Dd's MDMA experience that almost ended in tragedy(10 Posts)
This weekend, my 17 year old dd told me that she, her 16 year old cousin and their best friend were going to a surprise "sleepover" for another friend's birthday. She lied. In fact they went to an unsupervised house party hosted by another friend, whom I've never met, and whose parents are currently in holiday in the US, leaving her and her younger brother in the charge of a male lodger! Things got out of hand. The girls accepted MDMA they were offered by some "cool" boys they've befriended in Sixth Form. My daughter's cousin had a bad reaction and ended up in A&E, thanks only to the quick thinking of a neighbour (who's a nurse) who'd heard the commotion and called an ambulance when she saw the state of my niece. The consultant later told her Mum (my sister) that if she hadn't been brought to hospital she would probably have died! Talking to the traumatised girls afterwards, they've told us that this is the first time they've tried MDMA and they've promised never to do it again. But my trust has been shattered and I feel like I've been walking around in some naive bubble, so sure that because my daughter had been brought up in a secure and loving home, with both parents, she would never be so foolish! What to do next? I've shown her the story of Leah Betts and a more recent tragedy of the 15 year old girl who died last year. I'm wondering if I should approach the school because it is clear that, while I assumed our kids were clued up about drugs, they have no idea of the risks or even what they are really taking. Have others been in this situation? Can I be reassured now that they've learned a lesson by this "near miss"?
Hi, what a horrible experience for you all. Hope your niece is on the mend, keep an eye on her mentally (as well as obviously physically) in the next few weeks, as the psychological impact of an experience like that can be very tough. This is in no way your fault, nothing about experimenting with drugs is to do with parenting, its so common for teenagers to do this either on the spur of the moment, or because they are fascinated to see what all the fuss is about. Reactions like that are very rare, but often deadly, so you are right to be concerned. Most likely it was something that the drug was cut with that caused the reaction, rather than the drug itself.
I would steer clear of scare tactics, such as Leah betts, most likely they've been scared enough already by the incident. Also, the Leah betts one is tricky as she actually died from the effects of drinking too much water (as drinking water was the advice given to ecstacy users at the time, however the drug causes the body to retain water so she actually effectively 'drowned'). I suspect they have been put off drugs for life, but just in case I would ur on the side of 'if you're going to do it then do it as safely as possible'. This, to me, is the most helpful and effective drug education, scare tactics are actually counter productive as they don't deal with facts, and often make drugs seem more risky, and thus appealing to teenagers.
There is a device you can buy of the internet that tests the purity of powders, I would point them in that direction if you think they are likely to take them again. Also remind them that sipping water is better than guzzling, don't mix with alcohol or other substances, and stay with friends you trust. Call an ambulance or first aider at the first sign of a bad reaction (do NOT worry about repreussions or being in trouble, as safety is the most important thing). Also only take a tiny amount for the first half hour, as its hard to tell the strength or how you will react, avoid taking a large quantity in one go, rather if you are going to do it take tiny bits at a time. Do not go to sleep within the first few hours of consuming the drug unless someone is looking out for you, as it can be harder to tell if you are having a bad reaction.
I know you don't want to think about them doing it again, and I'm sure after a scare like that they won't. The advice above is really a last measure, to make sure if they are going to do it they stay as safe as possible.
Thank you for the practical advice, bigjimsdiamondmine. We are all still reeling from the trauma of what happened, and how it could have gone horribly wrong. Having never dabbled in drugs myself, apart from a few tokes on a soggy spliff at parties in my 20s, I am completely at sea about how to deal with this calmly and sensibly. Do you think I should contact the Sixth Form, without pointing any finger of blame, and suggest that they invite in a drugs awareness specialist to talk to the kids (for that is what they are even if they look like young adults)? What I wouldn't want to start is a witch hunt! The other thing is that I haven't told my husband. He was away at the weekend and didn't return until Monday morning. If he found out the girls had been messing with drugs he would hit the roof. Again, like me, he's of the generation of parents who were teens in the mid-80s, when the strongest drug we had access to was cider! But he has a distant cousin who died from a drugs overdose only last year so if he thought his dd was up to this mischief he would ground her till Year 13. My greater worry is the secrets and lies that are being told, and I'm thinking back to other trips and"sleepovers" which may now have been something very different.
its so tricky, without having the experience it is understandably hard to empathize with what would drive people to experiment with drugs, risking their health, lives and everything else. I do have experience of drug use, as being of a younger generation, drugs were very prevalent when I was growing up. It seems they are eve more so now. For me it was fascination, general boredom and happiness, coupled with enjoyable and pleasurable experiences that lead me to experiment. I don't think there is anything my mum could have done to prevent it, but I have lost friends and acquaintances through drink and drug related accidents, so I'm not for one minute minimizing the dangers. It's just imperative to take an approach that will keep lines of communication open, rather than close them. If you fear that your husband will react badly and make this difficult then it is probably best not to tell him,although this will understandably be very hard.
As for the school, it depends if there is a teacher or welfare support person you tryst, and are close enough to to disclose it without them informing the whole school. You don't want your daughter to end up with a bad reputation, but there might be someone who could give some honest support to your daughter in reguard to this. If you think the school hasn't done much on drugs education generally you could suggest it without fully disclosing the reasons why. Hopefully the school will be able to give some honest advice without scare tactics, sometimes the have drugs workers or former addicts come in to talk honestly about the realities. I always feel this is more effective than a police officer or teacher as they can be honest about the good, as well as the bad. Often kids dismiss drug advice on the basis of 'well that wasn't my experience so they're just saying that to scare me' etc, however, given your daughters experience of drugs being so bad hopefully she will be steering clear anyway.
The trust thing is hard, she will have to earn it back, but given her age (did you say she was 17?) she's at the stage of learning to take responsibility for her own safety and well being. It must be hard for you, and its got to be gradual, but it's important that she understands the transition. you have been responsible for her well being, and made decisions to reflect this all her life, but now she has to realise its not a case of sneaking around behind your back to do what she wants now, she can make her own decisions, but within them she is responsible for herself. She should be able to be honest with you about where she's going and what she's doing,even if she knows you wont approve, hopefully you can give advice and encrouragment on wise decisions, rather than continuing to make rules. I hope that makes a bit of sense. If she's younger than 17, like 15 or something, then obviously that doesn't quite apply yet as you still make the rules, but at 17 it should be about discussion. The lying is probably the most worrying thing in a way, because like you said it opens up all sorts of questions about what she's been up to in the past. I suppose the most important thing is to get the bottom of why she felt she had to lie about where she was in the first place, might you have let her go, all be it with instructions yo call you in case of emergency's, give you an address etc, if she had been honest?
sorry that should say 'unhappinesses'
I think you have to tell your husband, otherwise you are colluding in the secrets and lies. This happened to your daughter and niece, there's no way it will stay a secret and he will (understandably) go through the roof if he feels you've kept it from him.
I'd tread carefully with school as this may bounce back on your DD - check their policy wrt to drugs before you do anything. I know some super-strict schools will exclude if there's proven drug taking, for eg so if you tell the school I'd expect it to go wider than your DD. Mind you, as she was actually dealt the drugs by someone in school, perhaps that wouldn't be a bad thing.
OP - you may not see it this way but you may have been lucky that something went wrong that night. Most teens won't believe in the dangers of mdma and perhaps you daughter will now ?
I found out DS had tried mdma and ketamine a few times and I was horrified. It was even worse for me when I tied to talk to him as his attitude was so different from mine and he clearly would not agree with me about the risks. He was 15. He had sneaked out to raves without me knowing. I used to hope there would be an incident that would put him off.
I did speak to school, but I'm not saying you necessarily should as all schools are different. DS attends a big city comprehensive and really nothing shocks them. They were supportive and he was able to have some sessions with the drug counsellor at my insistence.
He now says he and his mates drink, smoke weed and do nitrous oxide but he says that's where the line is drawn. He still doesn't see how anything could possibly 'go wrong 'with this behaviour at parties.
Fwiw I couldn't keep anything like this from DH.
I agree that husband needs to be told, but I'll wait for a few days and approach it with a cooler, clearer head. He needs to know anyway because he'll be wondering why I'm suddenly more strict about sleepovers and parties. We'd planned a night away together in January and were just going to leave dd at home alone with a few friends to keep her company, while her younger siblings stayed over with a friend. After last weekend's events I think we might have to knock that on the head. In the meantime though, dd and I are going around to my sister's house on Thursday for dinner, to discuss what happened all together and decide what to do from here.
Where I live in London , many teens from secure loving homes do start dabbling in drugs and copious alcohol at 13/14. Parents often refuse to believe it's happening in their naive bubble so I hope mums appreciate you warning them as its much more common than many believe. There were deaths in our community which shocked everyone but the teens keep on partying. I understand your fear about telling the school, and stigma and implications, but I also wonder if it stays a secret, might the girls be tempted again ? I just wondered if a way of trying to keep them safer might be to speak to a couple of young peoples drugs charities, and perhaps they or you could write up their experience anonymously to help others. Your story is an important one but I hope you husband sees it positively as you and they being given a second chance and the importance of teaching our kids, and hope you can work with the school to at least get some experts in, because I'm sure most of their friends parents don't believe their own kids are involved. I'm very glad they are ok.
glad they got away with it. Don't overlook the lying and the stupidity which are not negated by the near miss.
I agree - not scare tactics, facts. This crap can kill - not always, but sometimes. What a pointless way to die. Tell your daughter that you would prefer not to be attending her funeral, and so it would be better if she can find some more intelligent hobbies.
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