Editor’s Note: When a local high school coach learned that The Examiner was going to publish its “Just Say Know” series, I received a phone call. The coach told me how the oldest child in the family was battling an issue with drugs and this coach wanted to relay a heartfelt message to other parents who are dealing with similar issues. Although the coach asked to remain anonymous, here are some words that come straight from the heart. – Bill Althaus

Editor’s Note: When a local high school coach learned that The Examiner was going to publish its “Just Say Know” series, I received a phone call. The coach told me how the oldest child in the family was battling an issue with drugs and this coach wanted to relay a heartfelt message to other parents who are dealing with similar issues. Although the coach asked to remain anonymous, here are some words that come straight from the heart. – Bill Althaus



Parenting can be such a rewarding and joyful experience. Most of the time, we relish the time we spend with our kids as they grow up.

I can say I really love being able to interact with my kids. I can also say that there is a dangerous beast out there lurking in the shadows, and it is waiting to snatch your teenager away from you.

I believe I am a typical parent. I am also a high school teacher. I thought I had a good grip on the drug culture out there, and would not be easily fooled by my children. Unfortunately the more I have learned, the less I truly know. You see, I have a child who is an addict.

This did not occur overnight, but evolved over years of legal and illegal drug use. I can tell you marijuana is almost, or maybe even more popular in some instances, than alcohol. Kids use it because it really cannot be traced. There is no sobriety field test for it. There are many ways to hide the smell. As we all were taught, marijuana is a gateway drug. The drug of choice from what my child and the kids in my high school tell me are Xanax (bars), oxycontin, hydrocodone and meth. There are more, but these are the hot ones now.

Oxy is the “GOLD” standard. It can be hard to get, but according to my son, it is the best. Kids don’t just take these pills, they grind them up and snort them. The withdrawal is really bad, oftentimes you have to go on a prescription drug (suboxone) to get off it. But that’s another story for another day.

So why am I writing this? I was totally blindsided. My child showed some signs, and we started testing him. There is no test for the painkillers. They are in everyone’s cabinet and they are highly addictive. I believe most parents only see the tip of the iceberg, if they see that all. I asked some students how long it would take to get any of these drugs in our school. They responded, “About two minutes.”

We are doing everything to help our child. He has gone to a good rehab facility, and is starting to make progress. It will be a long battle. He has essentially lost a few years of his life. And he’s beginning to realize that. I want parents to realize that your honor student, athlete or band member can also be leading a double life. Sit down and talk to your kids and try to hold them accountable. I have to admit I lived in the land of denial, and now I realize drugs are out there and they are easy to get. Your children cannot go anywhere that this problem will not be right there in their face.

There are many kids out there who choose to say no to these temptations. I believe there are many more who say yes. Many of them can handle it. Many of them will not be able to. Many good kids make bad decisions. As they say love the sinner and hate the sin. I hate drugs.