The Doctors expose why more and more teens are getting hooked on drugs. Could your kids fall victim? Learn the latest drug dangers and how to keep your family safe.
Drug addiction does not discriminate; it can happen to anyone — from kids in good families to child stars who struggle in the public eye.
Former Full House star Jodie Sweetin played a happy Stephanie Tanner on TV, but lived a life full of ugly secrets as she became a teen. "Growing up on Full House, I wasn't into my addiction at that point. It didn't happen until I was much older," says Jodie, now 28. "I started drinking when I was 13 or 14, and from the first time I drank, I was a blackout drinker. I knew at that point that that switch was on for me. I picked up my first drink, and I knew I didn't drink like other people. And it progressed from there."
Jodie moved from alcohol to hard drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamines and marijuana. "I didn't just pick one," she says. "I was an addict, and I think that it's important to remind myself I was an addict. I wasn't an addict of this particular drug, or that, because for me, I need to remember, anything for me [can be an addiction].
"Addiction does not care how smart you are, where your college degree is from or who your parents are," she continues. "It can happen to anyone. It really is a physiological response, that once you start, the phenomenon of craving starts, and you can't get enough."
Jodie, who about her struggles in UnSweetined, gave birth to daughter, Zoie, in April, 2008. And in December of that same year, she decided to finally get sober for good. "I started realizing the type of parent that I didn't want to be, and the type of mom that I wanted to be, and I couldn't reconcile the two," she says. "I couldn't be that person if I had her in my life. And in December, 2010, I will have two years clean and sober.
"I don't live my life every day terrified that I'm going to pick up a drink and going to use, but I have to remember the fear of [using]," she adds. "I have to keep it in the forefront, and that's something that you have to do every day."
Brandon, a former teen drug addict, appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil nearly seven years ago while he was still using. Once sober, he and his family started conducting interventions to help young people across the country end their cycle of drug abuse.
Brandon, sober for nearly five years, and his mother, Debbie, help Kris and her family after their drug-addicted 19-year-old daughter, Brittany, goes missing.
Following the intervention, Debbie takes Brittany to Action Family Counseling in Los Angeles for detox and rehab. She joins The Doctors eight days after entering the facility.
"I feel hopeful," Brittany says. "This will be my fifth rehab, but my last rehab."
Jodie, who went through rehab as well, offers Brittany words of encouragement. "It takes what it takes," she says. "Don't beat yourself up because this is your fifth one, or your 15 one. It takes what it takes, and this can be the last time. You don't have to do it over and over again.
"I've done it, and I know how hard it is," she continues. "Everything is not going to be fixed, but it can be, eventually."
• Tune in to the Dr. Phil show on Wednesday, November 24 to see Brandon and Debbie perform another intervention.
Drugs and Pregnancy
Substance abuse doesn't just affect the user. See the devastating consequences it can have on a pregnant mother and her yet-to-be-born child.