In the late afternoon of May 29th, 2014, I walked through the front door of our home and turned to the right to face my wife Kim. I saw a look of terror come over her face when she noticed the police officer that had walked in right behind me.   

“Chase is dead. He was killed in a wreck on I-40 this afternoon,” I told her.   

Chase was 20 years old.  He was an Eagle Scout and had attended college on a football scholarship. Chase had begun using alcohol and marijuana with some of his college friends.  That led to experimentation with other drugs like molly (MDMA). By the second semester of his freshman year, he had been kicked out of college.

Father Son Addiction

Chase’s Senior year photo from high school.

Chase had come home from college and had immediately gravitated towards a bad crowd.  Kim and I held an intervention for him in our home because we had noticed his rapid weight loss and pale skin.  We were able to get Chase into treatment in Florida. After treatment, Chase moved into a halfway house.  

After seven months in Florida, Chase moved back home and was doing much better. He got a job at a pet store and was avoiding the people who had been a bad influence in his life. After several months back home, Chase began to relapse. I had noticed subtle changes and sensed it coming on.

Chase came to me one day and told me that he had taken a job transfer to Florida. He said that he had been hanging out with a rough crowd again and the only way he knew how to cut ties with them was to relocate.  

father son addiction

A photo of Chase’s car taken seven months after the crash

The day that he was supposed to leave for Florida, Chase had allowed an 18-year-old woman who had never had a driver’s license to get behind the wheel of his car. Chase sat in the front passenger seat while another young man rode in the back. The young woman drove them right into rush-hour traffic. She lost control of Chase’s car, skidded off the road and hit a tree.  Chase was killed instantly.  It took emergency personnel almost an hour to extract the three occupants from the car.  The driver and the young man that was riding in the back seat were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.     

Police found marijuana in the purse of the driver and a THC metabolite in her bloodstream.  Seven months later, and only a few weeks prior to what would have been her first court appearance, the driver died after a fire in her apartment. She left a suicide note online.  

Advice for Parents of Drug Addicted Children

I tell this story as a cautionary tale to parents, teens and young adults. Substance abuse and addiction are something that can happen to any family, regardless of socioeconomic status.   

I have asked myself many times what I could have done to prevent what happened to Chase.  There are many things I could have done better.  I would encourage parents to do everything they can to establish meaningful relationships with their children. Each child is unique. Spend time with them doing things they enjoy.  Try to determine what methods of communication and discipline work best for each child based on their personality. Set boundaries and be firm.  Most importantly, LOVE them.  

I have now dedicated my life to speaking, writing, and filmmaking in an effort to prevent others from experiencing the kind of loss my family has suffered.  For more information about my prevention efforts, please visit my website at Speedy34.com

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