Drug story gets it right

Thank you for writing your article titled “Heroin use on the rise in local high schools.” You got the story right ... this is exactly what we see in our substance use treatment program.

As as a resident in Carmel Valley for the past 25 years and parent of a 19-year-old who has seen her friends die, get into treatment or continue to use drugs, I would like for all families to know the truth about alcohol and drugs. I am a therapist and co-owner of an alcohol and drug treatment program in Sorrento Valley and for the past several years, treating teens over 18 and adults. I applaud you for bringing more attention to this growing problem.

We see the patterns of use exactly as you describe and as these kids get into their 20s it is so much more difficult for them to get off and stay off of the drugs, let along have the esteem and peer network to begin a road of recovery. Their families need help to save these kids.

We decided in 2010 to develop a teen curriculum based on the latest evidence based approach to help the younger teens in our community, and we have recently opened two types of adolescent programs. One program, is a six-session Early Intervention Program (ages 12-17) for substance users who are not yet addicted and their parents. The other, an Intensive Outpatient Program (ages 13-17), is eight weeks, and is for teens who have been assessed to meet criteria for substance dependence. Both programs include family education.

Thank you again for the work you put into this article. These young beautiful children are worth every effort.

Judy A. Saalinger,


Executive director

Lasting Recovery

San Diego