I just got back from a wedding in New York and I guess I should have asked my readers if they wanted me to bring back any souvenirs. Percocet? Darvocet? Oxycontin? Vicodin? There were more prescription drugs floating around that wedding party than an Orange County high school. I was amazed at how quickly people offered up pills for any malady. The bride has cramps? “Oh here hon, take half an Oxy.” I was sitting at dinner the night before the wedding as one bridesmaid prepared a list of pill requests for the next day and was surprised to hear the bride’s 13 year old sister pipe in, demonstrating her knowledge of pharmaceuticals. “Oh yeah,” she said when I asked her about it. “All of my friends are on that stuff.”
I don’t know if this group was particularly special in their pill consumption or if I just don’t hang out with “normal” people very often. I have been reading so much about the escalation of prescription drug abuse in this country and to see it firsthand was honestly a bit of a shock. I mean, I abused a lot of prescription medications when I was using, but to see someone offer up Vicodin as readily as most people offer up Ibuprofin was kind of scary. I talked to the 13 year old sister some more when we were alone. I saw some fresh cuts on her arms and felt concerned about her, growing up around all of this casual pill abuse. She told me about her friends in 8th grade that are snorting oxycontin and cocaine, and how a friend of hers overdosed on a scary cocktail of marijuana, mushrooms, vicodin, klonopin, cocaine, and alcohol the other day after his girlfriend broke up with him. All of her friends in this suburb of New York City are engaging in some really dangerous behavior. She insisted that she hasn’t tried any of drugs but that her friends pressure her daily. We talked about how it’s hard to not use drugs when everyone around you acts like it’s normal. I hope she continues to resist. She and her friends cut themselves and show each other, and being in therapy is like a badge of honor among them. I hope that she makes it through all of that. I told her about the struggles I had and about the treatment center in Malibu that I went to. I told her if she ever needs anything, or if her friends are looking for help to call me. I guess that’s all I can do, and sometimes that’s a hard thing to realize.
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