In 2014 when we lived in Colorado, my son celebrated the legalization of marijuana by writing 420, which is code for the marijuana holiday and a time promoted to smoke marijuana, on his clothes and arms. He was a boy scout and played baseball. He was loved by his teachers and friends and had a lot of support. He was in the 8th grade that year and we saw his behaviors changing, he was starting to self-harm. We thought he was upset about a breakup with a girlfriend and we did not know he was using marijuana edibles from the industry. He had access to these products in school and at his friends’ homes. We got him into counseling and his school provided support too.
By his freshman year, he was getting in fights and skipping school. It was clear he was coming home stoned and he was arguing with us that marijuana is medicine, despite the education we provided him. In February 2015 he was irrational, paranoid, inconsolable, and he was repeating statements that did not make sense. That same night he was so violent to my younger son, that my younger son ran bare foot through the snow to get away from him. Then, He attempted to kill himself.
I woke up the next morning to see my son laying on the couch saying he did not want to go to baseball practice, and his bedroom was covered in vomit. We found the empty bottle of ibuprofen pills. He was hospitalized for 5 days in Parkview Medical Center. After he was discharged, he was still using marijuana and was still suicidal. I took him back to the ER and we were sent home. I will never forget the psych liaison couldn’t understand why I was so upset and said to me, “It’s just marijuana.”
My son did not improve, and I took him back to the ER a few days later. The psych liaison said there were no beds available in our town of Pueblo, and eventually found one in Colorado Springs. He was hospitalized for another 5 more days.
When he was discharged again, he told me he was using dabs and he knew they were making him feel crazy, and that he was trying to quit. I had no clue what a dab was. He explained to me and said, “Dabs are strong marijuana, they’re crack weed.”
After educating myself, I could not believe that my community of Pueblo embraced these products and called “dabs” medicine. I volunteered my family for crisis intervention with the dept of social services because I couldn’t find treatment for marijuana addiction.
At first, my son did get better but relapsed back to marijuana, then moved onto using meth and heroin. He was hospitalized in Denver for 3 months at a residential treatment program where he was given a lot of psych medications. He was a walking zombie. He was drooling and sleeping in the hallways.
I fought to get him off all medications and brought him home. We still had problems and my son kept running away, and eventually social services discharged us, because they said they could not help us anymore. Soon my son was relapsing again and started using marijuana, the drug that he thought was the safer drug. These beliefs are propagated from the marijuana industry. At this point he was on the streets for days, hanging around homeless people, begging for food and water in front of a gas station near our home. He even had a family harboring him and giving him marijuana.
I had walked away from my job because finding him treatment was my full-time job. I also couldn’t trust him to be alone with my younger son because he had violent behaviors. At one point he showed up back at home and was vomiting all day and taking long hot showers. I took him to the ER and he only tested positive for marijuana.
Eventually, I found a treatment center in Utah and made plans to take him there. He accepted that he needed help and agreed to go, but the night before we were going to leave, I was told I could not bring him unless I had $36,000.00. The treatment center explained to me that our private insurance would not reimburse them in a timely manner, and they had to keep their lights on, and their staff paid. I did not have the money, so within a week after he stopped vomiting about 7 times a day, he was back on the streets for days.
When he showed up back home, I called the police and social service said they could not help us anymore. By the grace of God, my friend was able to find a consultant and we were connected to a dual diagnosis treatment center in California. This was the beginning of our recovery. He was 16. This treatment facility understood the effects of marijuana.
I knew I would not bring my son back to Colorado and I found a wonderful recovery community in Houston Texas where host families opened their homes to him. He was part of an intensive outpatient program and a recovery community for 3 years and remain sober, but now the drug culture and addiction wins, and he is using again.
I knew it would not be good to bring him back to Colorado, so I moved my younger son and I to Houston in July 2018. I am currently the parent coordinator for the same recovery community my son was part of. My younger son who doesn’t’ have a drug problem but has a lot of trauma is part of this recovery community too and even attends a recovery high school, Archway Academy. Yes, I send my sober son to a school with other kids recovering from drug addictions because they have support, accountability, and a culture of honesty, respect, and building healthy relationships. They learn real life coping skills. A skill we practice every day is setting strong loving boundaries, keeping our connection, and to remain hopeful that my older son will come back to his recovery. Even though I live near my son now, I miss him. I also miss my Colorado home, and my parents who still live there.
My marriage is ending as my husband also believed the marijuana lies. My husband started using marijuana as medicine. Marijuana harmed him, it did not help him, he now suffers from extreme depression and anxiety. Please listen to his testimony.
My neighborhood has more crime than ever. When you allow every home to grow marijuana, you turn every home into a potential drug house and fuel the black market.
A man named Brad Fowler was killed over a marijuana deal near my parents garage and 3 blocks away from my home on a Friday morning. We have never had a homicide that I knew of in my neighborhood before. We even had a shooting one Friday afternoon. I didn’t let my family walk our dogs around the neighborhood after this shooting because it happened right in front of my home.
I tell my story throughout the country. I am horrified to see the marijuana industry gaining more power , impersonating medical professionals, and harming unborn children. It sad to know marijuana is a factor in the increase of teen suicides and drug use in Colorado. Now I represent a parent group called Moms Strong; we tell our stories to unmask the marijuana charade, and just this year I have been hired as the Asst. Director of a non-profit called Parents Opposed to Pot.
I also have been involved with documentaries with Smart Colorado and Drug Free Idaho. I’m sure you’ve seen Chronic State? In this documentary I say, “In order for the marijuana industry to grow or maintain their sales, they need more and future users. Those users are the children of our communities.”
My parents still live in Colorado where they had to deal with an illegal marijuana grow next door to them. They do not have the resources to move, and they had to smell dead skunk all the time, even inside their home.
My son is now 20 years old. He told me he used marijuana again and freaked out. His friends didn’t call for help that night. How many more assaults to his brain can he take before it’s permanently broken? He encourages me to keep fighting for his generation and he is angry that many elected officials push the marijuana nightmare. He’s scared that marijuana use is so prevalent with his friends, but they don’t understand that it’s a hard-dangerous drug. He encourages me to share his story. I won’t’ stop advocating until the predatory marijuana industry stops poisoning our children.
I miss my home, and I want you to know that prior to marijuana legalization my family was never exposed to marijuana advertising, smells, or crime. It wasn’t even a topic of conversations. But now Kindergarteners know what marijuana is and while they are playing, they act like they are smoking it.
soccer mom for kids in recovery