Parents and the teenage drug dealer

I sympathize with parents who have a child on drugs. I’m thinking not so much about the child who’s doing fine in school, or has ambition and is moving forward. I’m thinking more about the kid who isn’t, who’s discovered a rut of drugs and complacency and nothing but drugs and instant gratification. I’m thinking the two are mutually exclusive, but that may be my prejudice.

It’s one thing to indulge that child, and quite another to endanger everyone else’s.

Maybe the parents think that drug use is okay. Maybe it’s cute, or harmless. Maybe it reminds them of their youthful experimentation. I’m not sure those parents are in touch with today’s controlled substance options.

I wish all parents could attend just one Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting to hear about what addicts these days are up against. Hear how drugs destroy families, or preoccupy lives or derail ambitions or usurp the joy to be found in just everyday things. Sometimes the chemistry of addiction overtakes a person’s every daily thought until they die.

It’s not simply pot, mushrooms and cocaine nowadays. Today there are all variations of meth, crack, heroin, ecstasy and speed in deadly combinations. Pot heads may argue that they only abuse pot, but marijuana today is laced with any of the above ingredients as fortifiers. The old pot high may still satisfy That 70’s Show, but kids today expect a more potent hit.

But to discuss the issue of dealing. Maybe some parents are proud of their child’s entrepreneurial initiative. Maybe they see it as making the best of an otherwise unprofitable fixation.

Maybe it’s like being the parent of a bully. The problem is not my bully, the self-assertive domineering chip-off-the-old-block, the problem is that the other kids are submissive and lesser and thus deserving. It’s survival of the fit, of my DNA. Maybe parenting a drug dealer is like that. The problem is not the dealing, we think, it’s the other kids who need the drugs and can’t arrange clever dealing setups like my kid.

What’s a parent to do? Call the cops on their own kid? Jeopardize the child’s academic career, give him a criminal record to haunt him until always? That would be my argument to call the cops before he turns 18, so his record as a minor will be expunged. Otherwise, the option certainly does seem extreme.

On the other hand, to do nothing is off-the-chart selfish. Selfish. Your kid is not dealing to 30 year-old opium addicts in the big city. Your kid is dealing in school! High school, junior high, grade school, wherever. Your kid is turning dozens if not hundreds of other kids onto drugs. Many of whom will follow his sorry footsteps and cause anguish for their parents. Were you feeling lonesome in your anguish? How thoughtful of you to share your bad parenting.

If you’ve set your kid up in his own unsupervised apartment, you’ve given your neighborhood a drug den. A place for other kids to hide and get into trouble. I’ve seen how accounting for a kid’s time works, you’re diligent, you expect other parents to be diligent, thus supervision for every kid’s activities is accounted for. Enabling a drug den is worse than going on vacation and not telling your friends that your house or child will be unsupervised. You’ve created a full time unchaperoned oasis. Did you have that as a child?

If your drug dealer begins to report vandalism to his car or house, which he says can only be random, you’ve got a whole lot of possible suspects. It could be the neighbors who resent living next to a house from which carloads of kids come and go at all hours of the night. It could be an angry parent who’s caught their child there. It could be rival students who resent the drug-dealer swagger that interrupts the otherwise traditional jock-based hierarchy of a school class. But clearly someone wants your child to move. I say move him!

It could be a rival drug dealer who’s been pushed out, or who’s trying to push in to the territory. The territories being the schools remember, however many schools are involved. It could be a distributor to whom your child passes money. Or fails to pass money. This isn’t Weeds where all the money changing, if terse, is convivial.

Is it going to take a panicked phone call in the middle of the night to convince you? A call from your child dealer asking you for $6K as soon as the bank opens to pay off some goons who will otherwise kill him, because the money’s gone lost, or there’s some misunderstanding, but “trust me, these guys won’t listen to reason.”

I don’t think it’s such an unselfish thing to ask of a parent, to keep a child clean, and to do their part to keep drug dealers out of the neighborhood. If you’ve got more children coming up for example, it’s not unselfish at all. Or if you think of your children’s friends as your children, as precious and delicate as your own.

Are you really thinking, if my child doesn’t deal it, somebody else will? Well social responsibility really doesn’t work that way. Yes somebody else will. Let it haunt their conscience.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to Parents and the teenage drug dealer

  1. Avatar Karin says:

    Are you basing this essay on an actual incident of a drug-dealing child whose parents looked the other way or were proud of his/her initiative? It seems rather far-fetched and maudlin to me. More likely that a drug-dealer’s parents are not closely involved with his/her life and don’t care much what he/she does.

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