Rachel used to be my closest friend, but things have changed a lot recently and I don’t know how to deal with it. She and I are both in the same eleventh grade class at school. Our families have been friends since before we were born! Rachel and I used to hang out together at school, after school, and on the weekends. In fact, we would talk on the phone a lot when we weren’t together. It’s like we were so close we could have been sisters.
Lately, though, things have been very different. Rachel seems withdrawn and hardly talks to me, even when we are together. She used to be such fun to be around, always making jokes and laughing. Now she seems so serious all the time, even a little depressed I’d say, and very moody. She was a straight A student and talked about going to college to study Psychology.
Now she doesn’t do her homework or hand in assignments, and her grades have slipped. The scary part is that she doesn’t even seem to care! Recently Rachel started going steady with a new boyfriend. He’s finished school already and there are all kinds of rumors around that he does drugs. I wonder if Rachel is doing drugs also? I wish I knew what to do.
This is a true story. The name Rachel is not her real name, but the story is very real, and unfortunately quite common. Rachel’s friend has just described some of the signs of substance abuse. It is most likely that Rachel is abusing drugs, having been pressurized by her new boyfriend. Perhaps she was afraid to lose him if she didn’t go along with him.
Rachel comes from a stable family and both her parents are professionals. She lives in a nice home, attends a private school, and seems to have everything a teenager could wish for. She doesn’t seem the type to do drugs, or seem to have been “at risk”. Drugs don’t discriminate! It can happen to anyone. It can be very difficult to know what to do if you see this happening to your friend.
Not all endings are the same. What happened in this case is that Rachel’s friend told her parents what her fears were, and her mom then called Rachel’s mom. At first Rachel’s mom was angry with her friend. She thought it may have been motivated by jealousy. Rachel’s mom didn’t want to believe what she heard so she got angry with Rachel’s friend and her mom instead, and stopped speaking to them completely. It spoiled the friendship between the two families.
The change in Rachel’s behavior and personality soon became so severe that her mom had to admit that there was a real problem here, and sought help. Rachel is in recovery now. It’s not over yet, and there are no guarantees, but there is a lot of hope and support for Rachel. It is up to her now.