How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs When Everyone Is Doing Them

That’s why I created “prehab.”

If rehab is a way to recover from drug addiction, prehab is a program designed (by me, at least) to avert the whole mess in the first place. It’s like pulling a Marty McFly with your future party self, pre-empting poor decisions way before you’re drunk texting your ex and sleeping through Mondays. So I enrolled Sebastian as the test case.

Step one: not turning into my mother. I wasn’t going to storm into Sebastian’s room in riot gear or hold his eyelids open as I flashed before-and-after images of meth addicts. Tone mattered, and so did timing. I didn’t want to submit him to the claustrophobia of a car-ride disquisition on the way to school (“Hugs not drugs, kid”). So, I started the way nearly all conversations do these days between fathers and sons: with both of us on the couch, slumped over our phones.

“You know I really, really care about you, right?”

“Um, yesss,” Sebastian said, and already I was failing.

“It’s just that your choice of LSD as a science topic scared me a little and I want to make sure that you’re, you know, fine.”

Oh God, oh God, Oh God.

“I’m fine,” he said.

“Can you say what interests you about psychedelics?”

“What’s interesting is that they’re interesting.”

O.K. It was a start, and it led to step two: a quick course in drug education. Mine, not his. Sebastian told me about “this scientist guy named Albert Hofmann” who in the 1930s studied rye or, more specifically, a certain fungus that grows on rye called ergot. As I worked to restrain all muscle movements in my face, Sebastian read off his screen from his paper in progress:

“Hofmann synthesized LSD-25, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, as part of his studies and put it on a shelf for several years. Those years ended abruptly when he ingested a dose of the substance and immediately had one of the weirdest experiences of his life, saying that the devil had taken over his body.” Hofmann, incidentally, died in 2008, at age 102. What a long, strange trip it was.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/style/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-drugs-when-everyone-is-doing-them.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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