver panel. If he looks weak and listless
    he should go to the ER. Those items you mention sound like some kind of drug paraphernalia. Others may be able to see more into the situation.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When kids say "I just smoke pot" be careful. Unfortunately, it is very often not true. My daughter certainly used OTC drugs as well as illegal drugs and prescription drugs. I found all sorts of odd things in her room. I had no idea what they were for. All I knew was they meant trouble. I'd never known how deeply my daughter was into drugs until she quit and told me. It boggled my mind that she could take that much and act halfway normal. I'd do drug testing.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    OTC's have been the spring board to substance abuse for many of our families...mostly ingesting but sometimes snorting. The whole scene is confusing and frightening and much like trying to work your way through a mine field living in fear that an explosion can take you or your difficult child at most any time.

    On the bright side you sound fortunate to have as Ex who is communicating with you and prepared to word as a unit for your child's benefit. That is HUGELY helpful. Very often pitting one parent against the other gives difficult children alot more freedom to increase their drug use with-o fear of being detected.

    Finding help depends on your location, your assets, your peer group, the social services available and the quality of the medical services. Research
    is paramount. Network like your life depends on it and do NOT trust the recommendation of any one person. CD parents have had some terrible results because "one" Judge "knew the right place", or "one" social service director "knew the best spot".

    All of us want "the" answer ASAP because we want our "old kid" back pronto. Work expediently but thoroughly and then give your best shot at
    helping him. Learn NOW that it may takes multiple placements, setbacks, and years so you are prepared for the fight of your life. It is not for the faint at heart. Use this CD family as a place to whine, cry, ask questions,
    rant's as valuable as any professional help you can find for you! Hugs. DDD
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. I don't know what any of this is, but it is my guess that it is well beyond "just pot".

    Get him to a hospital and get a comprehensive drug panel, as well as tests for liver and kidney function and anything else they think might be the problem or drug of choice.

    I think it is excellent that you and your ex are working together to help your son. W.o this the chld will have way too many chances to slip through the system.
  6. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Good suggestions. He does need blood work and perhaps the hair test to see what is in his system.

    His older sister, who lives with him and my ex, pooh-poohed the idea that he is snorting anything. She told me that some months ago he crushed up a Zyrtec and attempted to sell it as cocaine to an unsuspecting teen. The odd tool that my ex foundin the friend's backpack most likely was used as part of a bong.

    Which brings me to the real trauma of my son's drug use, which is the sneaky, antisocial, anti-family behavior that drug users sooner or later exhibit: attempting to cheat an unsuspecting kid with a faux drug, stealing the occasional $20 out of my wallet, and most recently, my jewelry is missing and so are hundreds of dollars of unrolled coin that my ex kept for a rainy day. My younger daughter can't find her Ipod and she thinks her brother stole it to trade for weed. We can't prove any of this (the theft of coin is most likely our son, since he lives with-my ex and knew about the enormous plastic jug full of quarters, and he attempted to take a butter cookie tin full of loose change to school not long ago and was confronted by dad).

    We go to court Tuesday and my fear is that he isgoing to get a slap on the wrist for the misdemeanor drug charge (cops found several tiny plastic ziplock bags that one held marijuana but were empty when discovered, plus he had run away from his dad's house and entered mine with-o permission to avoid going to school).

    He needs some kind of therapeutic approach to get him to stop using weed to self-medicate his anxiety, and long-term work on his issues. The ed consultant I hired last summer recommended a wilderness program in the Adirondacks, but unless it is court ordered I can't imagine him going willingly, which means the trauma of an "escort" agency (burly guys who break into your son's bedroom at 4 a.m. and drag him downstairs and into a waiting car), and he would be camping outdoors in upstate NY in December and January. they actually make the kids strip naked outdoors and give them their new clothes to put on while they are standing barefoot in the snow. At night their shoes are taken away to discourage runaways. Kids stay at these places anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, sometime longer if they don't get with the program, then to a therapeutic boarding school that usually uses some kind of 12 step program to break the kid down and reprogram them.

    There has got to be something better but I haven't found it yet. In the meantime, I have a glimpse at the private and public hell that parents of drug-involved kids live in. I never thought I would be here, at least not with this child. My older daughter dabbled as an angry high school freshman and sophomore furious with her parents for divorcing, but my son seemed more timid, and has a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in that he can't stand disorder, dirt or clutter, and seemed to need to be in control of his body. He worried about contaminating himself, so I thought he would be safe. I hadn't banked on him finding out what a great anxiety reliever cannabis is, better than Zoloft or Risperadal or Buspar or anything else we've made him swallow as a ten or 11 yr old.

    How does one find the right Rx for a kid using drugs - I've spoken to parents of kids who did well in these kind of mind-control schools and camps. In fact one dad told me his daughter was almost "too good," which raised a red flag to me. She had been doing really crazy stuff, hard drugs, breaking into peoples homes and stealign jewelry -- now she's graduated *** laude from a prestigious university and living independently with a career. Normal as pie.

    Okay, got to put on my calm, sociable face and go have lunch with-my mom and sister in laws, part of our Thanksgiving weekend tradition. I just want to curl up on the couch with a pillow and blanket and shut out the world.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JMO from seven years with a drug addict. Your son is doing a lot more than weed. Take THAT to the bank. You would probably flip out if you knew what he was doing (I sure did, and, at the time, yeah, I also thought it was just weed and alcohol). And I can't see how any sort of wilderness stuff will stop him from doing drugs once he gets back home. It is, at best, stop gap for the moment. They have to have the mindset to change and quit, and it isn't easy. My daughter told me it was hell, but she WANTED to do it. Nothing can drum that desire into a person. THEY have to want to quit or they won't. It's really that simple. You and hub should join Nar-anon and learn how to deal with his addiction. It's a great group! Hospitalization didn't help my kid. In fact, she learend to "play the game" and got very good at convincing the shrinks that she either didn't use drugs or it was our fault she did them or she'd never do them again. Ugh. I'm not a believer that these things work...jmo. I think the kids learn how to play "I'm cured!" just to get out. in my opinion the child who reformed was ready and eager to do it. Without the right intent, nothing works.
    There are only medications for people on hard core drugs such as opiates/heroine. Nothing will stop pot/hallucinigenics/cocaine...already asked all the right questions.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about your family last night :surprise: and realized that nobody directed you to search for a dual diagnostic residential facility that addresses substance issues as well as mental health issues (like ODD, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) etc...not extreme disorders). A couple of CD families found such facilities that worked out beautifully for them. There is appropriately
    trained psychiatrists and Tdocs as well as substance abuse specialists.

    Like you, I could not send my child to an environmentally induced mind
    change setting. It can work well for some kids but not for mine, for sure.
    We tried the outpatient programs but even though he related to the counselors (much to my surprise, lol) he was still at the same school and in the same neighborhood and just couldn't find the strength to overcome.
    We also tried three residential programs short term.

    If we had to turn back the hands of time :)blushing: I'd scream and kick all the way, by the way) I would find a dual diagnosis. program and find a way to afford it. Some CD parents took out sizable 2nd mortgages to finance their difficult child's
    therapeutic programs. We just spent what retirement money we had saved which limited our choices.

    Network and research. Good luck. DDD
  9. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    My name is Lia and if you look at my signature, you will see that we lost our son Alex, on April 23, 2006. We were sleeping, blissfully unaware while my son died in our basement. He died from complications that arose from using heroin, it is our belief that the heroin was tainted with fentanyl which is 80% stronger then morphine.

    I have to agree with Midwestmom that your son is most likely involved with other drugs other than pot. I don't want to scare you, but parents are usually the last ones to know the depth of our own kids drug use. I realize all stories are different, all families and teens are different however, when they start using the heavy drugs, they all start acting very similiar to each other.

    I see many red flags in your story, many of the same red flags that were waving at my house. The stealing is probably the one that is most troublesome. I have never known a kid to steal to buy pot, especially from their parents. I don't believe most kids want to steal from mom and dad, they do that when they get desperate. I don't believe pot makes most kids desperate, they can always make a phone call and find pot to smoke with one of their friends. They get desperate when they are doing drugs that they need to do to feel normal.

    You also are noticing bad sneaky behavior, he's in trouble with the law, weird items in his room, the tool thing doesn't sound like something you smoke out of, you mentioned there is a straw attached? Straws are for snorting. Period. Tissue that smells like solvent? You don't use any of that for pot. You said your son looked awful, he's pale and has circles under his eyes. (not sleeping?) Like I said, all families and situations are different, but if you really take a look at all that is going on, you may see that you have a reason to believe he is doing something else.

    It is my opinion that you find out what drugs he is on before you invest your money into a TBS. I believe you will be throwing your money away if he has a drug problem. He needs to get a grip on the drugs before he will get anything out of a TBS. If you find out he is using heavy drugs, my only suggestion would be an inpatient rehab/treatment center for teens.

    I'm not trying to tell you that your son is using hard drugs, but I would definitely get him to take a drug test. I hope with all my heart it is only pot. Not that pot in it of itself isn't bad, but it certainly can be dealt with easier than the hard drugs.

    I do wish you all the best with your son, and come here often to vent, there are so many of us that have gone through this and can help you deal with this. You always can come here and talk when you cant go to your friends, who all have kids that might not be facing these issues. You are not alone here. I think we are a wonderful support system for each other, and I hope you find the help you are looking for. He is only 15, so you still have ways to go.The moms here are so knowledgeable I know I wouldn't have made it through those hard years without this board. They helped me become a warrior mom so I could be tough when I needed too. I just wish we couldv'e had a happy ending. I will share my story because I hope that something in it can help you.

    A short synopsis of our story:

    I always knew that my son was smoking pot, I even believed that he tried other drugs, never, ever, would I have suspected that my son was using heroin, Never.

    But the red flags were waving, the stealing, the horrible behavior, the running away,the complete disrespect of our family, the weight loss, the horrible performance at school. The heavy drugs turned him impossible to live with, he was awful and we fought all the time. He ended up in juvy for several weeks for domestic violence when he pushed my husband out of the way when my husband was blocking Alex's way out the door. We didn't have to call the cops but we were desperate for help. They drug tested him at juvy, only pot showed up. He later told me he had no idea how only pot showed up. Well he did get off with a slap on the wrist. We were hoping for some sort of placement for him. We had no idea that the reason things were so bad is because he had turned to hard drugs, (not sure if it was heroin yet) Over a year after his juvy stay, things were still very difficult, but he was much nicer to us at home. Around middle of Feb. 06. I got a phone call from a crackhead father of one of his friends, he used to let the kids party at his house. He told me Alex was doing heroin in his garage and stole a camera. He told me he has been doing this for months. I confronted Alex, he vehemently denied it. I believed Alex, after all this father was a lying cheating drug addict himself. A couple of weeks after that, I overheard Alex on the phone telling a friend he was doing heroin several times a day. I made an appointment at a drug treatment center, he took off.

    On March 22nd, (one day after his 17th birthday) I came home from work at 4 pm to Alex still in bed, he was sick and he was bad. I knew then that he was trying to get off heroin. I stayed with him pretty much for the next 24 hours, to tell you it was awful is an understatement. I finally could do no more for him so I took him to a hospital, they sent him to a rehab, they gave him suboxone. He got clean. He was so amazed at this drug. He could stop taking heroin without the withdrawls. I drug tested him once a week. He was still refusing further drug treatment, he thought he had beaten it. His counselor told him if it was that easy, then there would be no heroin problem, but you can't force a person into rehab, they have to agree. I did tell him that I was so proud and glad that he stoppped using, that I wouldn't know what to do if anything happened to him. He looked at me and said, "Mom, I've had a great life"

    April 22nd 06, my husband and I came home to Alex and the girls across the street(good girls, I was glad he was hanging out with them) They were all getting ready to leave, I asked where they were going, the girls looked at me and said to my house, to watch a move, I thought "cool, I can go to bed and not worry" Except the girls went to their house to watch a movie, Alex left with a couple of guys that either brought or took him to get the heroin. He was home by midnight.

    He relapsed that night a couple of hours after we got home, in the basement of our house,at his computer.My husband woke up in the middle of the night and checked on the boys, that's when he found Alex, and our new nightmare just begun.

    I know I just typed a ton and probably gave you way more then you wanted or were even ready for. My mainpoint is we were completely blindsided. Until he admitted it, I would have never have known. We only knew for maybe 6 weeks (from the time I overheard the phone call) that Alex was using such a dreaded awful drug.

    I'm sorry you are struggling with your son.

    I hope you can get him to agree to a drug test, or getting help, or anything that will help him become the 15 year old he should be.


  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There are many options out there besides wilderness camps. Just in my opinion, but wilderness camps have a pretty low long term success rate. I totally agree that your son needs a long-term dual diagnosis facility. Call the insurance company. Ask them what facilities they cover. Often they are listed on the insurance co website. Then call those facilities and ask about their programs.

    I hate that you are going through all this. It really stinks. PLEASE call about inpatient dual diagnosis programs. They just may save his life.


  11. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    this is what i meant by saying inpatient rehab/treatment center for teens
  12. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I think I may have found a place for my son in Pennsylvania: it's a comprehensive facility that has inpatient and outpatient dual diagnosis services. The social worker at his elementary school had recommended the place as an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for him when he started to relapse after his first hospitalization at age 10. We didn't do it back then, didn't think things were that bad (in denial).

    Keep your fingers crossed that ex continues to be cooperative and maybe insurance covers some. Will find that out Monday.

    Thank you all for giving me hope.
  13. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    My fingers are crossed and I am hoping all the best that the place in PA is the right fit for him. I'm glad you found a place you are happy with. Please let us know how it's going.

  14. KFld

    KFld New Member

    As the mother of a recovering heroin addict, I know how panicked you feel right now. My son insisted he was only smoking pot and I kept finding cut up pens in his room and straws. It turned out he was snorting heroin and by the time we were 100% sure he was totally addicted. Fortunatley for us he wanted help right from the start, though it did take quite a few rounds in rehab and one court ordered to a state rehab facility, but two years later he was clean and has remained clean now for two years.
    It is a long hard, emotionally exhausting battle, but it can be done.
    Your son is young, which in one way he has on his side, and the other is very tough. My sons biggest battle was staying away from all of his old friends and making new ones, which took a while, but he did it. He has a lovely girlfriend and all new friends with no assocation at all to his old ones.
    I know you mentioned something about court, and maybe it already happened, but if not, let the court know you suspect drug use and they will court ordered him to be tested as part of probation
    Good Luck!!! The people here are a huge support and I would not have gotten through it without them.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  15. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    So sorry all this is so upsetting! Your family is in my prayers. Where there is a will there is a way. May the strength and determination that fuels you in this be ever
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Did you ever find out what the solvent in the coffee cup was? I am asking so that I know what to look out for if something "new" is coming down the pike toward the kids. If it is too much to talk about I totally understand.


  17. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    No, never confirmed it was solvent. It was his dad who found it, and described it as a solvent odor. Dad has a tendency to embellish as well as withhold info, it's one of his sicker traits. My 18 yr old difficult child 1 says it was just water and tissue to germinate seeds. The other paraphernalia turned out to be used to smoke weed (bong accessories).

    So far, no evidence of anything else in his system. He gets urine tested today by the juvenile P.O. so we should know soon.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the weekend we will have him admitted to the place in Pennsylvania; if not, we start all over. But at least dad, me and court are in sync. For once.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi -

    Sorry you are going through this. I would check the underside of that saucer for burn marks. My x used to buy cocaine, crush it, mixit, and burn it to make his own crack. Then they put that in a bong, pipe, glass stem, or cigarette.

    Check to see if your copper kitchen scrubbers are pilfered or missing and ....baking soda.

    Does he smell badly? Like cat urine? - if so you have a kid on crack.

    It doesn't sound like it - and straws are only for snorting = also check the undersides of table spoons - if those are burnt it is a sure sign he's cooking something.

    Hope you get him the help he needs and I hope he accepts the gift and uses it to get himself clean.