Chrysta has three daughters – and she hopes her experience with her oldest will teach everyone a lesson.
In middle school, her daughter struggled to fit in and started to experiment with drugs. After more struggles, she moved to an alternative high school, where she thrived in an environment that fit her personality.
But, a boyfriend introduced her to more drugs … and eventually heroin. After multiple attempts to get her daughter into rehab, Chrystya says she’s now living somewhere in the metro area with that boyfriend and still using heroin.
Chrysta still speaks to her daughter, but she can’t have her living at home because she is unwilling to give up the drugs. She hopes eventually she will be arrested or choose to go to rehab before heroin kills her.
She believes all the signs were there early on and hopes parents will choose to arm themselves with information.
Chrystya is not alone. Recent data shows in 2013, more than a quarter of ninth through 12th grade students in Douglas County had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more of the past 30 days.
In addition, a quarter of teens in that age group admitted to using marijuana one or more times. These statistics come from the Douglas County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
Zac Hess is the director of personalized learning with Douglas County Schools and a member of that coalition.
“Every family, every kid is at risk," Hess said. "Trying to pigeonhole, narrow down to one group, it’s not fair and it’s not accurate.”
As for Chrystya, she just saw her daughter a couple of weeks ago. She dropped by her mom's work because she needed a hug.
Here is a resource for parents: www.dougcoprevention.org.