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The Gateway Drug in Your Home

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:11 PM EDT

Many parents worry about their kids drinking, but it may be the legal drugs inside your home that could send teenagers down a path toward addiction.

Mike Cremen has a Baltimore City address right now, but spent his childhood in the suburbs of Catonsville with his mother and father.

"Growing up I was taught all the right morals and values and stuff," Cremen said.

Although he admits, even in that little utopia, he sometimes made poor decisions. "I started smoking weed in middle school and drinking in seventh grade."

 Still, he was a young athlete and a star on the high school lacrosse field, until he got hurt.

When Cremen was 16, he broke his femur while playing lacrosse at a camp.

"That was right around the same time I started messing around with pain killers, it was almost like a perfect storm scenario," Cremen said.

At the same time his father was ill with Crones disease so there was medication in the house. "So there were really just prescription pills galore in the house."

Mike graduated from high school with a diploma and an addiction to prescription pills, which lead to bigger drugs like heroin.
And that lead to crimes.

"My first time going to jail was my mom pressing charges on me, which at the time I was mad but it changed my life around. It started pushing me in the direction of getting clean, " Cremen recalled.

Mike ended up at the 'Helping Up Mission' in downtown Baltimore, a faith based, nonprofit drug recovery facility where men can get off drugs and on to a better life. The 500 bed facility is designed to get clients clean in a year.

While the strategy has always been the same, counselors are noticing the demographics of the  clients are changing.
"Ten years ago we were 70 percent urban and 30 percent suburban and numbers now are around 50/50, and also fifty percent Caucasian and 50 percent African American," said Tom Bond, director of 'Helping Up Mission.'

 Suburban kids entered the facility after using oxycontin and other prescription drugs.

"Many people say the gateway drug is marijuana but more and more now the gateway drugs are prescription drugs," Bond said.

Tom Bond understands the transformation. He came here to the facility to face his own addiction in 2002.

 Mike now hopes to help others. "Actually my plan is, I'm going back to school in the fall and plan to become an addictions counselor. I feel like I could help a lot of people."

The Gateway Drug in Your Home

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