The new show ‘Recovery Road’ on the Freeform Network (formally ABC Family) is timely to say the least. With National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week launching Jan 25th, this show puts a spotlight on adolescents and drug abuse. With addiction at epidemic proportions across the country, many young viewers and their families may find the story line hitting close to home. The ‘Recovery Road’ series addresses teen addiction, and will be based primarily on Blake Nelson’s YA novel. It will focus on a teenage girl by the name of Maddie, played by Jessica Sula, and her struggles with addiction.
In the first episode titled “Black Out” Maddie is living a double life. That of a normal high school girl struggling with an addiction. Maddie realizes that her secret is out when alcohol, disguised in a water bottle, is discovered in her locker, and she is confronted by the school guidance counselor Cynthia McDermott, played by Alexis Carra. Not surprisingly, she denies the obvious, which is a true behavior pattern common to most people in addiction. Even after a breathalyzer confirms Maddie’s high blood alcohol content, she becomes defensive and still fails to grasp the severity of her situation. However, her guidance counselor, Cynthia, is bound by school policy and undaunted by the teen’s reaction. She advises Maddie of her options to enter a 24 Detox program immediately and spend 90 days at a Sober Living Facility or be expelled from high school.
Forced to make a choice, Maddie unwillingly agree to the terms to attends school during the day and spends her nights at a “Sober living” facility. Even so, she is determined to keep her rehabilitation a secret from her peers. The story follows Maddie’s journey toward recovery at Spring Meadows Rehab Center and the ups and downs of life with an addiction.
While this television depiction of addiction and its accompanying problems may be fictional for the actors, it is a very real problem for thousands of teenagers across America. As demonstrated in the first episode of ‘Recovery Road’, peer pressure is a common problem of adolescence. The need to be accepted or a part of the group is one of the major reasons most teens experiment with drugs. Plus, the teenage years are marked by curiosity and exploration. Unfortunately, the risk of addiction is higher today because drugs are more readily available and far more potent and lethal than ever before.
While not all teenagers who experiment with drugs or alcohol become addicted, easy access and the sheer range of substances that a teenager can get high on, paired with issues like a genetic predisposition, peer pressure and exposure to environments that favor drug use means more young people are experiencing addiction.
In ‘Recovery Road’, the plastic water bottle with alcohol in Maddie’s high school locker led to the discovery of her addiction and subsequent admission into a treatment program. Sadly, many teenagers and young adults often die from drug overdose or alcohol poisoning before they can get help. Mostly because they become quite adept at keeping their substance abuse a secret. Surprisingly, parents are usually the last to recognize the signs of an addiction in their children, and friends may either be using drugs as well or afraid to tell someone about the problem. Either way, failure to get help before the substance abuse segues into addiction has already derailed or ended too many young lives.
Common signs of adolescent addiction include mood swings, problematic relationships with authority and disapproving friends, acting out, depression, isolation, failing grades, unexplained absences and stealing, among others. Teenagers who become excessively secretive and exhibit significant changes in behavior may also be hiding a drug habit.
‘Recovery Road’ premiers on January 25th at 9:00 PM ET on Freeform. Until the series premieres, the first three episode titles include “Black Out”, “Surrender” and “Art of the Deal”, and are available on WATCH ABC Family app, Hulu, and Video on Demand.
If your child or friend is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, contact a professional drug treatment center for help. Caring addiction professionals are available to answer your call, and help you find the mot appropriate treatment program.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
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