http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/06/03/mothers-step-up-to-fight-teen-drug-abuse


Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 3, 2011

'Mothers' step up to fight teen drug abuse

Meetings, website help connect parents of addicts

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

If you know a teen has a drug problem, tell the parents. That's one message from Mothers with a Purpose.

"You have to speak up to save someone's life," said one of the founders.

She recalled a parent she knew slightly calling a few years ago to tell her about her child who was away at college, saying: "Your child is using drugs uncontrollably."

"At first I was livid," she recalled. But the dad went to the college, bought an over-the-counter drug test and confronted their child.

This was the beginning of their journey, dealing with their offspring's addiction to pain reliever OxyContin and heroin, and the child's recovery-fall-recovery-fall cycle until reaching bottom, truly recognizing the addiction and the need to fight it every hour of every day.

The mom meanwhile spotted another mom she'd known through their children's school years, going through the same hell. They began to share their plight and together discovered the drug problem that exists in Pleasanton, the Bay Area and the entire country.

At first they grabbed a handful of moms they knew were dealing with similar problems and said, "We need to talk. We have something in common," and held meetings in their homes, starting Mothers with a Purpose. When an article about the group appeared in the Weekly in January, things "went crazy," she recalled.

They found great support with the schools and police, and Foothill High loans them a room for a meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

"Our child's got a disease they're going to have the rest of their life, and we're here for support," one mother said.

"My child was bullied and had self-esteem issues," she explained. "These kids try to escape these sad feelings."

Taking drugs makes them feel wanted and accepted, but many have the gene to become addicted. It's not just the "stoners" or kids who appear to embrace the drug culture, they emphasized. It can be a jock, an honor student, a band member -- anyone.

"We knew nothing until we started this group and we'll never know it all," said one of the founders. "People need to understand it's a disease and nothing to be embarrassed about. It's like diabetes or cancer."

Although their young adult children have moved out of the community and are currently pursuing productive lives, the two mothers say they are in touch every day and dread the phone call that tells them something bad has happened.

"It's not only the kids who go through the 12-step program, it's us, too, working through the program," explained one. "I believe in what we're doing, and I'm trying to show my child that if you believe in something, you can do it."

For more information, go to www.motherswithapurpose.org.

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