Sam has been listening to the conversation backstage. He now joins his parents and Dr. Phil in the studio.
Turning to the teen, Dr. Phil says in mock disbelief, "What are you thinking, boy?"
"I really wasn't thinking," Sam replies.
"So you actually got to the point where you were smoking some dope, right?"
"What was your goal in smoking that dope?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"I just thought it was cool and what other people were doing."
"What did you think about snorting this candy in your nose?" [AD]
"I didn't think it was a big deal at all," Sam says, admitting that he didn't get a high from the sugary stuff.
"How did you know to â€˜snort' candy? Do you know what cocaine is?"
"So you set it up just like cocaine, didn't you?"
Dr. Phil introduces pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears, co-host of the hit show The Doctors. "First up, let's talk about smoking the candy. What's up with inhaling this into your lungs?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Kids will do this because they think it's harmless; it's not smoke. You don't get a buzz from it, you don't get high, but inhaling this powder can actually be worse than smoking cigarettes," Dr. Sears explains. "It gets into your airways, it can cause irritation, it can cause infections."
"How about actually snorting powdered drink mix up your nose?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"This is even crazier. It's kind of mimicking cocaine, and it stings. It irritates the nasal lining," Dr. Sears replies.
Dr. Phil turns to Sam. "Did it sting?"
"Yes, sir," the boy replies with a sheepish grin.
"How stupid did you feel when you did that?" [AD]
"Then you had a sticky, purplish mucous coming out for the next couple of days, right?" Dr. Sears continues. He rattles off more disturbing information. "It's been shown that maggots can actually infest and can feed on sugar that's stuck in the nasal passageways."
Sam closes his eyes and shakes his head.
"That sounds cool to me," Dr. Phil quips. "That'll set the girls afire."
Sobering, Dr. Phil faces the teen. "Do you want to experience being high?" he asks.
"I did before, but, like, after seeing all the consequences I got, it wasn't even worth it," Sam responds.
"What if you get back to school and your buddies are saying, â€˜Hey, we got some alcohol over here at my friend's house. Let's spend the night, and we'll do some drinking'?"
Sam pauses. "I might," he says.
"Do you have the power or the desire to say no?"
"So what's in your future? If you get a chance to get drunk, are you going to take it?"
"If you get a chance to smoke dope, would you take it?"
Dr. Phil turns to the boy's parents. "What do you know now that you didn't know five minutes ago?" he asks.
"This has been my concern: that he doesn't have the power to say no. I've been seeing things, off and on, for the past two years. What started in attitude moved into behavior," Maureen says. "That's why I wrote, because I don't know what else to do."
"We've taken his cell phone away. Do we keep him off the Internet? Do we lock him in his room until he's 18 or 21?" Tim asks. "For my brother, he made decisions all the way until he died at 52. I refuse to allow that for my son."
Dr. Phil says that Sam faces two serious choices. "One is we can decide you are in the early phases of drug abuse that can ruin your life, and we need to put you somewhere that you can learn about that and deal with that. Or we can deal with this within your family, where you do some educating of yourself, you talk to some people that we can put you in touch with," he says. "Do you trust yourself enough to do this at home with some help, or do you need to be somewhere where you can't make a bad decision."
Sam falters, tears streaming down his face. "Honestly, probably somewhere where I can't make a bad decision," he replies.
"You think you're on the cusp? You think you're about to do something stupid?" Dr. Phil probes.
"If not now, later," Sam says. "Yes, sir." [AD]
Dr. Phil turns to the teen's parents. "Do you hear what he's saying?" he asks. "This is a very courageous young man who is telling us things that are hard for him to say."
"That's tough for me, because I want to raise that boy. I don't want to ship him off somewhere. I want to raise him," Tim says.
"A short timeout could make a whole lot of difference in the future," Dr. Phil says.
Tim struggles to speak, his eyes glistening with tears. "Why it's so hard is I pray for my family every day. I pray for that boy every day and our girls. Other than these few instances, meet him outside this studio, meet him outside this show, honestly, this may be biased or whatever, [he's] one of the finest young men you've ever met," he tells Dr. Phil.
"He's one of the finest young men I've ever met sitting here in the studio," Dr. Phil agrees. "I am so impressed with the courage of this young man to give honest answers. What I hear him saying is, â€˜I know things about me that y'all don't know, and I don't trust me to make the right decisions in the short-term.'" [AD]
"What do we do? Do we take his cell phone away? Do you keep him off of Facebook? Do you lock him away from his friends?" Tim inquires.
"You educate him," Dr. Phil says simply. "Maybe he needs to be somewhere for a month or so where he gets intense education about things."
Dr. Phil says he will meet with the family backstage to discuss a game plan for Sam. He reaches over to shake the young man's hand. "I'm proud of you," he says.