Diary Of A Meth Rescue

By Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost
This is the first of a series of "reality" journalism stories that will chronicle the efforts of a determined 20 year old to rescue her best friend from meth addiction. The 20 year old is my youngest daughter Rachel. I consider her best friend, Lindsey, the meth addict, like a daughter.
Here is our story. Portland, Oregon June 23, 2005
It all started three weeks ago with a phone call from my 22 year old son, Ostan. "I found Lindsey with a bubble the other night," he said. A bubble is a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine in powder form. He caught his girlfriend of five years doing meth in their living room. He broke the pipe, got the meth, put it in the mail box and called the cops, telling them where it was. The Medford Police responded and ticketed Lindsey with felony possession.
Talk about tough love.
His sister, Rachel, my youngest daughter, heard his pain and she headed down to Medford from Portland, Oregon a week after he called to console and support him for a few days.
Lindsey has been part of our family since she and Rachel met in eighth grade at the bus stop on Rachel's first day at Hedrick Middle School. They became best friends and have been through a lot together the past seven years. Then Ostan and Lindsey became boyfriend/girlfriend and have been so for the past five years.
After Rachel graduated from North Medford High School in 2003, her dad/my husband, Keith, got a job on Guam at Anderson Air Force Base. We flew out that September and began our new empty nest lives on a tropical island far, far away. I moved here to Portland after nearly two years on Guam last April and am staying with Rachel till Keith flies back to the states after his contract expires.
Guam is a small island in the Northern Marianas that is an eight plus hour flight east of Hawaii and is a strategic military outpost for the U.S. military as it's a U.S. territory near Asia. There was a huge "War on Ice" campaign on Guam to combat the same thing, meth addiction, so I learned of its deadly dangers half way around the world.
Since I've been staying with Rachel, we've spent so much great time reconnecting not only as Mother and daughter, but like friends and sisters. We fulfilled one of her greatest dreams this past weekend when I wore a white tee shirt with "Mom's Pride Shirt" on the front as we headed to PRIDE which is a celebration for those who are gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, etc. It was a busy weekend as I spent two days at PRIDE and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Pow Wow out at East Delta Park.
I took her out to the Pow Wow on Sunday right after the PRIDE parade. I am part Athabascan or Alaska Native and it was exciting as I found Rachel next to me dancing to the inter-tribal offerings from the different drum groups. It was her first time dancing at a Pow Wow and was meaningful as we danced for our Dads on Father's day. Both these events seemed to strengthen us.
Since I have returned from Guam, she confessed to me that when she was in high school, she was "doing dope." I had no idea but we, her parents, wondered why our movies and other things went missing. Rachel confessed that she,d been stealing things to pay for the meth. She and Lindsey cleaned up three years ago. Then Lindsey started doing it again about five weeks ago. I grew up in the 60's up in Seattle and besides alcohol, haven't had any other addictive drugs adversely affect our family. Till now.
So what is the state of meth addiction here in Oregon? In 1992, Oregon had the highest population nationwide of those in meth treatment.
According to the Corvallis Gazette Times:
Department of Human Services statistics report that the number of treatment admissions for girls ages 17 and under has jumped 57 percent since 1999. And it's grown steadily among boys in the same age group. Last year (2004), more than 1,700 children were treated for methamphetamine abuse in Oregon, according to the state Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services. More than 1,000 were girls " up from around 630 in 1999. Meth treatment for boys rose from about 600 to 742. Now, methamphetamine has surpassed alcohol and trails only marijuana as the most-treated drug addiction in the state's residential care programs for children younger than 17.For many of Oregon's juvenile meth users, the habit begins in middle school, authorities say. And the illicit drug seems to be losing its stigma among teens, mainly because they have discovered that it can be taken without a needle. But methamphetamine addiction can be especially devastating on minds and bodies that are still trying to grow, treatment providers say. Over time, as addiction causes molecular changes in the brain, meth amplifies pre-existing problems, such as low self-esteem, stress or depression. By the time teens need treatment, they have lost a significant chunk of their body weight. They're often anxious and sweating, battling body aches, looking confused and sometimes suffering from open sores after hours of scratching imaginary "meth bugs."
Meth has a history dating back to the early 1900's when it was developed in Germany and Japan. In the United States in the 1950s, legally manufactured tablets of both amphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine) were used by students, housewives and truckers.
During World War II, amphetamines were widely used to keep the fighting men going (during the Vietnam war, American soldiers used more amphetamines than the rest of the world did during WWII). In Japan, intravenous methamphetamine abuse reached epidemic proportions immediately after World War II, when supplies stored for military use became available to the public.
Talk on the street is that Medford is the meth capital of the west coast. We lived there seven years after Keith, my husband, got a job there as an automation engineer.
Today, the emotional wreckage after Ostan caught Lindsey forced him to move from their place and stay with the parents of one of his friend's. He has a five year old daughter in Medford, so he lives there to be near her. He got caught up in teen parenthood and didn't finish his North Medford High School diploma work. He cooks at the local strip club and a bar around the corner. Today is his 22nd birthday. I don't have a number to call him to wish him a happy birthday. Maybe he can call us. This past week, Rachel had been talking about going down to Medford to "get" Lindsey. Yesterday, full of resolve and driven to help her best friend, she headed down to Medford, not sure if she,d find Lindsey or if she found her, if Lindsey would want to come back up to Portland so we can get her help.
She called me a few hours ago. "Mom, I got her," Rachel said. "I talked with her parents last night. We,re coming up and will be home tomorrow."
I am a recovering alcoholic with nearly 24 years sobriety. Rachel's well intended intervention needed resources so we could get Lindsey the help she will so desperately need once she gets here. I called Alcoholics Anonymous to get the phone numbers for the Alcohol and Drug crisis line. After explaining the situation, the lady on the line suggested that I call "Change Point," a place that offers free out patient treatment for meth addicts. I called them, got the address and learned that we needed to get Lindsey there before 5pm tomorrow to get her on the waiting list for treatment.
I then called Narcotics Anonymous and found out that their meeting schedule is online. The volunteer NAer was very understanding and suggested a few meetings not only for Lindsey but for me and Rachel. Al-Anon is the companion program for the family members and those concerned for the alcoholic/addict so they can live with them in their lives without enabling their addictive behavior. There is an online resource for Crystal Meth Anonymous and there are meetings in Portland.
I'm not sure how bad Lindsey's withdrawl will be. In the mean time, I,ll do internet research, call a girl friend who is a naturopath to see if she can recommend some natural things to help alleviate the symptoms and be ready to do what we can.
Like the Serenity Prayer says,
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference."
Cassandra "Sandy" Frost is an award winning print and E-journalist, editor and author of "Perceptions: Articles on Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from a Native American Point of View" which will be published by the end of the year. She lives in Portland with her youngest daughter, Rachel, who recently graduated from the Western Culinary Institute and is a full time baker.
Diary of a Meth Rescue, Part 2
By Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost
Portland, Oregon
June 24, 2005
Rachel and Lindsey got here about an hour and forty five minutes ago. I was chatting with my husband Keith on Yahoo Msgr and told him I thought I heard the car door slam shut outside.
"Marco," said Rachel as she came through the door.
"Polo," I answered back.
"We have an extra visitor," she said.
In came Rachel with Lindsey's pet cockatiel other wise named "Hair-do." Don't ask.
Then in walked Lindsey. I smiled and hugged her and she hugged me, saying how glad she was that we cared enough to help her. She is about 5'9", thin, blonde and pretty. She has a sweet spirit and is a giver. When we hugged, she started crying. I did too a little bit. We hugged for a long time. Rachel and I were the only ones in her world to try to save her from her habit. She said she was so thankful for us.
Lindsey is a founding member of the Piranah Clan. When she met my youngest daughter seven years ago, they and their little friends would swoop through the kitchen at night and eat and drink everything in sight so Keith named them the Piranah Clan. I,d cook huge pots of food, pizza up on pizza, pans of lasagna, fried chickens and they,d wash it all down with gallons of milk. They,d have cereal for dessert.
So, let the PIranah Clan tradition continue. Lindsey turned 21 last April and Rachel will be 21 this up coming September. Lindsey's been clean from meth for two days and slept most of the way up from Medford to Portland as Rachel drove. Thank the gods we had some burritos to nuke when they got here.
I typed back to Keith that the girls were here and I needed to go.
"You know, Lindsey," I said, "I quit drinking for the first time when I was 21." I started when I was 13 and was a full blown alcoholic by the time I was 16. She turned 21 last month and here she was in our little kitchen, two days clean. Yesterday I sent an email to KPTV Channel 12 because they have a "Meth Watch" section that covers Portland's meth epidemic. I told them about how a twenty year old girl had driven all the way from Portland down to Medford to rescue her best friend from meth addiction. The producer called, I explained the story and got the green light so the girls could tell their stories on the Friday night news.
He woke me up this morning to find out where the girls were so he could schedule the camera man and reporter's evening. After the girls walked in, I called the newsroom and made arrangements with the reporter to come over and talk with them. Rachel will do it. So will Lindsey. They want to help others in the same situation.
When Rachel went down to Medford to see her brother two weeks ago, she spent some time with Lindsey. She had three or four friends over. Rachel hasn't smoked meth for two years. She and Lindsey had both done it when they were in high school. They both quit at the same time. Rachel has stayed clean. Lindsey had started after two years or about five weeks ago. Rachel told me that she was so proud when Lindsey handed her the meth pipe she didn't hit it. She said she held it for a minute and gave it back to Lindsey, finding the strength to "Just say No."
After the girls settled in, I asked Lindsey, "What is smoking meth like?" "I don't know how to describe it," she answered. She laid back and curled up on her bed on the floor to watch "The Last Boy Scout" with us. She has a bad, hacking cough. Her face is kind of thin. She is eating a lot; actually has eaten non-stop since she's been here. She has dark circles under her eyes. She's smoking quite a bit.
Lindsey called her Mom when she got here. She got a bit weepy. Her parents have their own health challenges and aren't in a position to really help her. Lindsey needs to make arrangements for her folks to get her things from her apartment. Lindsey has always spoken fast and has kind of mumbled sometimes. But today she's harder than ever to understand. I have to look at Rachel so she can tell me what Lindsey has said. In the mean time, Rachel made a little bed for Lindsey and moved in her chest of drawers. We talked about N.A. meetings and what would take place over the next few days. Lindsey is a hard worker and wants to get a job ASAP. And she wants to get clean. She will need a few days to rest and get used to being here. They are leaving now to go to 7-11 for cigarettes. The TV people just called and they are on their way. As the girls came back, the TV van drove up. The cameraman and reporter set things up to interview Rachel first. She explained how she could feel Lindsey in pain, how she had to get to Lindsey. When Lindsey was hooked up to the mic, she tried to explain how she felt but cried a lot. The reporter was really sharp and asked great questions. After the interview, the girls came in and went to sleep. "Wake me up so I can see us on the news," asked Rachel. Lindsey was snoring already. I watched the news and tried to wake Rachel but she said she wanted to sleep.
This was the third meth related story in the hour long ten o'clock news. The clip showed Rachel talking about how it's all about love and helping those who need it if we can. Lindsey was shown crying, wiping her eyes, trying to tell the camera how grateful she was that someone cared to help her and how she wanted to get clean.
We've gotten some feed back from those who know Rachel as she is well known among those in the Hawthorne district of Portland. They are proud of and support her for bringing Lindsey here. And Lindsey is glad she did.
More as things develop.
Cassandra "Sandy" Frost is an award winning print and E-journalist, editor and author of "Perceptions: Articles on Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from a Native American Point of View" which will be published by the end of the year. She lives in Portland with her youngest daughter, Rachel, who recently graduated from the Western Culinary Institute and is a full time baker.



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