Cody Lacks Outlets for Substance Abusing Teens

Drug and alcohol abuse have been an issue with teens since the beginning of high school. From hearing your parents talk about smoking in the bathroom, to now, hearing about vaping in the bathroom, teens, both past and present, haven’t stopped, using and abusing drugs. Does Cody have the proper resources for teens to treat their issues? And does Cody understand the seriousness of teen addiction?

Recently, a teen attending Cody High School was arrested for having several hard drugs in his possession. This brings up several questions for CHS, but according to the school psychologist, Dr. Cossaboon, CHS has as much of a drug problem as any High School.

The issue, according to Cossaboon, isn’t just drugs, but the lack of facilities Cody has for teens looking to get off drugs.

“They’re using drugs and it fixes temporarily fixes the issue. It helps them escape or feel better, and get over depression, anxiety, trauma, or whatever and it works the short term very effectively long term you get addicted which gets serious,” Dr. Cossaboon said.

According to Cossaboon, the research is still out, on if prolonged substance abuse, specifically in marijuana use, effects your brain in the long run. With Methamphetamines (Meth), Phencyclidine (PCP), heroin, and other hard drugs they are easier to get addicted to and affect your brain highly in the long term.

Cossaboon provided insight that a residential drug treatment center, specifically for teens, will be opening soon in the Cody area.

“If you are abusing drugs and have a problem at the level that needs inpatient treatment, you have to go other places in the state and sometimes out of the state to get proper treatment, which is very bad,” said Cossaboon.

While Cody is losing options for substance abusing teens, there are still a few limited options. Recommended by Dr. Cossaboon, West Park Behavioral Health has a counselor with specific training in substance abuse, and there’s SOAR Counseling Services as well.

The high school’s Change Attitudes Now (CAN) program is looking into getting a counselor for teens struggling specifically with substance abuse issues. They never looked into it before due to the district always covering it, now this isn’t the case. Assistant Superintendent Tim Foley confirmed the counselor was let go due to budget cuts. He said he’s unsure of the future of the position, but most likely it will be filled one day.

“Do not sit around and let a friend become horrible horribly addicted to drugs. Intervene. Confront it. Don’t just sit ideally by and I know we have this whole “snitching” stigma. But literally, it’s not because you could save a life. We’ve had several accidental overdoses where the person did not die but they sure could have. In some cases, it’s not just having fun. If the pattern eventually continues, it becomes a serious addiction and it’s a situation of life and death. I don’t think kids get that. And we’ve just been lucky because it could have happened here recently,” said Cossaboon.

Nic Sheff, author, alcoholic and Meth addict, started using marijuana regularly at 12. He then tried and used almost every other drug until at 17 when he started using Methamphetamines. His ten-year stint of recovery and relapse is now a movie, that came out last year, “Beautiful Boy.” He’s been clean now for eight years. In a National Public Radio (NPR) interview from 2008 conducted by Terry Gross. Sheff gives insight to his mindset while using.

“Well, I guess – I mean, part of it, again, is that I think that killing myself was OK with me. You know, I mean, I sort of knew that that was what I was doing. And I was sort of resigned to that. And also, you know, I guess there’s a point where you feel like you’ve gone so far down that building your life back after, you know, having let everyone down again and having, you know, disappointed people and, you know, overdrawn your bank account and lost your cell phone and lost your job and, you know, lost your car – I mean, it just feels like at certain points, like, to just start over and to try to rebuild my whole life again is just too much. And so, you know, I might as well just ride this out till the end and just, you know, see it through until – yeah, until I do die.”

This transcript from his interview shows the dangers of getting addicted. It is extremely catastrophic and a difficult mental illness to overcome.

There are levels to drug and alcohol use. There are different types of drug users. Those that use drugs recreationally in social situations and those that use drugs every day and become addicts. You try it once, then start using it regularly, and then you have the risk of becoming addicted. The complex issue of drug use becomes a mental health concern. Teens turn to drugs when they are not given the proper outlets in understanding their stresses and anxieties.

Cody has a drug issue, but more pressing is the issue with outlets for teens to constructively get through traumas.