Dr. Phil follows up with Brandon and his family on the dramatic journey from drug addiction to recovery.Hoping to have his addiction be a lesson to other families, Brandon shares his story. As cameras follow Brandon, he reveals information parents should know about their children and drug addiction.
"Hi, I'm Brandon, and I'm a drug addict. Dr. Phil did an intervention on me and it saved my life. What I'm going to do today is share a lot of the secrets and tips parents can look for, to try to save their kids before they get to the level I was at.
"I bet you wouldn't guess a drug addict lived here either, but this is where I grew up " a nice house in a nice neighborhood.
"I started on my course with alcohol and drugs at about the age of 13. I got drunk for the first time when my parents went out of town and I decided to raid their liquor cabinet. I got into the clear liquor because that was the easiest to replace with water. Alcohol is not thought of to be a drug when it's actually one of the most harmful drugs out there. I'd been drinking four years before I ever touched marijuana. Put a lock on your liquor cabinet."
"I find that the most trusting parents are the ones who are the easiest to take advantage of. One of the ways I tricked my parents was by lying to them. I'd tell them I was going out to eat, going bowling, to a movie, but I was probably going to a five keg party and getting drunk. If I did make it home, but I didn't make it home on time for curfew, I had a load of excuses on why I didn't make it. I'd say I ran out of gas, I had to take some girl home who lived on the other side of town, there was a huge accident so the road was blocked, and many others.
"My parents have a very elaborate alarm system in their house. I was able to find a loophole in that system though, and find an escape route out of my house past curfew time. This is the window I made all my daring escapes from. My parents bought this fire escape ladder. Although we never had a fire, it got used quite often. Without it I don't think I could've sneaked out as much as I did."
"A teenager's room is probably the number one place they're hiding their drugs. Good places to look are under the mattresses, under dressers, under cabinets, or even to the back of the drawers. My favorite place was in my closet, inside pockets of clothes and jeans I never wore.
"I had several different techniques to cover up the signs I was using drugs. I pulled hats down over my eyes, I put gum in mouth to cover up my bad breath or I'd put Visine in my eyes to take away the redness completely. When I'd come home my parents would try to talk to me and I would avoid conversation by giving them short yes or no answers.
"The first time I smoked weed, I was 16 years old. Since everybody else smoked it, there was no real harm in me trying it once or twice, so I did. By the time I was 18, I found myself smoking and drinking on a daily basis. And that was just the beginning of things to come."
"Kids usually start by getting their drugs through their friends. As they start using more and more, they build up a network of dealers that they can get their drugs from and then they meet them at a convenient location. I'd often get my drugs in parking lots just like this: fast-food restaurants, superstores, anyplace where it wouldn't look too suspicious for me to be at. I'd probably get my drugs faster than you'd get your food. Movie theater parking lots were another place I used to make all my exchanges. Gas station parking lots were also a good place for me to come pick up drugs.
"I used to skip school a lot to go get high. I found myself missing school in the middle of the day. I'd be late to school, sometimes I'd leave school early. Sometimes I wouldn't go to school at all. It was really easy to get away with this because all I had to do was write a note from my mom, or steal passes from the office, fill them out and turn them back in. I found myself getting away with a lot more than I ever thought I would." "A lot of parents want to know where I got the money to buy my drugs. My parents would give me money to go buy clothes, go out to eat at nice restaurants and I would just save the money, wouldn't buy any clothes or go out to eat anywhere nice and I'd just spend it on drugs.
"Parents, if you're suspicious about your kids messing around with drugs, the first place you might want to look is in their vehicle. After a Friday or Saturday night, if they'd be smoking in their vehicle, you'd usually smell a strange odor coming out of it. Or a strange odor coming off their clothes.
"There can be little pieces of roaches, which are parts of joints that might still be in there. Look for green leaf-like particles or seeds on the floorboards or seats. Look for white pasty substances on CDs, CD cases, dashboards, pictures, mirrors, things like that that they might be doing drugs off of."
"Ask for permission to look through their pockets, purses, wallets, backpacks and if they get pissed off that you're looking through them, they probably have something to hide. Give your kids a random drug test if you're suspicious at all. Make sure it's after a weekend.
"Here's some signs that you can look for: rapid loss of weight, paleness of the skin, discoloration, dark circles under the eyes, shaky hands, dropping grades, more absences from school than you know about, sudden mood changes, rise in anger at family members.
"Parents need to know who their kid's friends are. If a child won't bring their friends over to the house to hang out with their parents and get to know them a little better, they most likely have something to hide."
"Don't get angry with what your kids come to you and tell you. Give them advice and maybe they'll make a better choice in the future. If you get angry and blow your top, they're not going to come to you next time to tell you what's going on in their life. Developing an open, strong and trusting relationship, with no judgment involved, is the best fence a parent can put around their child."