And then Christofi turns to describe the childhoods of little girls who are now, in this current heroin epidemic, living the life she once did.
“There are little girls who are too tired for 5th grade because they have to wake up in the middle of the night and make bottles for their screaming, newborn brother. They can’t do their homework because they have to push a stool up to the stove to try and make some kind of dinner for their younger siblings. They have stopped seeing the point in playing with their dolls and pretend dishes.”
And it was perhaps that part of the article, moms and dads, that spoke to the the most.
I am 39 years old, and have never done drugs. In all likelihood, my children, aged 13, 10, and 6, will continue to grow up with a mom who is as sober as a stone.
But my grandchildren surely might not, unless I start talking to my kids now about NOT doing drugs.
For most opioid addicts today, it starts with something prescribed. I have heard a friend describe a loved one’s descent into addiction as a teen after he loved the way Vicodin made him feel after he got his wisdom teeth out. My own husband had a bad accident at 18 and had Percocet (rightly) prescribed for the intense pain his injury caused, and he recalls the high he got from it. He loved it. It is by the grace of God that he didn’t chase it down.
It is time to get real with your kids about opioids, legal and not, ESPECIALLY if they are in a situation where they are prescribed these painkillers. (I pray my kids are tough because if they get their wisdom teeth out under my roof I am just going to request the giant Motrin Rx.) Talk to them BEFORE the situation arises, so they know they can talk to you WHEN it arises. Be their safe place, their out, the haven they will run to if and when they think they might be in over their heads or even when they just feel TEMPTED.
Like I said, my oldest is only 13. But with statistics like these, with an opioid crisis that is only growing, I’m already thinking about how to keep my grandchildren from suffering a childhood like Ms. Christofi’s, from a text message that announces the thing she always knew was coming, from the peace that eludes her, from being haunted by a childhood that was anything but.
Please join me in being PROACTIVE with your kids. For the sake of theirs.