Monday, March 17, 2014

Young and on drugs: Three recovering addicts share their stories of teen drug abuse


Marianne P., 25, is a white female, currently staying at the House of T.I.M.E., a transitional program for women who are addicted and homeless. She reflected on her middle-class upbringing during a recent interview. She was dressed in a lime green V-neck top and tailored grey slacks, her hair pulled back neatly in a ponytail.
Marianne is currently looking for a job and agreed to tell her story only if she would not be fully identified.
She said she grew up in Clarksville, Ga., a rural area where she rode horses and had lots of animals. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old, and she began drinking at 13.
"There wasn't really a window between me trying alcohol and me drinking excessively," Marianne said. "I never went to parties and got drunk or did that kind of thing. But I was very depressed, maybe because of the divorce and all that."
At 14, Marianne was rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Emergency personnel pumped out her stomach and she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. She later had kidney and liver problems because of her addiction. In high school, Marianne started mixing alcohol with Xanax and marijuana, and her life continued to spiral out of control. By 17, she was hanging with an older crowd that introduced her to an assortment of drugs.
"I mainly just drank, but because I hung out with a lot of people that did a lot of drugs, it was kind of whatever was there," she said. "So, in that one year I was introduced to crack cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription pills, hallucinogens. Everything pretty much short of heroin I tried. But alcohol was still my drug of choice, and I drank pretty much every day."
Marianne said she got her first DUI at 18, and a month later she was arrested for underage possession of alcohol. At age 19, she married a guy in the Marine Corps. They moved to North Carolina and then Maryland. They had a rocky marriage, but she enrolled at a local college and worked as a technician at a pharmacy.
She thought her life was finally headed in the right direction. But her marriage ended, and she got into another relationship. When that was over, she packed her things and headed back to Georgia to live near her parents -- and got hooked on meth.
"It was kind of a bargain that I made. Like 'OK, I'll do meth to keep myself away from drinking,'" she said.
Marianne said the meth addiction progressed quickly from there. She spent her days floating from house to house, driving for drug dealers so she could get free drugs. She had no money for food, so she stayed high so she wouldn't feel hungry.
"It was very hard," she said. "You go into these places and you have no idea who wants to rape you, who wants to rob you, who wants to help you. So you just keep moving because to sit still and stay anywhere for too long is just too risky.

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