I Was Getting High With Drugs My Doctor Prescribed: 1 Kid's Warning to Parents

More teenagers than ever are on drugs -- and not the kind you think. One in four teens today has abused a prescription drug, according to Drug Free America. That translates to about 5 million teens (roughly twice the population of Chicago). Aidan*, now 16, is one of those kids.

When he saw a psychiatrist for depression, he had no idea he'd end up hooked on Klonopin, a highly addictive anti-anxiety drug. Although a majority of teens say their parents have talked to them about the risks of smoking pot, alcohol, even smoking crack, only 14 percent have also been warned away from prescription drugs. And yet, every day, 2,500 teenagers abuse a prescription drug for the first time.

Here, Aidan tells The Stir how he fell into abusing prescription drugs ... and how to protect your kids from the same fate:


I started off a normal kid. I did well in school, played soccer, loved art -- I had a passion for things. But then around seventh grade, my drive to succeed started going away. Nothing big happened. No trauma. I think maybe my brain chemistry got out of whack.

More From The Stir: 7 Signs Your Teen May Be Depressed

First, I started drinking -- some cheap liquor someone gave me at a party. It was a quick fix for my depression. Then the summer of ninth grade, I was introduced to pot. I loved it. It was the most fantastic drug and gave me back all the feelings I had been missing.

From there, I entered an extremely fast cycle of self-destruction. I told myself, "I'll only smoke once a week." Then, I'd "only" smoke when I got home. Then after homework. Soon, I needed to smoke to eat, sleep, and get up in the morning. I'm sure my parents saw a change in me. We've always been close. But addiction was not part of my family's vocabulary. This was new territory for them.

And so when I was trying acid, mushrooms, and pot with PCP by the middle of ninth grade, my parents sent me to a psychiatrist. I confessed to him how anxious and depressed I felt, and even how much pot I was smoking. He wanted me to stop. I remember he said, "This is the closest thing to weed I can give you," and handed me a prescription for Klonopin.

More From The Stir: The WRONG Way to Talk to Your Child About Drugs

Immediately, I got hooked on it. I remember the first time it got into my system, I started laughing like crazy. Of course, I didn't stop smoking pot and the Klonopin made my highs even better. I would go through a month's supply in a week. When I told my therapist I needed more because I'd dropped mine in the toilet, he didn't ask any questions -- just wrote out another prescription.

I began flunking classes; grades weren't even on my radar. All I wanted to do was get high. When the principal of my high school found a bowl in my backpack, I mouthed off to him and got suspended for the last two months of the school year.

At that point, I was too depressed to get out of bed and was even having suicidal thoughts. My mom sent me into a two-week treatment center where I was able to get off the Klonopin. But it wasn't until I was 14 that I got sober for good. What did it for me was Alcoholics Anonymous  -- although I was by far the youngest person in any meeting I went to. (And still am.)

There's not much I can say about my life today without sounding corny. I'm playing sports, I'm getting good grades again. I'm seeing a new therapist who I trust. I'm comfortable in my own skin and that's something I haven't been able to say in a very long time.

So what advice would I have for parents? Talk to your kids about drugs as early as possible. Get an "appropriate" age in your head, drop it down two years, and that's when you should have "the talk."

And when you do, be as straight with them as you can. Kids have access to the Internet. They can do research and call you out. If you struggled, let them know. Speak from your own experience. Don't just say "Drugs are bad." Say, "Here's why drugs scare me. I don't want them to become a problem for you." If you just let your kids know that you want to help, that will help.

It's kind of messed up. A lot of parents think that prescription drugs aren't as bad as pot or acid. Trust me, it's the same stuff.

For more information and tips on talking to your kids, visit The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids' Medicine Abuse Project, a national education effort to curb the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse among teens and young adults. You can also call their toll-free Parent Helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE, for immediate help.

Have you spoken to your child about prescription drug addiction?

*Name has been changed for child's protection.

Image © istock.com/jtyler

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