– My name is Madison Norton,
I’m 24 years old. I’ve been sober this time
since December 9th of 2018, but I’ve been in the
Rooms of Recovery since I was 19. – My gosh, that’s so young. – (Wadie) My name is Wadie Broadus,
and I’m 61 years old. I’ve been in recovery now
for about 30 years. – Ah, my husband, 30 years.
– (Michael) I’m Michael Brown, I’m 37. I’ve been in recovery
since January 1st 2010, but I’ve been sober now
for six months. – I like this stuff,
’cause they’re sober now. – (Paul) I’ve been in recovery
probably about four or five years. – (Sharon) Sharon Weber,
62 years old. – Wow, they have such
a crazy age range. – (Sharon) Just celebrated 14 years
in August. – Could be anyone at any time. – (Kelsey) I’m Kelsey Rose,
and I am Sharon’s daughter. I actually didn’t realize that
my mom had a problem with drinking until a little bit later. My mom was room parent,
she was chaperones on field trips. – Functional. – (Kelsey) Talk about super duper mom. – (Matthew) My name is
Matthew Bautista and I’m 22 years old. Now that I’ve been sober
for three years, like man, I’m getting my life back. – Drugs are taking,
they could take your whole life. I seen it too, it was my dad. You know, he was on
that heroin for a long time. When I was a kid, coming home, seeing needles popping out
of his arms and stuff. – (Michael) My drug of choice
was meth. – Oh geez. – (Wadie) My drug of choice
was marijuana, but it soon got replaced
by acid and hashish. – (Paul) I remember getting
a prescription for some back pain. – That’s how it all starts. – (Paul) That was probably
the first time I used, and I didn’t think anything of it,
that addiction would come with it. I’ve always said I would never
be a drug addict, and here I am,
I’m addicted. – Yo poppin’ pills man,
you don’t know you can get addicted to that, but you can get
addicted to pills real quick. – (Madison) Opiates were
really my get down. – That epidemic is crazy right now. – (Madison) Being okay, like multiply
that times a million. – (Matthew) At the beginning,
the first hit man, you feel good, but then after a while,
it wears out, and then man. – It brainwashes you. – (Matthew) Your family
starts to recognize it, you’re not functioning right,
you start thinking different, and the drug starts getting to you. Next thing you know,
you haven’t slept for days. – Wow. – (Matthew) You have bags
on your eyes. You think people are after you,
and you just, drug is a lie. – Drug is a lie. – (Matthew) At the beginning,
it’s fun. – (Sharon) The first time
I took a drink, I was 14 years old.
– (gasps) 14? – (Sharon) My best friend in
high school said “I’ve got some vodka,
and let’s go up to the golf course where we grew up,
and let’s have a drink, and let’s get drunk.” – See, but that’s like so normal
like for teenagers to do. – Kids have parties all the time
and there’s drinking, as young as like middle school. – (Sharon) I took that first drink,
and I felt amazing. I really liked the way
that it made me feel. – (Wadie) The first time I started
to use drugs, I was, out with some of the friends at the… – It’s definitely the people
you hang out with. – It’s always like peer pressure.
– It is! – (Wadie) I rolled up a joint, and
smoked it in the back of the school. Later on, as I got around 19,
cocaine came into my life. – I always heard that marijuana
was a gateway drug. – (Wadie) It was the next thing
in line for getting high, and cocaine is very addictive,
and it led me down a path where I was giving up
all of my life just for that euphoric high. – (Michael) The first time I used,
I was probably 18 or 19 years old. I was at a club in West Hollywood,
and I met some people who I thought were cool,
and they had ecstasy. – Oh gosh. – (Michael) And I didn’t know
what it was, instantly, I was just in love.
– I was gonna say in love. – (Michael) Struggling, I’m gay,
I’m biracial, and I had a lot of sort of
self hate, and so, when I took that drug
for the first time, it turned all of that off. But that escalated quickly
to cocaine, and then to meth, and it was when I found meth… – Yeah, I feel like a lot of times
people are using drugs to escape from insecurities. – (Paul) My family didn’t know
that I had this addiction because you don’t smell it,
you don’t see it, you could pop a pill
and nobody would know. – Yep.
– (Paul) I felt kind of alone. In this little secret that I had,
this little addiction. – (Madison) The first time
I used drugs, I was 12. – 12! – (Madison) I was like
madly in love with at the time invited me to hang out after school
and we walked through the park and he proceeded to teach me
how to smoke weed out of a ballpoint pen.
– A ballpoint pen? – Yeah.
– (Madison) I was about 15, same boy taught me
how to smoke OxyContin. When I got high on opiates
for the first time, I didn’t have like any worries. – I have no worries,
I was in love. That’s how they’re selling it. – (Sharon) Was there a moment
I tried to quit? All the time. Especially as the negative
consequences started. This disease is so powerful
it hijacks your brain. – Hmm, true.
– (Madison) I remember the first time I got dope sick from opiates,
I was using so heavily. – Lot of people are OD-ing that one. – (Madison) I decided I wanted
to try and stop, I tried to detox myself
with like alcohol and weed, and benzos, but I found
I couldn’t stop using opiates. – (Wadie) I was tore up
from the floor up, and I was living
in the streets of Skid Row. – Hmm, Skid Row. – (Wadie) And some kids with me
told me to go into a program. I opened the book of the Bible
and started reading it. – You gotta believe in something
greater than yourself, that’s what it is.
– Some people need religion. – (Matthew) I’m cutting hair
right now, and I’m getting back enrolled
into school. – That’s great.
– Isn’t that nice? – (Matthew) If I wouldn’t have
took that path, I would’ve probably even
owned my own barber shop right now. – He still can! – (Wadie) Some of the dangerous things
that I got involved in was ripping off drugs
and guns getting involved, and fighting getting involved.
– Spirals out of control. – (Wadie) Life gets involved. – (Madison) The most dangerous
encounter I faced during my addiction was probably when
I was sharing needles on Skid Row. – Oh my…
– (Madison) Do things I’m not proud of I sucked [bleep] for heroin once. It didn’t make me feel
any type of way, I just wanted to get high. I just resigned to die,
I didn’t care. – (Sharon) Sadly, I drank and drove
all the time. I put myself, my daughters…
– And put everyone in danger. – (Sharon) Everybody in Los Angeles
at risk by drinking and driving. – (Michael) Over the years,
I’ve had 32 friends overdose and die
or kill themselves as a result of their addiction.
– 32!? – One is too many. – (Michael) And came very close
to ending my own life. I was living in a park
in San Diego. Homeless, and it was
the middle of the night and I was walking across a bridge. And I found myself standing
on the edge of it looking down. I think, fully intending to jump.
– Oh my gosh. All these people had
different points where they realized that they had a problem,
they needed to reach out for help. But before that,
it was never like, I’m not gonna rely on anyone,
and then you’re standing on a bridge about to jump off. – (Michael) Obviously, I didn’t jump. Instead what I did
was I texted a friend back in L.A. and I think probably for
the first time in my entire life, I asked for help.
– There’s always help. – These people are able to get help,
but in a lot of cases, that doesn’t happen. – (Madison) The turning point
the first time I wanted help, I was just drinking
and doing pills at the time. I was 19, and actually,
the same boy who introduced me to opiates
and who taught me to smoke weed. – Oh my gosh, she needs
to get away from this guy. – Her reason was always for a boy. – (Madison) He came to visit me,
and he had a year off heroin. That was the first time
I like wanted to get better was so that like
I could be in a relationship. – (Sharon) The turning point
was when I was sentenced for my fourth DUI. – Four!?
– Wow. – That was her turning point?
Had to come to a… – It shoulda been the first one! – (Sharon) I lost everything
that was meaningful to me in my life. My marriage, my daughters,
my career, my home, and my freedom. – (Matthew) Get around a mentor. Mentor somebody that’s
willing and open. There’s a way out. I’m here to encourage you,
there’s a way out. – Definitely.
– (Paul) Be honest with yourself. Because for a long time,
I told myself no, I’m not addicted. – I think it’s so hard
for people to ask for help because they’re so embarrassed. – (Paul) Open up to somebody
that you think could help, and really get accountability. – (Sharon) Pick up the phone,
ask for help. – Absolutely. – (Sharon) You’re gonna be amazed
what kinda life you can have. – (Madison) Keep your eyes forward.
I think for me, it was really dark
for a really long time. – Oh, she had like no childhood. She’s been doing it since she was 12. – (Michael) If you’re struggling with
addiction right now, or somebody that you know
is struggling with addiction, I want you to know that there’s hope. It’s your choice if you
wanna take the first step. – Yeah, ’cause that’s hard. Like you can’t really help anyone
who doesn’t wanna help themselves. – (Michael) I promise you,
the entire world will conspire in your favor
and meet you where you are, and you only have to do it
one day at a time. – Wow. I loved how everyone
shared their story, and it was very like uplifting
and I feel like I could send that to a family member
and be like “hey, watch this.” – We do have a family member
that’s currently in some recovery of sorts. And it’s been devastating
for our whole family. – Their family members
are impacted just as much as someone who’s addicted. – My younger brother,
now he’s about, he’s turned 40, in fact, in prison. Basically he was a personal trainer
and he hurt himself, and it started slowly with back pain,
and terrible pain management. Over time, it became
this just ramping up. You know, normal Advil doesn’t work,
then Vicodin does nothing, then now I’m into oxycodone,
and now I’m into all these, you know, hardcore opioids, and so you see this
opioid crisis going from doctor prescribed medications
to stuff right off the street. – I just think it’s great they’ve
been sober for so long, actually. – That is not easy. Back in the day,
I became addicted to Tylenol PM, and it took me six months
to get off of Tylenol PM, so I could not imagine
how hard it is to get off what they got on. – My dad, he always talks about
like how his dad was on drugs and he would come home
and see like his dad, you know, falling out on the floor
and stuff like that, and he’s like just don’t ever
get involved in drugs, ’cause that’s what it could do to you. – (FBE) So for this episode,
we are partnering with Elks Drug Awareness Program
and the DEA to help bring awareness
to this really important issue. For those who don’t know,
Elks DAP is the nation’s largest, all-volunteer drug education
and prevention program that strives to teach kids
and parents about the dangers of illegal drug use, and prevent the misuse of alcohol
and prescription drugs. We brought in teens
and their parents to discuss drug abuse,
since it’s not an individual issue as much as it is a family issue. But before we dive into questions,
what would you wanna say to the people in these videos
if you had the opportunity to talk to them in person? – One, thank you for sharing, and you know, being honest
about how bad things can get before they get better. – I’m glad they’re still here,
and I’m glad that they made it out, and I would wish them the best
in their journey. – I would honestly want to
ask them how did they get to this sobriety,
like what was their first step, so I could possibly
help people I know that are going through the same thing. – (FBE) Well we have
a rare opportunity today where you’re actually gonna
be able to speak to some of these people.
– Oh. – (FBE) Who have graciously
given us their time to have a conversation
about the journey through drug or alcohol abuse
and where they are at now in their lives, please meet
Sharon and Kelsey. – Hi guys!
– (group) Hi! – How are you?
– I want a cool hug too! (laughs) – My man, that was my man.
Nice to meet you man. – Thank you.
– Glad you made it past. – Bless you man.
– Vivica. – Congratulations.
– Aw, thank you. – Nice to meet you.
– Aw man, thank you. – (FBE) So Paul,
thank you so much for being here,
thank you for sharing your story. – Oh, you’re welcome,
you’re very welcome, yes. – (FBE) What’s it like
to sit here with him, guys? – I mean, I’m kind of inspired. To imagine where you were,
and where you are is quite amazing for me as a mom, because you think of
every kid out there, and all the struggles
they’re going through, and he’s doing it. – Being from a gang for 20 years,
drugs and gangs, it’s hand and hand. My thing was I’ll sell the drugs,
but I’ll never be an addict. – Just finally crept up on you, right?
– Yeah. – That one prescription pill.
– That’s all it took. – I felt terrible,
but I felt happy for you, so, that you’ve gotten
to this point and things are good for you. – I have a life beyond
my wildest dreams today, you know? – Right.
– And it’s crazy to think about that guy that was
in that park that night. – Well I love that you’re
also open to talk about it. – Yeah, part of what we do about
just talking about our addictions is just to address the stigma.
– Right. – Like, there is no shame
in struggling. – (FBE) We brought you
all together here to have an open conversation,
but first, we’re gonna show you a video that was made
by a high school student that won the 2018
Elks Drug Awareness Program High School Video Contest. We wanna get your thoughts
on this video’s impact. (baby cries) ♪ (upbeat music) ♪ – (mom) Hi sunshine. – Trying to hold back tears already. – You guys know
what that feels like, huh? – (laughs) Absolutely. – No one starts off, you know,
with this thought in their mind. Everyone starts with an open life
that can go anywhere. – ♪ My only sunshine ♪
♪ You make me happy ♪ – I used to sing that to you
when you were a baby. – Oh this is just,
I’m like kind of emotional. My mom used to sing me this song. – ♪ Know dear how much I love you ♪ – I have that same dress.
(both laugh) – ♪ Please don’t take ♪
♪ My sunshine away ♪ – She’s growing up.
– Too fast. – ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ – There’s her as a teenager now. – ♪ I was mistaken ♪ – Such a good relationship.
– Mm-hmm. – ♪ I held my head and I cried ♪ – That’s what it’s like,
you put on a brave face, you turn around
and everything’s so heavy. – She’s changing, huh?
– Mm-hmm. – She’s changing.
– She’s holding something back. – The mom don’t even
know what’s going on. – It’s the peer pressure.
– Parents need to be aware what their kids are doing,
I’m on Jayka like 24/7. – This is life, right? This, and I’ve been on
both end of these. I’ve snuck out of my house,
I’ve done those things. I’ve been the parent. – ♪ My sunshine away ♪ – And then the mom.
– Jesus. – Starting to realize,
catch on. – Is that supposed to be a blunt,
or a sage stick? That is huge! – ♪ I held you in my arms ♪ – I guess she’s waiting. (Jillian sighs) – That disappointment, you know?
– Mm-hmm, I know. – ♪ So I held ♪
– Yeah it’s serious now. – ♪ My head and I cried ♪
– Uh oh. – Uh oh.
– Oh. – Now she about to move on
to a different drug now. – We’re gonna smoke ’em.
– Like yo, let’s get something else. – Like I know it’s a dramatization,
but like, that’s reality, you know? – Right.
– They jump from she’s smoking weed to
she’s freebasing heroin. – Right.
– But it’s all in the context of that boy, you know?
– Mm-hmm. – It’s all in that context
of her wanting to fit in and belong.
– Social pressure. – Yeah. – ♪ And make you happy ♪ – You alright mom?
(Enza sniffs) – Literally it was from her
first high, she was throwing up. – Yeah.
– ♪ From between ♪ ♪ But if you need me ♪
– Oh God. Oh no. Ugh.
– Sometimes they don’t know how much they be taking,
you can overdose real fast. – Yeah, her friend
just walked out on her. – Yeah. – She left them right on the floor. – ♪ You are my sunshine ♪
♪ My only sunshine ♪ – This is scary. – Getting frustrated, and you know,
this really not the answer. – That’s a parent’s worst nightmare. – It tears families apart. – ♪ How much I love you ♪ ♪ Please don’t take my sunshine away ♪ – Okay, I can’t see her die.
She has to live. (monitor beeps) – That’s so scary. She’s literally so young,
like we’re the same exact age. – I just feel really guilty, I guess
about what my mom had to go through. ‘Cause like I was so oblivious,
that like my actions had any impact on anyone else,
and we were just talking the other day and she’s like you still
don’t recognize that what you do affects our family, it’s just like
a hard pill to swallow. – When I saw that mom,
and then heard the loss, it’s like it was our loss. It should not go your child
goes before you. For the rest of your life,
you’re gonna have a loss. You’re never gonna be the same. – My brother, my only sibling.
We lost him a year and a half ago. He ODed on fentanyl. I’m so glad to see Madison here,
but also it makes me think I will never see my brother again. You and your mom, I wish, I hope you guys will
reach to each other, because you need her
and I’m sure she needs you just as much as you need her. – I had the prettiest girlfriend
when I was a teenager. We were very young,
getting high led her to jump off a bridge
and kill herself as a young teenage girl,
and I can imagine how the mother feels. – (FBE) Now that you’ve seen
Madison’s story, and you have the chance
to sit here and talk with her directly,
can you start off by telling her how her story
affected you today? – Well just hearing that
the first time you tried it out was 12 years old,
I think, I was very shocked. – It just made me feel for people
that have gone through these tough times,
and they feel like they can’t talk to anybody about it,
and they have to revert to something else. – I feel proud of you.
– Thank you. – And you know, I come from
that kind of family, and I think you could be
a representation to other people that it is possible, that you
have to take it one day at a time. – Hearing your story
and being with you here today, it’s shown me like,
there’s so many different ways to get to a certain point. – We don’t talk about it
as a disease. I tell you I’m diagnosed with cancer,
and you say oh my gosh, everybody rallies around.
– Right. – You know, my mom’s an alcoholic,
well, A, let’s just start with we don’t talk about it.
– Right, right. – But B, when it comes up,
it’s just everybody has this… – It’s uncomfortable.
– This veil of shame. – (FBE) So, Matthew, obviously,
we have Vivica and Don, who’s her dad, here today. Can you tell us a little bit about
how your drug abuse affected your relationship
with your family? – My family would worry a lot. I remember my mom telling me one time
like every time I hear a helicopter I think about you,
and that always stuck to me. ‘Cause I was out there like man,
I can’t put no stress on my family. – I used to be really close
with my sisters. I have three younger sisters. I’m not allowed to
talk to them right now. It’s like a missing piece of me,
you know, like I really miss my family. – Both of my sisters
are like superheroes in my eyes. When things escalated quickly for me,
they had to set really hard boundaries and as a result,
they didn’t get to be my sisters, and I didn’t get to be
their brother for a really long time. – Blocking my mom out. I mean, we’re talking
about a 10 year period. It has, I think scarred
my relationship with my mom. – It was real selfish of me,
like okay, yeah, I’m feeling good, but you know what, I’m getting hooked
and now my wife’s gonna have to have a drug addict
for a husband, and that’s what got me
to say you know what, I gotta come forward
and tell my wife, hey look, I got a problem. – (FBE) According to the 2018
National Survey On Drug Use and Health 16.9 million Americans
age 12 and older misused prescription
psychotherapeutic drugs. Of this number, 9.9 million
misused prescription pain relievers. – Mm-hmm. – (FBE) Talking about these issues
with your parents or family members obviously plays a huge
and important role in preventing the misuse
of prescription drugs. So from your perspective
for all of you, how do you think families
should approach this conversation? – I think for teenagers, especially,
the more you tell them no, the more they want to do it, so I think you need to
more educate them rather than telling them
to not do it. – Growing up, I’d open
the medicine cabinet, and like, you don’t think about it
when you’re really young. I definitely had friends
in high school who were like what’s in your parents’
medicine cabinet? Is there anything good? – The opioid epidemic
is a serious thing, ’cause popping pills,
it’s easy to get them now, ’cause you can get
a prescription for ’em, your mom and dad might have ’em.
Everybody has ’em nowadays. – We’ve always been able
to talk about it, and it’s never been something
that was like taboo, ’cause I think that’s the fear
that some people have is if you just don’t talk about it,
they won’t know about it. – From not being open,
we learned years later, my daughter coming forward
and saying hey, you know those pills you had
in the cabinet? I was taking ’em. I felt bad, like it was my fault. You know, that we didn’t say
hey look, these are dangerous. We didn’t know how serious
prescription drugs were because we came from the street
where you just knew cocaine, meth, weed,
you know, heroin, those are the big drugs, and you’re really thinking
that these drugs, because they come from a doctor,
are not harmful. – I’ve been in situations where
there was definitely easy access. I guess I have always told you
that I don’t really think I ever want to
try any of that. Honestly, it kinda comes
from my dad, seeing him and like his choice. Ever since I was born,
he has not touched a drink and I kind of admire that. – It’s best to be open and honest, and have a chain of communication
where you can trust that you’re going to get
an open and honest answer from your parents. – (FBE) So finally,
to end this episode, what did you learn from
talking to each other here today? – I learned that as a mom,
as a parent, we need to reach out
to our kids, we need to know
what our kids are doing. – Parents gotta get involved
in your kids’ life, and do activities, take ’em out,
go out for breakfast on the weekends or something, get to know each other. – That people are struggling,
and there are people who are coming out of that struggle
and thriving. – Both of you guys
inspire and encourage me to forget my pride,
and you know what? So what about feeling ashamed
or you know, who you were or what you’ve been through.
It’s better to be open. – Oh.
– Absolutely. – And if it can spare
one of my kids’ life, why not? Like, I need to
talk about it more. – What I most learned is like
that my story can be impactful. At least it’s helping somebody. I didn’t struggle for no reason. That I can use my voice today. – I believe there’s a reason
that I’m sitting here right now, and that I have a responsibility
to tell my story. – I think you’re a pretty good
spokesman for sobriety. – Seriously!
– Or recovery. I’m sad that it all happened to you,
now now I’m glad that you’re moving forward, and things
are good for you. So hopefully that’s the way
it goes forever. – When people are in that dark place,
and you’re refusing that help. Don’t give up on them,
just kind of be there and let them know you’re there
whenever they’re ready, you’re there for them. – I think I learned
I need to be more forgiving to my family as well. Right, I hold my mom accountable
for a lot of things, and I’m very angry at my brother,
but based on your story, I think, you know,
people deserve more chances. – I like Paul. (laughs) I think Jaxon likes Paul too. – Hey guys, it’s Sierra,
Producer here at FBE. Thank you so much
for all those who shared their stories with us today and a huge thank you
to Elks and the DEA for partnering with us
on this really important episode. For more information
on this important issue, please check out the links
down in the description below. Thanks so much for watching.
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