Emotional Pleas from Survivors Offer Different Perspective on Drug Abuse

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ROSEVILLE-

Hundreds of people attended the “Building a Network of Support” substance abuse workshop presented by the Woodcreek High School Site Council.

The event was the first of its kind, featuring a presentation, resource center with more than 20 organizations and special panels. The event planners hoped to provide information through three perspectives of drug abuse: parents, teens and professionals.

Keynote speaker, Jon Daily of Recovering Happens Counseling Services, told participants that the scope of the war on drug abuse is changing.

“I think in the 1970s and 1980s, we thought of low socioeconomic status as being the big predictor for substance use, but it has really changed,” Daily said. “It’s flipped upside down.”

Students agreed. Many say it is prevalent in their affluent neighborhood.

“I heard from my mom, who is a teacher here, that alumni have died of overdose,” Woodcreek High School freshman, Miriam Mars said.

“We’re not in the ghetto or anything,” freshman Jason Hoag said.  “Sometimes when you get to rich areas, parents won’t know this kind of stuff is going on.”

FOX40 spoke to Christy Crandall, a mother of an incarcerated former drug addict, who is now a parent advocate.

“We are a church-going family from a nice neighborhood in Rocklin,” Crandall said. “I naively thought my kids would be exempt from that because of that life.”

But youth drug counselors like Daily said, that does not matter.

“Drugs don’t discriminate,” Daily said. “A drug is a drug, and addiction is addiction. Kids start to develop a relationship to intoxication.”

Eleven years ago, Crandall’s son, Ryan was arrested for an armed robbery, while trying to get high on cough medicine and marijuana. He was 18 years old.

Crandall said a combination of denial, embarrassment, and simply being unaware made her miss the signs.

“I just wasn’t paying attention,” Crandall said. “But when I look back, I ask myself, ‘Why didn’t I see the signs?’ … Dropping grades, changing friends, moodiness, irritability, I missed it all. It was embarrassing and humiliating, and I wanted to crawl in bed and throw the covers over my head.”

But after his arrest, Crandall decided to let go of her shame, and write about her family’s experience in her book, “Lost and Found: A Mother and Son Find Victory Over Teen Drug Addiction.” Through that, she said people have started to open up to her.

“I think if more of us speak about the issue, there would be less stigma, and it would be less scary for people to ask for help,” Crandall said.

Ryan Crandall, now 29 years old, is still serving his 13-year sentence. During his incarceration, he has been educating fellow former addicts, is now finishing up his Master’s Degree, and is ready to take on the world.

“He is doing his part to help those inside, and when he comes out, he has more than one job offer waiting for him,” said proud mother, Christy Crandall. “I think the first thing we are going to do is just enjoy being in each other’s company.”

Woodcreek High School volunteers said they hope to make “Building a Network of Support” workshop a bi-annual event.

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