How to Get Help

"Not quite a role model. More of an example. So learn from me." Zach Crotty.


A couple of months ago I received a call from a mom who lost her son to drugs.  She said she had seen and followed us in the newspaper for the last few years.  Her son had children.  She wanted to do something. She "needed" to do something so her son did not die in vain! She told me she couldn't go to the cemetery without crying.  I told her that I too cry when I go.  There is nothing wrong with crying.  We miss our sons.  Why wouldn't we cry? Will it ever get easier? Some say "in time"....I say "It just gets "different".  Life is different now. Our sons had a future. Everything we had hoped and planned for them has ended because of drugs!!

That mom was just one of the many who have contacted me over the last 3-plus years since we have spoken publicly about Zach's death.

Some have found me through a friend  or a friend of a friend, a friend of a co-worker or acquaintance. One found me through Facebook. 

    Some of the callers, like the mom who cries at the cemetery, have sons who, like Zach, died. Others are parents, siblings and spouses  looking for ways to prevent their loved ones from dying. One woman told me  her brother's drug use was out of control, and her mother was in denial. Another was a mother who knew her son was using drugs,  but didn't know how to get him to stop.

We have always been very private people. We didn't discuss things like drug addiction in public. But after Zach's death, Mark and I felt it was so important that we speak out, and let people know about this epidemic that is killing our kids. And when people call us, we are glad to listen, and offer any suggestions  that may help prevent another death.

Often, I refer people seeking help to the addiction specialist Zach was seeing.   I also refer people to Renaissance House,  the inpatient program associated with Kids Escaping Drugs. Other good sources of information and help are the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Narcotics Anonymous.

 When parent's suspect drug/alcohol use:
S: Screen – look for it
·         ask about alcohol and drug use
·         observe for the signs of alcohol and drug use
·         evaluate extent of use
BI: Brief Intervention – do something
·         educate those with low risk [1]
·         do not ignore high risk use, motivate them to get help [2]
RT: Refer to Treatment – ask an expert for help
·         If you not sure what to do, ask a substance use professional for an evaluation
·         Send those with high risk use to a treatment program
Finally, parents need to get educated about the extent of the problem [3] and learn why teens act the way they do. [4]
1. Understanding addiction as a disease
2. Stacie Mathewson video
3. I am the face of addiction
4. Video about adolescent brain development

Here's how you can reach these organizations:

----Kids Escaping Drugs                                                     

  ---- National Institute on Drug Abuse
 -----Narcotics Anonymous 

Many Ways to Find an NA Meeting

Here are the 12 steps:
Step One: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step Three: Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.
Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in our affairs.

Teen 12-step recovery: It works if they work it!
Research has shown that teens that work these steps and become a sponsor of another teen whose is struggling have a much greater chance of staying sober. When you teach someone else you learn yourself. Also, when a teen sponsors another teen they develop all new friendships that are generally much healthier than they prior relationships were when they were using.