Rehabilitated teenager now a KIDS counselor *** and *** say after they learned their 17-year-old son was hooked on drugs, it was a relief to see him leave the house. ***, now 19, left his Westside home two years ago to enter a program called KIDS of Bergen County in Hackensack, NJ. He transferred to KIDS of El Paso County Inc. in 1986 when the facility opened here. *** asked his parents for help after doing drugs for a year, the *** said. He was drinking alcohol and doing marijuana, cocaine, LSD and a drug called "ecstasy," his parents said. Living with a child who was hooked on drugs was devastating, they said. The love they felt for their son quickly turned to hatred. ***, 49, said there were times she wished he would disappear. The boy's 58-year-old father said he felt anger and rage toward his son. "He made me feel guilty and inadequate as a parent. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me," he said. *** detached himself from his family. His grades took a dive, and he started staying out late. "We felt like we were always talking to the back of his head. He was always leaving," his father said. "He was a failure in all fields. He gave up tennis and his old friends” *** added "At 3:30 in the morning, I would throw a robe or a jacket on cold days, over my nightgown and go out driving around looking for ***. "We never knew where he was or who he was with. I was always worried thinking he could get in an accident. Today, two years and almost $40,000 later, *** is off drugs and back at Coronado High School. After school he helps troubled youths by working as a peer counselor at KIDS of El Paso. "We did it because we loved him," the *** said when asked if $40,000 was a lot to pay to keep their son in the program. The family paid a one-time fee of $6,000 for the 17 months their son was in the program. The rest of the money was spent on airfare to New Jersey, hotels and meals. After *** reached the second phase of the program, hi mother had to move to New Jersey and rent a house that would later become a host home to other teens in the program. "He didn't want to go at the beginning, but at the end he thanked us," the teenager's father said. Today, two years and almost $40,000 later, *** is off drugs and back at Coronado High School. After school, he helps troubled youths by working as a peer counselor at KIDS of El Paso. "We did it because we loved him," the *** said when asked if $40,000 was a lot to pay to keep their son in the program.
FIVE PHASE PROGRAM
- KIDS of El Paso County Inc. is a five-phase program for adolescents ages 12 through 21 with drug or alcohol problems, eating disorders or behavioral problems.
- THE PROGRAM'S strong-arm methods of rehabilitation have spurred controversy.
- PROGRAM DIRECTORS claim a 78 percent to 87 percent success rate.