There was once an era when parents didn’t even begin to worry about their children encountering drugs until well into their high school years, but those days are over. Today, drugs have infiltrated even our elementary schools and our babies are being exposed to them at an alarming rate. Narcotic use is running rampant and once an addiction is started, it is incredibly difficult to end. At the age when our little ones should be playing with toy trucks and dolls, they are being shown a world that can end playtime forever. From alcohol to methamphetamine and everything in between, addictions to narcotic substances are destroying lives that haven’t even had the chance to get underway.
I experienced this firsthand with my youngest child. I never expected it, never saw it coming. We had taught our chidren about the dangers of using mind-altering substances and being a former alcoholic myself, they had, early in their lives, seen the destruction that it can cause both individuals and entire families. When it hit my life through the life of my child, I experienced a heartbreak that I had never known before and hopefully never will again.
I was at work on a normal day during the kids’ summer break from school when I received the call that every parent dreads. It was the police and they were calling to tell me that my young child, not even in high school yet, was being loaded up into an ambulance to be transported to the hospital emergency room. She was at the age when she was too old for a babysitter, but I still had to work part-time while she was home. There was always a slight trepidation that something could happen while I was gone, but I was only blocks away and always available by phone.
My heart stopped when I heard the news that she was found, unconscious, in the city park by our home and all alone. A city worker had happened by and the initial report that I received also indicated that she had blood coming from her nose and mouth. This turned out to be false. It was the homemade wine she had been given by some other kids that she was vomiting up that was all over her. It was almost one hundred degrees so the dehydration was severe. When I arrived at the hospital, shaking and crying, I was taken in to see my daughter, who looked like a person I had never seen. She was white as a ghost and barely functional.
Because she wouldn’t tell anyone what she had ingested or where she had gotten it, I began to call the numbers of friends in her cell phone and was lied to at every turn. No one who had been with her would admit that they knew what had happened or that they had been the ones to leave her alone and in serious medical danger. My little girl was still intoxicated and her normally sweet disposition was nowhere in sight. She was combative with both me and the police and no help at all in getting treated.
I almost lost my youngest child that day, all for some fun and games with homemade alcohol in the park on a sunny summer day. That is all it takes, one time, one poor choice, to lose a child. I didn’t expect it and I never would have imagined that it would happen to her, but it did. As parents, we must be more aware than ever of the dangers that are lurking about in the form of mind-altering, narcotic substances.