Juvenile Justice System

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by mentalcase, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Hi everyone. I've been lurking around this forum and reading so many parents with my same story which has been very comforting. I'll try to write a condensed version of the past few months of the havoc we've gone through and hopefully get some advice. I am a divorced mom with three kids. The oldest attends college and was a very easy child. My youngest is 13 and she is also a responsible, mature young lady. That brings me to my middle child who is 17years old. First let me say he was a bright, well behaved child up until sophomore year of high school. He started smoking weed at 15. I found it and I was testing him periodically to try to keep him in check (haha- I laugh at my naivety now). His grades were still good, had honors classes, no issues at home. End of junior year I started to notice he was gone most of the time with friends and when he'd come home go straight to his room or the bathroom. He became very withdrawn from me and his siblings with very little interaction. The start of senior year was bad from the get go. Skipping classes, barely attending and I could tell he was high..but i couldn't put my finger on what he was taking. Of course, he denied using drugs. Things escalated pretty quickly. His school called saying he was high and they were taking him to the hospital because his heart rate was fast and he wouldn't tell them what he had taken. Turns out it was weed and Xanax bars. Apparently he'd been doing "xannies" for a while. I didn't even know what those were- that was my state of ignorance. Within a few weeks of that incident he was arrested for burglary (breaking into cars) and ran away from home and was missing for a few weeks. He's been at home off and on while waiting his case to go through the system and after lots of chaos and drama we are finally getting to the sentencing part of the charges. He put in a plea and has been on house arrest (thanks to the running away part). We will have a meeting with the state attorney, public defender, probation officer and myself beforehand to see what will be the recommendation given to the judge. He received a comprehensive evaluation that the state attorney requested and from what the probation officer says, she is recommending inpatient treatment. The judge can either adjudicate him and send him to a non secure facility or give him probation and treatment (not sure if inpatient/outpatient). Up until now he's been going to counseling once a week but just decided to sober up a week ago which has been great but I'm not really hopeful about it lasting since he doesn't have a program - just the counselor he sees once a week. I have to fill out this paperwork for court and there's a section that is for what you want to tell the judge. I'm not sure what I want to say. I don't want him in jail but I would like him to go to inpatient treatment. He on the other hand just wants probation and continue with his counseling. Does anyone have any experience with this? It's all been such a confusing process for me. I don't want to protect my son from consequences, but I'm just not sure what my role is at this point. It's not so much about what to do, but more..how to do it?
     
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi mentalcase:

    I have no experience as a mother with this situation but there is a member whose name is littleboylost whose 17 year old son went through almost the identical thing. (Xanex, jail, truancy, theft, etc.)To avoid prison in Canada, he went into a residential treatment center program for drug treatment which he completed and is doing phenomenally. He is back home living with his parents, working and completing high school.

    Once he got into the program everything changed for him. He began mentoring other residents, his relationship with his parents turned completely around, he flourished.

    There is no reason to NOT believe your son's situation can be similarly hopeful.
     
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  3. Helpless29

    Helpless29 Member

    My heart goes out to you, as I write this my heart is heavy. I’m just a few hours I will be in court with my son age 16 for aggravated battery charges for fighting at school .He also like your son was using Xanax & weed. He lies, steals runs away. He has been to many impatient & outpatient rehab centers, counseling etc nothing has helped. It hurts to see them destroy themselves.I wish I had the answers but I myself don’t know what to do. I struggle with the fact that he might end up in Juvenile Detention center but I also don’t want him on the streets. Just know you are not alone , this site has helped me a lot. My son started at age 13 teen. & here we are 3 years later.:( Please keep us updated. Sending hugs
     
  4. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Thank you for the replies. @ Copa- I've read littleboylosts posts and they've given me alot of hope. My son has never had any other treatment besides the individual counseling and I didn't see him taking that too seriously. As the court date has come closer, though, he seemed to have a moment of clarity (I'm hoping it's legit) where he said he knew he had to stop using drugs. The thing is that he thinks he can just abstain from them and everything will be ok. Of course, the reality is different. I know the importance of a good recovery program.

    Helpless - I'm sorry about your situation too. Three years is a long time to be going through all of this. Everything fell apart for us pretty recently - about 6 months ago. I can't imagine living in crisis mode even longer than that. I saw my son go from a sweet, smart, charismatic child to a shell of a person with no conscience. It's been awful. Sometimes the situation is so surreal I find myself asking, "how did we get here?" but here we are...I hope things get better for you and your son. This court situation might be what both our children need to get court mandated treatment. I try to stay hopeful.
     
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Just a FYI.

    Besides alcohol withdrawal which can kill you, any benzo withdrawal can kill you. I read once it is harder to withdraw from Xanax than heroin. And dangerous..

    Please dont encourage your son to withdraw from Xanax without being in a hospital.

    Wishing you both luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  6. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Thanks for the info SomwhereOutThere!
     
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    My son started at age 15. He started with smoking weed also and it also escalated and he also got arrested more than once for a myriad of things. He was in MANY inpatient and outpatient programs and he would be okay for a month or so and then go right back to it. We did that for seven years. I don't think he wanted to be like that but he couldn't stop. He did not care what happened to him. I didn't get it. I still don't but this is what addiction does to the young brain. It's terrifying.

    He finally went to a 13 month faith based program which changed his life. He is now 23 and has been sober since September of 2017. I think the MATURITY also had a lot to do with it. He finally was sober long enough for his brain to heal and to see that he didn't need it. He now wants to live a normal life. YAY.

    My son got addicted to the high that started out with weed. He then went on to stronger things, which sounds like what your son is doing.

    If I had to do it over again and knowing what I know now, I would have sent him to military school. A friend at work just did that with her son based on what I went through.

    I do hope and pray that you don't have to do this for 7 years like we did. He is doing well now, Thank God, but it almost killed me.
     
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  8. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Thanks RNO441 - The inpatient residential treatment programs here are 6 months which I feel would give him a good chance..but who knows?

    I'm glad you're son is doing well. That is such good news!
     
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  9. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I used to work in the juvenile justice system and I will say they give those kids (unless it's rape or murder) every chance to get turned around. In my experience they have been arrested multiple times before they are sent to a juvenile prison facility. My daughter had trouble as a teen, but it never escalated to being arrested so I didn't have to deal with it from a personal standpoint. Just my opinion but I think inpatient drug treatment would be a great option if it's available. That gives everyone a break from the stress and will put your son in a place where his sole focus is on getting clean and sober and learning how to stay that way. It's a tough road once they start down it and it's important that he learns how to manage his sobriety on his own. I hope things turn around for him and settle down for you. Be kind to yourself.
     
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  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I think that a long term program is best. Six months is good. My son went to many 30 day and it was just not long enough and he was so young....

    My son went to a 30 day JV facility too once. I remember we picked him up on Thanksgiving morning. I was so happy. I thought he got "scared straight".

    Nope.

    When I went to visit him and he was behind glass and seeing him that way made me cry. He got upset. He didn't want me to cry. But it didn't stop him. I was like how the hell did we get here? This isn't us.

    There is good and there is evil. It's black and white to me. That was evil.
     
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  11. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    This....all the freaking time.
     
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  12. mentalcase

    mentalcase New Member

    Just an update: We went to the staffing meeting where the State Attorney, Public Defender, probation officer, my son and I and the person who decides what the recommendation to the judge will be are all together in one room. They asked my son a lot of questions based on reports from multiple sources including a mental health/substance abuse counselor report. I was really nervous because I didn't know what they were going to ask me and I have sooooo much information (haha). But fortunately they asked just a couple of things from me just to verify but they mostly spoke with him. At one point the State attorney said that she was worried because he had told the counselor that there was nothing wrong with weed and as soon as probation was over he was going to go back to smoking. She told him quite firmly that weed was still illegal so she had a real problem with that statement. Of course he went on this tangent that that was then, but he'd gotten some clarity in the last few weeks and he didn't feel that way anymore. Anyhow they decided they are recommending probation (no jail!!) with inpatient residential if the facility takes him. In other words the place they want to send him to needs to confirm that he qualifies for that level of treatment. The guy told my son to not get his hopes up about not qualifying (lol) because of the severity of his legal issues and the length of drug use and everything he has done (insert all drugs but heroin here) he will qualify. Of course my son was not too happy. He was crying a little in the car on the way home, but I kept my mouth shut about the whole thing. I am over the moon with the result. Now we must wait for court date and hope that judge takes recommendation - which is most likely. I will keep y'all posted.
     
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