CAMAGÜEY.-This June 26th, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we share the testimony of a mother whose life was dramatically changed few months ago because she suffers the consequences of having an addicted son.

I knew her in the Homeopathy Center on the corners of Avellaneda and Pobres Streets, which is well known because it offers homeopathic and Bach flower remedies services. The consultations of the Attention to Addictions Center aimed at helping teenagers and young people are located there andthey are headed by the psychologist José Eduardo Vázquez Benítez and other specialists who work in the Mental Health Ward of the pediatric hospital Eduardo Agramonte Piña, whose chief is the psychiatrist Rubén Pérez Rodríguez.

Against her will, I will name her just María Elena, without ignoring that she was crying all the time. I think she never stops crying.

How old is your son and how was he before facing this new way of life?

He is 15 years old. He was a sweet, lovable and kind boy. He was a good student, he finished secondary school and he was given a pre-university degree.

How was your communication with him?

Well, I have three sons and I always have had a good relationship with all of them. I have not had any problem with the older ones and I have even grandchildren. But you can see what had happened with my younger son. I have been her mother and her father at the same time, I raised him alone; his father visited him sometimes and when he was seven years old he never visited him again. When the boy was older, sometimes his father picked him up and gave him money. It was something I was not in agreement with because the child was too young and he did not know how to handle money. I did not receive the pension money; his father gave it all to the boy. Currently, I keep in touch with him and I am sure that he loves his son but the damage is done. We have a big problem.

Do you go out to work?

Yes, and my job involves a great deal of responsibility. However, I never have left him alone. Moreover, many people depend on me including a sick mother, and I cannot give up my job. I took him with me everywhere and when he was at the school I kept in contact with his teachers, which as I know are excellent, especially one of them who is always worried about what happens to him.

How did you realize that something was wrong?

He felt in love with a very nice girl whose family was also very good, and he went to live with her. At the beginning I disagreed because he was too young, later problems started, he had changed, he smoked, and he maltreated his couple. I talked with his father but he did nothing. That was how everything started.

Photo:Leandro Pérez Pérez/AdelantePhoto:Leandro Pérez Pérez/AdelanteDid you notice that some objects were missing at home? Because in order to buy drugs he needs money…

His clothes began to disappear. I trusted him so much that I thought it was someone else. He had a new girlfriend who was a good person too, but who lived in a different environment. Then I realized that some things that were mine began to disappear in my own house. He cried a lot and hugging me he told that he finished with us and that we were destroyed. I told him that there is always an alternative, that he could count on me and that I would take him to the doctor. Then, he confessed me he had sold everything to smoke, but it was too much.

When did you decide to look for professional help?

In that moment I saw that he was desperate, he had changed his hair color, his hairstyle was also different. I took him to the Pediatric Hospital where he admitted he had consumed drugs.

How did they treat him?

He received an excellent attention, he was hospitalized and I thought everything was going to change. I believed he would be that nice and lovable child again.

I infer that he did it again…

You are right. He says he does have neither a reason nor a person to fight for, a 15-year-old boy taking like this! He wants to live alone; he does not want to be controlled by anybody.

You came asking for the help of the doctor José Eduardo Vázquez Benítez who works at the Pediatric Hospital, why did not you bring your son with you?

He did not want. Vázquez has been excellent with us, that is why I am here.

Do you ask something to yourself?

Of course, I always ask myself: What did I do wrong? I blame myself for everything, even for giving him all what he needed, maybe it harms instead of helping people.

Did you know about what it is called “juntamentos” and his friends?

I cannot blame his friends; today they are better than him. The others, those that I do not even know, I tell him those will put him on the edge of the abyss.

Do you think that your son, who is a minor, got out of your hands?

Absolutely. I would give my live to have the son I used to have. He hid from me several days and it was because he tattooed and he had to sell more things to pay it.

If you could talk quietly with him, what would you say?

That nobody will help him and love him the way I do, that I always will be on his side, that all what I want is for his own good and for helping him to become the man that I hope he can be.

If you say “I hope” is because you think he is going to rehabilitate.

That is right. Right now I do not have a moment´s peace but I will keep fighting. I am 50 years old, I am a university graduate and I have continued bettering myself. This is the example that I have given to him.

Do you consider that some other people from society can help you?

Yes, in a situation like this all help is necessary and some regulations would be important too, not only for us. It would be convenient that minors were not allowed to enter nightclubs and that tattoos required the written consent of parents. It would slow this situation down.

But what I have heard is that underage people cannot enter nightclubs…

I know about the efforts of the government and of the province´s authorities to avoid that this happens. However, when I talk to him and tell him about the wrong things he is doing because he does not have an adult identity card; he answers me that money can solve any problem.

I apologized with Maria Elena for making her to cry and she told me: That is how I spend days and nights, do not worry about it. I hope this conversation can be an example for others, and if my son read it without knowing it is about him, maybe he compares Maria Elena with me and understand how much I suffer and all the damage he is doing, so thank you.