The Future?

Robby Andrew gazing in distance



Quick Links:

------National Helpline------    800-662-4357 (help)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services 

Suboxone™ helpline 877-782-6966 (877 Suboxone)

Opioid overdose signs

Call 911

Falling asleep or loss of consciousness, limp body

Unusual snoring

Slow, shallow breathing

Choking or gurgling sounds

Small,constricted pupils

Pale, blue, or cold skin

   Source: CDC website:


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Questionaires for selecting:



-Detox / Rehab Center

Parent self-assessment for:

-Early Intervention Prevention

-Addiction IQ / Actions taken


Proactive Groups

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP)
Andrew Kolodny, MD

Executive Director


Advocates for Opioid Recovery

Evidence-based interventions and medication-assisted treatment. Excellent summary and advocacy. Founders: Patrick Kennedy,
Newt Gingrich,
and Van Jones

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     Drugs Discovered      Worried        Home Turmoil       Puzzled? What to do?   Get Educated, Actions taken

Welcome to the Learning Center.

School House Clipart

This Learning Center is designed for parents of children addicted to opioids.

Parents must first get quickly educated with essential knowledge about opioid addiction. I will discuss some immediate action steps to take. Every adult child has a unique set of circumstances, environment, personality, and health background to consider. So although there is no one set of actions that I am aware of that guarantees sobriety, there are some generally important steps that should be discussed. Listed below are ten essential steps that parents should understand about the opioid addiction epidemic and its causes. Further down this page, I list several parental lessons learned and what to do. Much of what I learned was during my son's six-year opioid substance use disorder.   

Ten Action Steps for Parents of Opioid-Addicted Children         

Video - Step 1
(all browsers but Safari) or try Video - Step 1 (Vimeo)
(Videos Steps 2-10 in production)
1. a. Drug Testing: Parents can have an addiction specialist conduct a drug test. If this is not possible or if the loved one refuses, parents can buy a drug test kit at the pharmacy and administer it themselves. Depending on what drug(s) they are taking will determine the action steps and treatments needed.
I recommend buying the maximum number of tests for a drug kit.
Most common but not all drugs are included in these test kits.

Walgreens Link
CVS Link
Walmart Link

  b. Confession: Adult children must acknowledge and admit that they have a drug addiction problem. If they refuse to take the test or deny they have a drug problem, it will be more difficult for them to accept treatment and help.

2. Knowledge Acquisition: Parents should read lots of addiction literature and talk to addiction professionals. I have listed several good websites to acquire essential knowledge in the left column and under the resources tab above. Parents can explore the options and learn about enabling behavior versus the tough love spectrum. I believe either extreme in this spectrum is not helpful.

3. Get Professional help: An addiction physician and counselor should be chosen, an assessment conducted, and boundaries defined. I have created some free downloadable questionaires for you to use when researching and interviewing a physician, counselor or rehab facility. Links are on the left side area.

4. Take Action: Parents may prepare for and then have a professional intervention conducted. The goal is to obtain a commitment from their loved one to take immediate action steps such as detox and rehab. Many rehabs can help conduct an intervention if needed. Here is a company that conducts interventions in Florida. They have a helpline: (561) 203-4106
A very good overview of interventions defined and process can be found here. Immediate actions following the intervention such as detox then rehab are recommended. 

5. Medically Assisted Evidence-Based Treatment: Appropriate therapuetic medication should be obtained such as: Buprenorphine,™brand name Suboxone™, Naltrexone™ brand name Vivitrol,™ Probuphine,™ or Naloxone™ brand name Narcan™. Some of these are time released lasting 30 days or 6 months when they are non-compliant or inconsistent in taking the medication. Some county jails administer time release versions for willing individuals upon their being released. Ask your physician specializing in addiction about the pros and cons, side effects and which medication is most appropriate for your adult child’s situation.

Not all physicians prescribe these medications. Each of them except Narcan, contain a small amount of opioid. This is necessary to attach to the opioid receptors in the brain. This typcially reduces the urge to use to satisfy the otherwise insatiable cravings which lead to certain relapse. They are not a cure, just a stop gap to buy some clean time and allow for other therapeutic measures. There are unproven substances that some individuals resort to trying but their efficacy have not been studied enough or at all. Here is a link to locate a physician that is listed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as being able to prescribe these medications.

Naloxone HCI™ (Narcan) is primarily used in opioid overdose situations by paramedics and emergency rooms. In Florida and some other states you can purchase without a prescription. If you are a caretaker or someone that might need it for a friend, when I checked my local CVS pharmacy, they had it in a nasal spray format for a little over $100. Although paramedics and emergency rooms have a stronger, faster acting shot form of Narcan, the over the counter version might be life-saving if 911 is not called for fear of being arrested, or if person is on the verge of death due to opioid overdose, or if individual is located in a rural area where emergency response times are slower. Talk to your doctor about its use.

6. Enter a Detox Unit: A public or private detox unit can be located, followed by admission. Buprenorphine™ can lessen the awful withdrawal symptoms. Locator by State or county

7. Rehabilitation Facility: A parent should help identify an inpatient rehab facility for their loved one to be admitted to for a period of
6-12 months. Locator by State or county This may not be realistic for many addicts, but I believe it is necessary. Outpatient treatment is a secondary choice. Counseling and supportive services such as behavior therapy are typcially necessary and included.

8. Support System and Accountability: A strong support system upon a rehab facility discharge should be established. New friends and a new environment are needed. A sponsor or someone that can maintain an accountable sober-promoting relationship is needed. NA™ NA website or AA™ AA website meetings can be useful to many addicts. These types of regular meetings can provide accountability and encouragement for many, assisting in the quest for sobriety.

There are two cautionary lessons that I learned about when individuals with opioid addiction gather at a sobriety meeting. With so many similar stuggling individuals gather in one place, a few of the participants may give in to temptation and relapse. Others may find these meetings to be a lifeline for them. It has been expressed by some people that the 12 step programs are not as effective for opioid addicted individuals since their brain chemistry has been changed. I have not heard this comment about other non-opioid drugs. Do your own research and determine if these programs are effective for your adult child.

9. Rebound from Relapse: Vigilance after a relapse is important. Encourage a loved one to guard against losing any sober time gained.

10. Hope and Endurance: Never give up hope or on going efforts to become sober despite relapses. Repeat these steps as needed. These steps may not apply to everyone but allow a glimpse into a possible roadmap to regain sobriety.


Parents For Opioid-Free Children”:   
A Parent’s Story and Guide to Options, Solutions, Staying Sober, Resources, Lessons Learned and What to Do.

Below are some excerpts from my upcoming book.

Defining the Epidemic:

1. Drug overdoses are now the number one cause of death of young people in the United States.

2. Prescription opioids, heroin, and heroin laced with Fentanyl or Carfentanyl are rapidly escalating overdose deaths. Codeine and Hydrocodone are two narcotics widely prescribed opioids to treat pain. Ask your physician if what they are prescribing to you or your child has any opioid ingredients in it making it a potential additive narcotic medication.

Opioids still have legitimate use for terminal end-stage cancer and for brief use with acute injuries or accidents that result in intense pain. Patients requiring dental procedures such as wisdom teeth extractions should be presribed non-narcotic medications for pain management.

3. Preventing the flow of dangerous drugs entering the United States such as synthetic Fentanyl and cocaine, continues to be been ineffective.

4. Deadly synthetic opioids are easy to obtain, cheap to purchase, easy to smuggle, resulting in maximized dealer profits. This needs to change.

5. The staffing, funding, and resources at the DEA and other similar state and local drug enforcement agencies is insufficient.

6. Drug treatment options such as detox, evidence-based medication therapies, and residential rehab are unaffordable.

7. Many addicts have no insurance or a benefit in Medicaid that would fund treatment; this perpetuates on going addictions and leads to an increased number of overdose deaths.

8. There are limited science based drug education programs that could expose and debunk unhelpful myths about the etiology of addiction. This widespread misperception views addiction as a moral weakness instead of a disease that requires medication, detox and rehab treatment. Consequently a hands off approach such as tough love often ignores and delays the necessary evidence based treatment.

9. There is not enough substance use disorder education to warn our children about the new more potent version of heroin that is now even more deadly since it is now laced with synthetic Fentanyl.     

10. There exisits widespread parental ignorance as to evidence- based opioid medication therapy such as Buprenorphine™, Probuphine™, and Naloxone™. There are some unconventional treatments not approved by the FDA that are being explored by some families despite little to no scientific studies being conducted.     


1. Genetic predisposition

2. A dual diagnosis such as depression or bipolar disorder that is not identified early on

3. Undiagnosed mental illness that can lead to self-medicating behavior

4. Prescribed opioid medications for injuries or surgery that are taken for more than a brief time - Florida recently passed a law limiting opioid prescriptions to a 3 to 7 day limit for acute pain.

5. A poor initial decision to begin using drugs based on the peer pressure of trying to fit in with a group

6. Teens who are isolated, or feel unloved, and who are without guidance or discipline are all at high risk.

7. An environment with insufficient encouragement and emotional support that is not conducive to staying sober

8. Growing up around a drug-filled neighborhood or environment without redirection to a healthy setting

9. Not receiving education on the dangers of addiction and overdose, especially the more deadly opoiods laced with Fentanyl.

10. Naive young adults believing the lie that becoming a drug dealer allows them to become cool, powerful, and instantly rich.

11. Sometimes being in the wrong place, wrong time, wrong situation, and making the wrong decision, can be the start of a drug addiction.

12. A newcomer to drugs can become quickly addicted. This deadly addiction impacts the rich, poor, educated, uneducated, and all genders, ethinicities and races. It influences every child even when good parenting is practised.

I realize that some parents will not be able to read my entire book since leisure time has become nonexistent and life has been placed on hold. This website includes key points in the book for parents pressed for time. The site should also help determine whether purchasing it will be of further assistance. I wholeheartedly think it will be of benefit. But for many this site may contain enough information without obtaining the book. Both website and book will enable parents to become educated and empowered. Both will offer firsthand insight from a parent’s perspective on the fight against drug addiction, now known as substance-use disorder.

The material for this website and book was derived from the experience and knowledge I acquired while dealing with my son’s six-year battle with substance abuse. I am not an addiction professional or a trained authoritative expert in the field. However, I do feel as though I have obtained an insightful understanding about addiction over the years. But since this is a layman’s account and not considered as professional advice, parents should consult with an addiction specialist.

In addition, it would be prudent to consult a doctor, lawyer, counselor, affected family members, and a spiritual advisor prior to utilizing any material contained in this website and in my book. Every situation is unique and can result in a variety of outcomes. Although general principles such as getting detoxed can apply to most, there is no equation to become sober that applies to everyone.

This timely material will help parents anticipate and better plan for the unexpected surprises that will likely occur. Unfortunately for me, I had to learn most of this information over the years through unending hours of research and trial-and-error experiences.

My ultimate wish is that parents become educated about addiction early on with this information. It can provide a big picture with a road map identifying some possible exits from addiction. I hope my son’s story, my experiences, and my recommendations can be instrumental in easing debilitating stress and avoiding some costly mistakes. So here is a brief summary of the upcoming book’s highlights that I wanted to immediately share with everyone.

Dealing with opioid addiction summary points in the book include:

1. Parents must prepare for their otherwise peaceful lives to suddenly becoming chaotic, topsy-turvy, and forced into high gear.

2. As much as possible, parents need to remain the strong one, to maintain their normal routines and stay calm; they must exhibit exceptional patience and strength.

3. Early addiction signs and symptoms must be recognized and taken seriously, since delay in action can result in death.

4. Be able to identify what substance is being abused and how to test for it.

5. Sometimes hitting rock bottom may be necessary for some individuals to admit their problem and sincerely commit to sobriety.

6. Numerous choices and decisions will be required, but who should be doing what?

7. The questions of What, Why, When, Where, How need to be addressed, but will the answers lead to sobriety?

8. Sometimes the best intentions can lead to codependence and enabling behaviors, but tough love can be risky too.

9. Options and possible solutions are discussed for your consideration.  

10. The process of various interventions are explained as to when they should be utilized and how they can help.

11. Medical and drug assessments can reveal any mental illness and identify the type of substance being abused.

12. Detox is not optional, but an essential next step towards purging much of a drug’s controlling effects on the body.

13. A variety of evidence-based medication therapies are available for many substance use disorders.

14. There are several substance use disorder recovery philosophies and approaches to be considered.

15. Different rehab centers vary widely in philosophy, programs, and cost. They should be thoroughly researched, called, and, if possible, visited.

16. Abstinence strategies on how to stay sober must be discussed.

17. It is necessary to remain focused on addiction-related issues and challenges while simultaneously researching sustainable options.

18. Families need to stay united in family decisions and actions that impact an addicted loved one.

19. Parents of individuals with substance use disorder often fear what other people think, and therefore do not seek out help from others. But it is best to put pride aside and reach out to a trusted friend of family member for help.

20. Parents should call upon their inner strength to activate this necessary coping mechanism as stressful events become overwhelming.

21. As parents of addicted children, we can’t neglect our own needs (such as  eating, resting, and receiving support and counseling) and still be at our best to help our loved ones.

22. There are no guaranteed results or outcomes no matter how much energy, effort, or money is put into various interventions and treatments.

23. Verbal confession of addiction, a vow of sobriety, and specific daily actions are pivotal to an addict’s progressive success.

24. Although there are numerous addiction journeys with tragic endings, thankfully, many success stories also exist.

25. The judgment of people suffering from addiction is based upon ignorance. Instead, it is important to understand and think about the influence of genetics, mental illness, and drug-induced brain chemistry.

26. Since overdose, prison, or institutionalization are preventable, parents need to remain laser-focused on encouraging actions toward sobriety.

27. Hitting bottom could take weeks or even decades. Going to jail or being hospitalized for an overdose may foster it sooner.

Remember not to give up, ask questions from the professionals
knowing that every situation is unique in some way. This site's
contents contains much of what I have learned over the years.
You may or may not agree with everything so do the research.
I do hope you have learned some beneficial information.