Help to get son into drug rehab

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SONS GONE WILD, Feb 27, 2008.


    SONS GONE WILD Moms goin' crazy

    Hello everyone. I am new here, but have been going through what I read lots of you have been through before. I have a 17 year old son, soon to be 18. He has given us trouble for the last few years, gone from the perfect, well-behaved and smart grammer school student (everyone wished their son could be just like mine!) to getting arrested for possessing marijuana to skipping school, eventually getting his GED, won't get a job, continues to smoke marijuana, cigarettes, drink, probably take pills, and most recently found him on the floor with a needle next to him - he's been doing heroin. Called 911 while me and his 14 year old brother had to hold him so he wouldn't run away (I couldn't wake him up and thought he may have overdosed), all the while his 7 year old sister screaming that she was scared to death (dad was at work). ER did nothing, just sent us home with a paper with names of facilities that can't help us. Called everywhere in Louisiana and can't get him detox because he's 17 and there is no where here to help with detox at his age. He says he's now detoxed himself (not sure about that). Agreed to go to outpatient rehab but refuses to go to inpatient, which I know he needs. ANY IDEAS ON GETTING HIM TO AGREE TO GO TO INPATIENT REHAB? We went to one outpatient facility and they wouldn't accept him because he was very aggressive and the intake coordinator said she thought he'd "get physical" if someone said something to him that he didn't like. Have another appointment tomorrow with an outpatient facilitiy, but am afraid he will be a no show or will not agree to their terms (must be drug free, of course, they will test, has to attend 4 days a week plus has to attend 3 hours a week of a 12 step program). He says he will quit everything but weed, and the facility I'm sure won't accept that.

    I also found him and a few friends smoking weed in his room yesterday (3 days after finding him knocked out after doing heroin). He left and hasn't been home, although we've been in touch with him. He's mad at me for telling his friends they cannot smoke in my house!

    Anyway, any advice is appreciated. I CAN'T BELIEVE I CAN'T MAKE HIM GO TO INPATIENT TREATMENT AGAINST HIS WILL! HE IS GOING TO KILL HIMSELF. We are at the point of telling him if he doesn't go to rehab, he will have to leave, as we can't have drugs in our house and have him disrupting our lives as he has for several years now. Of course, we're terrified that if we make him leave, he will certainly continue drugs and probably get into more trouble. God only knows what he would do for money if we kick him out.

    I know there is a good kid inside, and he comes out occasionally, but we just can't live like this any more.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are right. You can't continue to live this way. It is a danger to the younger children and to you and your husband.

    Somewhere there are rehab facilities in your state for 17yos. Too many people of all ages with drug/alcohol problems for there not to be. But if HE doesn't want to be clean/sober it won't work. No matter what you do.

    Are you afraid he will hurt you? Has he ever been violent with anyone in the family? Chances are, if he intimidates the rehab counsellor, he will or has hurt one of your children. I pray not.

    If you let him stay at home and use drugs, how will you keep your other children on the right path behaviorally?

    Is your husband on the same page as far as finding rehab or other options? Will he support you in this effort?

    No matter what your son does, please go to NarcAnon or AlAnon. And take your other son to Alateen. It really does help.

    My experience is as the little sister who's bro brought all kinds of friends/ideas home with him while mom and dad worked. He may have threatened either of your other children with harm if they tell. Or don't do what he wants.

    One mom here says that whatever they admit to, they are doing a lot more. She is probably right.

    Go to AlAnon with your husband and figure out what you can/cannot live with. Make sure he isn't alone iwth his siblings. Be careful of your safety. Lock up any/all valuables. Be sure you put locks on the bedroom door, your other children's doors - GOOD locks, not normal interior door locks.

    I'm sorry. This is so very hard on a parent's heart, on a sibling's heart, on a family. I will keep you in my prayers.


  3. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    This will be long and I apologize, but I have a lot to say.

    Hi and welcome to So sorry you had to find us. I know how you feel and what you are going through.

    I wish I could tell you our story ended happily ever after but it is quite the opposite, however maybe I can help some how.

    Our son died almost 2 years ago from a heroin overdose. He was 17 years 1 month and 3 days old. :sad-very: His behavior started to get really bad. He was punching walls, throwing things, leaving when he wasn't supposed to, left for days, started failing school etc... His life was falling apart and we couldn't understand why. He went to juvy after we called on him for getting physical with my husband. We were trying to help him, even if it meant juvy. He was there for a total of 3 1/2 weeks. He was great for 3 weeks after, then it started all over again. Now he knew what he had to do to stay out of juvy. He was never physical with us again, never punched a wall again, never threw anything again. So it did help curb his temper. When he got to juvy, they drug tested him. It showed pot only. He later said to me "I have no idea how only pot showed up"

    He finished out his school year, passing a few classes, got a job over the late summer, continued on with alternative high school. He was failing there too. (Alex was extremely bright) Teachers were frustrated with him. At alternative school you are only allowed to miss 6 days of class then the class is dropped. Alex got dropped from three classes and I refused to drive him back and forth to school four times a day. He wouldn't stay at the library or coffee shop in between classes, so he droppped out of school.

    It was shortly after that the school called me and told me they heard that he was doing heroin. He of course denied it, I believed him. His behavior is still bad, he is grouchy, always gone, but home by curfew most of the time. Now we are noticing things missing from the house. Every game system and game and controller we ever had. My younger sons money, things from our work that he could sell.

    He finally admitted to me that he was doing heroin when he tried to go cold turkey on his own. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I tried to help as much as I could, I laid in bed with him, rubbed his back, covered him when he was cold, uncovered him when he was hot, gave him aspirin, gave him Nyquil anything I could do to help, nothing helped he just got worse. After 24 hours he was going nuts, so I took him to ER. They sent us to rehab and he was given suboxne for two weeks to block the heroin cravings. It worked, he was drug and withdrawl free in one day. After a few days, he looked at me and said, "Mom, I can't believe I feel normal, and I haven't done any heroin"

    Now the rehab recommended out-patient rehab, which he refused to do. I couldn't force him,nor his father, nor the people at rehab. I told him he was going to be drug tested every week at home, which he was. I knew that out-patient rehab wouldn't work, he would've gone with many of the kids he was friends with. I did find out that there aren't many in-patient rehabs that will take under 18 year olds but there are some. You can't force anybody into rehab, I called the rehab once and asked if I got my son to the door, will you come to the car and get him in? They said that the person had to willingly walk through the doors. Alex wasn't thinking he needed that, so we couldn't force him, we had to just watch him like a hawk.

    He balked at the last drug test he took at home, he did pass it though. It was about three weeks after he detoxed. I was just starting to relax ( a little) He was getting nice again, he was going to be trained as food prep at the restaurant where he was a dishwasher at. We weren't worried about school yet because we had to get him through this part.

    One Saturday night we were out to dinner and he was hanging with these two girls in the neighborhood. (These girls weren't part of the heroin crowd)We came home and the two girls and Alex were getting ready to leave. I asked where they were going, the girls said to our house to watch a movie,(across the street) So I let out a sigh of relief because I knew he was in good company. Alex didn't go with the girls, he had a "friend" come get him, (he had no license) He went and got heroin, he came home by midnight. Went to the basement to go on his computer. He used again, this time his dose was mixed with a lethal dose of fentanyl. My husband found him at 3:00 am. Now my true nightmare began.

    You have asked what you can do to force him to rehab, sadly nothing. Your son has to want to go. You can make it very miserable for him if he stays at home. No money, no rides, no car, just a mattress in his room, no door on his bedroom, just provide a roof and food. Best is to ask him to leave, because your home will provide him with all of the things he can steal to support his habit.

    You are right in asking him to leave, as scary as that is, but he is no safer at home, and your 7 year old is in more danger if he is home.My son died in the comfort and safety of his home. If your son gets in more trouble that is OK. Maybe if things get real bad for him, he will want to change. That is the only way people clean up their act. THE ONLY WAY.

    Your son has told you that he detoxed on his own? That is very doubtful in my book. Heroin is terribly addicting, and if was as easy as just wanting to stop, and doing it on their own, we wouldn't have a heroin addiction problem. Your son is using needles, he is hooked. Please know that.

    If your son is agreeing to outpatient, get him there immediately, he may need inpatient, but they won't send him inpatient till he fails at outpatient. and what if outpatient helps him? I think that if he is willing to go out-patient, get him there immediately, please. I know our insurance company would've covered partial inpatient if he failed at out-patient first.

    And a big no-no to smoking weed in your home. You have a 7 year old? She can't be around that. She is already going through a lot as you try to save your son from himself. I noticed that my younger son hardly got attention as we were turning it all on Alex, trying to save him. I'm glad you told his friends not to smoke there, who cares if your son is mad.

    The good kid inside is being kidnapped and held captive by the drugs. The only way to get the good kid back is for your son to be drug free.

    Remember your daughter through all of this, she is going through more than you may realize.

    My advice to you is, if your son is willing to go out-patient, keep looking till you find one that will take him.

    You've come to the right place to look for advice. If you would like to know more about us, please feel free to e-mail me. I'll share whatever I can if it would help you.

    May peace be with you.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    Lia hit the nail on the head. You can't make him do anything. If he does not follow your rules for your house, kick him out.

    I am speaking from the perspective of a former addict. Drug addicts will not accept help until they are ready. You cannot make that happen.
    You CAN possibly help that moment come along sooner if you throw him out. With no warm bed to come home to at night, it will get old real quick. He just may hit bottom quicker than you think.

    I wish I had a different way of welcoming you. Sorry you had to find us but glad you did.

  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending understanding hugs your way. It is awful to have the child you love insist on making choices that can end with incarceration, injury, permanent damage or death. Sadly there is no way to make healthy choices for him.

    Read through the posts here (they go back for years) and you will know you are not alone. Most of us had awesome youngsters who chose to travel the dangerous road of alcohol and drugs. You will find that each of us tried and tried and tried. The only success stories are when the intervention took place at the beginning of the use. By the time 18 is just around the corner, you can't do anything but pray and try to provide a healthy environment for the rest of the just can't let your user take the whole family down.

    by the way, even when you start doesn't always work. We sent our
    son to a private program at 15, a better private program after he was kicked out of that one and then tried the "toughest love" by having the Department of Juvenile Justice authorities commit him to a six month program at 16. If they DON'T
    want the program it doesn't do much good.

    Sending supportive hugs your way. I'm sorry. DDD
  6. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Hi and welcome.

    Sorry you had to find us, since that means things aren't going well at home, but glad you did. As you can already see, this is a very supportive corner of the website.

    My heart goes out to you, as I remember all too well watching my academically and athletically gifted son change overnight once he found drugs. The drugs are what change our children - and it becomes a hunger that they keep needing to feed ... until they are ready to turn things around.

    Unfortunately, the addict has to want to change. Most programs will not accept any patients (both outpatient and inpatient) if they are not willing to sign themselves in and work the program. There is such a shortage of beds that they don't want you if you don't really want to be there.

    Here is a link to the substance abuse facilities around the country. You should be able to click on your state and look for anything close.

    Other ways of finding programs are contacting university hospitals (most have a substance abuse program), the United Way has outpatient counseling in some areas, your high school counselor, a local psychiatrist that specializes in patients with substance abuse. You can also contact your state or county's MHMR agency and ask if they have any suggestions.

    I know when my son was needing help, I felt like I was hitting brick walls at every turn. My son had just turned 17, which is a very grey area to find help. The police considered him an adult, but the hospitals and health care facilities considered him an adolescent.

    Some places only take 18 and up; others take under 18, but they are few and far between. As I said, call non-profit agencies in the area that deal with psychiatric or substance abuse issues for suggestions. Call the over 18 places and see if they can recommend any places for the older teen.

    I ended up finding the dual-diagnostic (psychiatric and substance abuse) inpatient Residential Treatment Center (RTC) by calling and calling and calling places. Each one would refer me to another place, who would suggest another place, and so on. My son had already been arrested by the time a bed was found for him inpatient. By then, he was willing to sign himself in, as he knew he had hit bottom.

    My son had already been through outpatient by that time as well - which is what I would recommend starting with - IF your son is willing to go. If he doesn't want to go, it will be useless. My son attended at a local substance abuse inpatient hospital that held evening sessions for 15-17 year olds. He also attended an outpatient program run by the United Way in our area.

    Again, my heart goes out to you. Drugs change our children in ways we could have never thought. It change their very being.

    We're here for you and will help in any way we can - whether it's making suggestions, or just a sounding board or shoulder to lean on when you need one.

    Again, welcome.

    As a side note, I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to Lia. Your willingness to share your story and your never ending support of others going through having a child drugging always tugs at my heart. You are an amazing woman and mother, and for all the support you've given others on here, I thank you.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Just checking in to see how you are doing??


  8. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Sons gone Wild: Welcome. I'm both sad and glad that you found your way here. The folks around these parts have good hearts, great intentions, and are always willing to share whatever they have to help (even if, sometimes, we aren't immediately willing to hear or accept that help :) )

    That said, I sincerely hope you keep looking as hard as you can for help. I'm from the Big Red Stick myself, and my family has a pretty solid rep in the rehab and justice system down there. I know there's help available, depending on where you are. PM me and I'll give you the little bit I know (we don't usually post names/locations of rehab facilities in public view here).

    Also, something I just discovered today: did you think of speaking with an attorney yet? Many criminal defense attorneys that handle drug cases are well versed with the treatment and rehab facilities in the area; they have to be, since it's their first option to keep their clients out of jail. Ask around, find the name of one or two GOOD attorneys that handle those types of cases in your area, and ask for some guidance.

    Also, I know La. is governed by a different judicial code than the rest of the country. It may (or may not) be easier to get your son judged to be a danger to himself or others, and then force him into treatment. Again, an attorney might be able to help. But if I remember right, down there the coroner's office is (was?) responsible for certifying all involuntary commitments to mental health facilities. I could be wrong, but it's another place to look.

    Finally, the local prosecutors could give you some good insight on how to force your son to get help. Believe me, even though there's a a fair share of rotten apples working as DA's down there, the majority of them would rather do what they can to help keep a kid OUT of jail than to see them in court on charges. Just make sure your questions are "hypothetical", and don't contain any incriminating details (unless it's your intent to get the law involved).

    This is tough for you. We all know. Come as often as you want, as often as you need to. Vent, ask for help, ask for prayers, or tell a funny joke to get your mind off the situation. Someone's always around.

    Prayers for you and yours.


    PS: How 'bout dem Tigers? FEAR THE HAT!

    SONS GONE WILD Moms goin' crazy

    Thank you all for welcoming me and for all of your insight. It certainly helps to talk to others who can relate. We went to a local outpatient facility yesterday, had about a 45 minute interview until son had to go outside and smoke and the psychiatrist told us we'd continue next week. Said she had to be sure the group therapist would take another teenager, as they are more difficult to control in group setting. I am determined to do whatever I can to get him into inpatient. I work for an attorney and, after several years of ups and downs with my son, have just told him and another female attorney coworker about my situation. That was very hard for me. I guess I felt like I would be looked down on for having a troubled son. However, it was just the opposite, and they are very supportive and trying to help me find help. I am now very relieved that they know, so if I'm late, or miss work, or stressed, at least they know why. We represent some doctors and insurance cos., so I have even been told of 2 facilities with wait lists that they can assist in getting my son in right away - IF HE AGREES TO GO - as you all know, this is the trick here! He is so addicted to cigarettes too, does anyone know if these facilities will allow people to smoke? He is almost 18, so that will be legal soon, and as much as I dissaprove of the smoking, if they allow him to smoke maybe he'd feel like that's one thing not being taken away from him.

    One of the attorneys is trying to find out for me - if he gets arrested, whether the judge could force him to go to drug rehab instead of jail - especially if he gets arrested on a drug charge. Does anyone know how this works?

    Anyway, going to the outpatient center was something else. I don't think there is any substance out there that he has not done - and said he's been doing something since he was 14! We knew he smoked cigarettes, drank occasionally and recently knew about the marijuana, but had no idea he was into so much. Talk about feel stupid! How can we not know our kid is doing hard drugs?!!

    Thanks again for all of your support.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hon, people using drugs can hide it very very well. some "normal" teen behaviors are very similar to drug using behaviors. I remember my mom asking how to tell what was drug/alcohol induced and what was part of being a teen. She later found out he started drinking before he became a teen, so none of it was "teen normal". But until HE admitted it, NOTHING anyone could say could convince her it was so.

    Sounds like you have a pretty good position with your boss to get support and help. I am glad for you. Be sure to check on what Mikey has, connections are everything.

    When we visited my bro's rehab (family day, and also his 1 and 2 year birthdays of being sober!! - so long ago, he is on year 6 or 7, still taking it one day at a time and working his program!) LOTS of people went outside to smoke. Drug/alcohol user/abusers frequently have other addictions. So the rehab might not let it smoke, but often they want to clear the illegal stuff out of the system first, and smoking is allowed because it is so hard to stop, esp when you are detoxing from other stuff.


  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am delighted to read that you have some support in your quest.
    My original post sounded more negative than I intended it to...sorry.
    Of course there is hope. I'll cross some body parts that you're able to get professional help that is effective for your son. Sincerely. DDD
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. You have lots of company in the "he did all THAT?" department. My daughter was busted twice for pot and swore to us with big eyes that that's all she took. "I don't even like drinking. It makes me sick." She mostly did her thang at night, when we were sleeping and she was out with friends (and she DID listen to her curfew!) But I can't stay up beyond 10:00 so she could march in high after that and I'd be out cold. Hub was a step and kept his suspicions to himself, knowing I would get mad if he suspected she was doing hard drugs. Haha. The short version of the story is that daughter has completely quit, even cigarettes. However, she did it all--her biggest drug was crushed speed so that she could snort it with her friends (mostly ADHD medications because its easy to fake ADHD and many kids did). SHe also would lace it with coke. She took ecstascy and OTC drugs that are now banned and tried heroin twice. That's when she started to scare herself--she met somebody with needle marks all over her body and thought "I don't want THAT to be me." After we caught her having a drug party at home (one that we thought was merely a pot party) we finally made her leave. She straightened out almost right away while living with her straight arrow brother in another state (it helped that she was no longer near her druggie friends and no longer had a car to meet new druggie friends). Her brother made her walk to work, and she found a job at a nearby Subway.
    My daughter quit without rehab. She quit because "I couldn't stand myself anymore." She hit rock bottom. She knew her brother would toss her on her arse if she even smoked a cigarette in his house. THen she would have truly been homeless. They quit when they are at rock bottom and desperately WANT to quit. She has told me that rehab wouldn't have helped her until she was ready to do it.
    Lila, I'm so sorry about your son. You are a very brave person and thank you for sharing. (((Hugs)))
  13. IKeepPraying

    IKeepPraying New Member


    I am pretty new here as well, and I hear your pain. My son is 17 as well and will be 18 in 8 days. Its true, you cant force anyone into rehab. However, the courts can. I have 2 little girls as well and they are witnessing this too. Its not good for them to be seeing this but its hard to hide it from them when we are all living it together.

    I haven't read the other replies so I'm not sure if someone suggested this yet, as hard as it may be to do, you can have him arrested when you find him under the influence or in possession of drugs or alcohol. Then when he goes to court you can plead with judge and let him know how much help he really needs. Once therapy is court ordered, he doesn't have a say so in the matter. I just did that with my son and they arrested him in our home for having drugs and then released him to me right then. I struggled with it at first, must have picked up the phone a good ten times before actually dialing. We are just waiting to hear from the courts. People with drug problems need to be forced and this is the only way I can see that happening.

    Good luck
  14. IKeepPraying

    IKeepPraying New Member

    Just read this after my post sorry. As far as CA is concerned. They SAY juvenile courts are suppose to rehabilitate. If they don't they are failing. I would think us as Mom's addressing to the judge the severity, I can't imagine a judge saying no. In CA it is very unusual for a juvenile to spend time in jail for a misdemeanor, unless he is on probation or it isn't the first offense. what the court system does here is "a slap on the hand" the kids know it, thats why it is so out of control. So it is the perfect opportunity to plead your case in court or the probation dept. I think it is great that you have an attorney willing to help you. I think that will make it somewhat easier for you. You usually have to pay BIG bucks for that kinds of help. You should feel really good about that! :) Good Luck and God Bless..

    SONS GONE WILD Moms goin' crazy

    Thanks for the recent posts. We're going to another outpatient facility Monday that was highly recommended by a prominent dr. It looks and sounds great (although inpatient is my preference). Things are pretty quiet, know hes still using something, but don't think its the real hard stuff - then again, how would I know?

    Anyway, keep us in your prayers, I'll do the same.
  16. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Well good luck for the outpatient. At least it is a start. Outpatient didnt work well for my difficult child. I wound up begging and pleading for him to get ready to go. He had to pay for it and we paid some but it was always something in the way. They almost need to be somewhere away from us because there is too much emotion there. At least it is for me. Inpatient was a lot better.
  17. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Also we have had our son arrested before also. I did plead with the judge and they sentenced him to drug rehab. However he didnt complete it and served his sentence in jail. It is hard to have them arrested to get them help they wont get on their own but it is an attempt to save their life. That is what drove me to do the things I thought I could never do was the fact of saving his life - or saving him from himself.

    SONS GONE WILD Moms goin' crazy

    Well, we went to the outpatient rehab today. I have to say I was not very optimistic, especially since difficult child was arguing with me on the way there that he would never stop smoking weed. I said lets just go and see what they have to say. Well, I almost fell on the floor when he walked out with the social worker announcing that he'd be right back - had to go smoke - but really likes this place and wants to come here! Okay, realistically, I know he hasn't done anything besides about a 2 hour evaluation and signed up, but I'll take anything at this point. I was very impressed with the facility - so wish us luck!

    I'll start a new thread to report on his progress.

    Thanks for all of your support and comments.
  19. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I'm so glad he liked it and wants to go back. That is a huge step in the right direction. I wish you and your family the best of luck. I look forward to the updates.