A Father’s Look Back: Learning About Cough Medicine Abuse the Hard Way

By Rick Crandell Posted June 19, 2012 under Educating Yourself, Guest Authors

My wife Christy Crandell joined the Five Moms campaign in 2007 because when our son Ryan was 18 years old, he was arrested for armed robbery while under the influence of over-the-counter cough medicine and marijuana. We were your normal, close-knit family and when Ryan was first arrested we were both devastated.

Even though I have a close relationship with both of my children, I had no idea that Ryan was abusing cough medicine to get high. In fact, I always considered myself to be a good husband, a good father, and a positive role model for my sons. But after Ryan’s arrest, I quickly learned that being a good role model is simply not enough. If you do not know what is going on in your child’s life, how can you help them? Had I been more aware, perhaps I could have prevented Ryan from going down that path.

If you are a parent that has shared a similar experience to mine, you have probably found yourself in what feels like a hopeless and helpless situation. After Ryan’s arrest, we knew within that we must make an effort to raise awareness of how substance abuse in teens can impact families in every walk of life. We started Rocklin Community Against Substance Abuse (RCASA) in the living room of our home with family and friends who stood by us and wanted to make a difference. Nine years later, my lovely wife and many of the same friends who started with us now run Full Circle Treatment Center.

Parents today need to be educated about the problems teens are facing – like abusing cough medicine to get high – so that we can have open discussions about the issues they deal with daily. Think about your family, your friends and their children, and your neighbors – whether they live next door or across the country, they need to know about this dangerous trend.

Be sure you are informed – take the time to meet with the local school resource officer, community awareness groups, and most importantly, talk with your kids. As parents, we love our children and we want to believe that they will make the best decisions in life. But we often turn from the fact that the lives of our children are very different than that of our own. Young adults today have to navigate a tremendous amount of peer pressure that can catapult them into behavior that is destructive.

My wife and I never even imagined that cough medicine abuse was something that would affect our family. We learned about it the hard way, which is why my wife has worked so hard to raise awareness through her work in our community, her book Lost & Found: A Mother and Son Find Victory over Teen Drug Addiction, and the Five Moms campaign. In order to prevent medicine abuse, you have to know about medicine abuse. I encourage parents to educate themselves on teen trends like cough medicine abuse by visiting StopMedicineAbuse.org for more information and resources.