Not all kids who are users fell into drugs through bad decisions

Now that we are up and running, we are starting to get emails from people who have been touched by our message. Some have received a wristband. Some have been moved by that wrist band. Some have sought out help after reflecting how much the person who gave them the wristband cares for them. That leaves us humbled and moved. But two days ago we received a sad email. The email no one wants to get.

You see there is a problem, a real problem, with prescription medications and the society. Our community is not immune. Our young people are just as much at risk as other places of the country. Some seek out Prescription meds for recreation, it is a dangerous risk. They are very addictive and the combination of mixing those drugs with alcohol can been devastating. But there is another very real issue though that is trapping unexpected victims. Patients who have been prescribed opiates for pain, high doses to ease discomfort that leaves them addicted.

New reports are showing that many of those addicted when they can no longer find pain meds are turning to heroin. A devastating choice as we found out in the email we received.

My precious, 23 year old nephew died yesterday. Kyle overdosed, then vomited and choked due to heroin abuse, something with which he struggled. He was addicted from the time he had surgery at 16 years old. The heavily prescribed Oxycontin, oxycodone and whatever other form of synthetic heroin he was put on paved the way for his need to self medicate. Born with a cleft palate and cleft lip, Kyle began having surgeries at two months old. He had dozens of trips to Cooper Medical Center and a few more surgeries before he had the big one at 16 to reconstruct his palate. He went through a lot, and like every drug user and abuser, he was not having a great time or partying or trying to be irresponsible, he was sick and in lots of pain on many levels. Not anymore, because he is passed on to the freedom of the mercy of Jesus in its purest form. He is not hindered by vices, trapped by sickness, hopeless because of pain. I believe the mercy of the Lord is greater than anything all of us put together could do to deny it. His love is undeniable, unconditional, it is true. Also true is that Kyle cannot be replaced and will be missed for as long as each of us that loved him lives. God rest his precious, irreplaceable soul.

For those who watched him struggle for years and felt his pain, this is their greatest fear realized. Tragic loss of a young life, the sadness is bottomless. Just today we found this article tweeted from Phoenix house about the FDA testing these drugs on minors. Its horrifying to think research money is being put into risking our kids rather than finding other ways to ease pain.

Another article states that the use will be very limited and only for patients who are experiencing severe pain from surgeries or other treatments. What is concerning to me is considering the statistics on alcohol on the developing brain, the obvious risk with opiates is so much greater. With alcohol use we see addiction possible in weeks when the user is younger than 13, months as a teenager and years as an adult. Opiates are so much more powerful than alcohol. Adults can be addicted very quickly, so if we use the scale that researchers have found for alcohol, do children even have a chance? It is too serious a risk to take with so much still unknown about the effects on the young developing brain.

Here is another article we found posted today about the addict switching to Heroin

Our friend was hoping to attend an event with Chris Herren as the keynote speaker this weekend, but instead will be attending her nephew’s funeral. I wanted to be there and I can’t believe that I will be burying my nephew instead because of the very reason that Chris is speaking against…

Be wise, read, question. Throw out old meds in your house, ask for other alternatives for your kids. Be smart when it comes to drinking and  understand that alcohol and marijuana are ‘gateway drugs’. They open the gate to bigger risks, more impulsive behavior and clouded decisions.

Spend some time educating your kids as well as yourself. Check out Above the Influence They have photos of the meds and list street names etc. But also, consider something we are working on right now to present to kids. Statistically kids who ‘know who they are, or have a passion’ have a easier time avoiding substance use. Find time to help them explore their gifts and pursue what they love. Its a real gift to their self esteem, not just a hobby.

Always be loving, compassionate and kind with others who suffer and those whose children are suffering. Understand that addiction is not a weakness, it’s an illness that effects brain chemistry. Our kids will make decisions we don’t always approve of, or want them to make. Especially the older they get. Be careful not to judge families that are in survival mode trying to help their kids. Offer them kindness and encouragement when you can. And if you are one of those families, uncover it. Shed light on it. Don’t be afraid to get help, please don’t suffer silently. Allow those who are there to bring healing to do so for you.

You can find hotline numbers here to help you. The first call is always the hardest. Take a deep breath, know you are loved and dial.

If you would like to donate in honor of Kyle Buchta , the family is asking for donations to be sent to ‘Project Smile’. Donations may be made to: Operation Smile, 6435 Tidewater Dr., Norfolk, VA 23509.

Are your friends good friends? Are you a good friend?

This is from another blog

nothing preachy for those of you who might be from a different tradition. Good stuff!

1.)  The true friend talks to you about things that matter

Talking about the weather is nice, and I love a good conversation about my favorite TV shows, but these aren’t the conversations I most look forward to having with my friends.  My closest friends are the people I can talk to seriously about what my goals for the future are, what I am struggling with, or go to for advice on any number of topics.  We may joke around and talk about trivial things at times as well, but a real friend tends to elevate the conversation.

2.)  A friend has no problem calling you out

I am the biggest baby when it comes to any type of criticism.  My feelings get hurt and I may become upset and defensive with the person giving the feedback, but this doesn’t stop my closest friends from calling it like they see it.  Despite how I may initially react, I am so thankful for this.  The real friend isn’t worried about hurting your ego a little bit if it means you seeing the truth.

3.)  Friends don’t ask or expect you to lie for their sake

Sometimes it takes losing a relationship in order to be a real friend.  The true friend won’t agree to lie in order to cover for someone else, even if asked.  Lying is damaging to us on so many levels.  The truth always comes out eventually, and a lot of hurt can usually be avoided if it comes out sooner rather than later.

4.)  Finally, the true friend is striving to be a good person himself

You can’t expect someone to be a good friend if they are not a good person.  The true friend will help you become a better person, so it follows that someone who is not a good person already can’t help you to become one yourself.  Friendships involve a give and take.  We both learn from our friends as well as teach them.  Make sure you are learning from teachers who know what they are talking about.

Getting Rid of a Bad Friend:

So what do you do if you find yourself in a friendship that is not good for you?  You run.

Aristotle says that getting rid of a bad friend is like getting rid of a bad habit.  And anyone who has tried knows that getting rid of a bad habit is extremely difficult.  In a similar way, getting rid of a friendship, especially one that has been a part of us for so long, can feel as excruciating as cutting off an arm that has been infected with gangrene.   But you really have no other option.  If you don’t amputate, the infection will spread throughout the whole body and eventually will cost you your life.

Finding a Good Friend:

Also as with habits, it is not enough to simply try and get rid of the bad friendship.  You have to replace it with a good friendship.  Otherwise, you will fall back into the old one.  We have to be picky about choosing our friends.  We can’t be so naive as to think the people we spend our time with have no effect on us.  So in choosing your friends, look for people who have the characteristics described above.  Look for people who challenge you to be a better person.

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