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Drug use in professionals

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  • #41
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
    I must brag a little about New Jersey, our equine activity law does permit us to refuse entries and the right to compete from anyone we feel in under the influence of any substance that impairs their ability. And, without the right to sue us!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Snowbird, is this clause actually exercised by show managers?

    I also believe that most venues in Canada share the similar right to decline entries. The reality is that few will assume the stance that the Southerns have, with respect to Eric Lamaze. He has powerful and important clients, partners, a high profile lawyer, and owners who will, if they haven't already, intervene on his behalf. And legally speaking, following his reinstatement hearing, he does have the legal right to compete.

    Perhaps I'm naive in the belief that it would be best if he voluntarily stepped aside from competition for a year, and in the interim allow sponsors, his fellow competitors, and Joe Q. Public, to forgive and forget the debacle and shame of a second positive drug test. Perhaps I am just giving him too much credit.

    Comment


    • #42
      Why use drugs? To be cool. To fit in. Peer Pressure. Those are the reasons kids give when asked why they think people do drugs. I think that in some ways the horse show world is a little like the closed society of a school, so maybe those reasons still fit. How do we stop it? Make it cool not to use drugs. Include everyone so they fit in. Use peer pressure to influence people to do the right thing. Simplistic? I know, but if everyone really did it, it would work!!!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #43
        I'm glad to see that a lot of you are addressing this issue rather than "ignoring" it. I'm interested in hearing frmo the other side of the proverbial fence, though. If you are a drug-using pro and you are reading this, let us know your opinion. I know it makes some of you mad to sit and read everyones remarks about your addiction. If you want to keep your anonymity, just e-mail me. I thought that I'd get some more response than just the "anti-drug" posts, and I'd like to see what you have to say.

        Comment


        • #44
          Personally, I have never really had a problem with people doing drugs because I think it's their personal choice because all the trainers do such a good job and I don't think it seems to get in the way of doing what they're doing.

          As a junior, I know how much drug/alchohol is used on the circuit but my knowledge is mostly with the juniors. I think that the juniors use of "substances" has come from knowing their trainers do that and it influences them alot. I'm only 14 (it's strange to say you're 14 and an ex-smoker, lol) and the only reason I started smoking was because my trainer did. I don't really smoke anymore but I have gone to the parties with the juniors and I think that the wealthier you are the more prone you are to drugs/alchohol as weird as it sounds. And then we juniors grow up and we're the trainers and some of the juniors take their drug/alchohol use to the next level and it's an addiction whereas some of us just do it socially.

          Comment


          • #45
            I saw this post and I have been riding along and keeping quiet, but now I want to tell my story:

            I'm 18 and this is my last junior year. I work with and live with my trainer Debra, and plan to continue to work for her as a professional after I am done my junior years. I lurk here alot and occasionally post a question (sometimes I post things for Debra as she's computer illiterate so if you thought I was older that's probably why [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

            I've been on the circuit on and off since I was seven. My mom used to be a top A circuit trainer - this winter she committed suicide after a battle with drugs, anorexia, alcohol, and spousal abuse ruined her life. Growing up, my mom and I traveled to shows all over with her students - she did drugs often during this time and lost many students over it. She would get stoned and forget to show up for lessons or pass out during shows. It was horrible.

            A horse died of colic once and it was kind of her fault - she was supposed to do night check everynight and she was stoned and forgot - I used to try and cover for her but I was staying at a friends. She didn't go down to the barn for evening shift, and then slept through her morning shift. When a student finally arrived at the barn she found the horse down and in severe pain - he had twisted a gut and was put down hours later. Had he been walked and treated he may have lived - we'll never know. This was five years ago. After this incident, one of my mom's students decided to intervene and get us help - Debra was only 22 at the time but she was wise beyond her years. She would let me stay at her house to be away from my mom, and she would take my mom to meetings and help her try and stay clean- but it never worked and my mom soon stopped letting me stay with her, becuase she said it was ruining our lives and that Debra was stealing our clients away. In fact she was trying to save us.

            When I was fourteen my mom went clean for awhile and we spent the summer showing and I did all the parties - my mom and I fought 24/7 so I was always out at the barn or with friends - I would drink, smoke, anything to forget my problems - the same cycle that sucked my mom in pulled me in as well - for months that was my life. One night when I was almost 15, Debra found me passed out from cocaine in the barn. I was almost unconcious. She saved my life - and made me promise I would keep it.

            I turned my life around, I moved in with Debra for good shortly afterwards. I tried to stay in touch with my mom but it hurt to much - after she lost the horses and I left her life fell apart. She passed away New Year's Eve last year.

            Drugs are a problem on the circuit and people turn a blind eye to it. When my mom was wining no one care what she was doing, except for a few loyal friends like Deb. And then when things fell apart, she was a hasbeen and no one noticed. Even among juniors drugs are an issue I think. But all we want is victory.

            I admit my story is extreme, but drugs are an on going issue and problem on the circuit as well as in life. If we don't face this problems many lives - horse and human - will continuely be at risk.

            Allyson

            Comment


            • #46
              Oh Allyson,

              I read this thread when it first began and had to see what had been restarted. My deepest sympathies to you and your family over the loss of your of your mother. It will be a pain that will never go away.

              I have a lot of respect for your ability to cope and kudos to Debra for being there for you.

              Thank you for speaking out. It is never easy to do that, on a subject like this, especially when it is so personal. Thank you for sharing.

              Comment


              • #47
                Allyson, thank you for posting your story again. It is terribly sad, but ultimately triumphant because you have overcome a situation that could have destroyed you. Thank God Debra was there for you.

                It is tragic that your mother could not recognize the help that was being offered, but that is part of the nature of addiction. Please, I know it is difficult, but try not to feel guilty -- You did what you could, and you never should have been placed in such a situation to begin with. You were a child, and it was terribly unfair of your mother to put such a burden on you. Believe me, even as an adult we cannot make our loved ones clean up if they don't want to -- a fact I know all too well.

                I hope others will read your story and know that there is a terrible downside to drug use, even if it may appear on the surface as if those who are using are functioning "OK."

                How many others are there like Allyson's mother who have just "disappeared" from the circuit without people speaking of the reasons why? There must be a counterpoint to the perception that "it's OK, because he/she seems to be doing all right." How will the kids and juniors know the terrible reality and the terrible consequences if people don't discuss it?
                "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry

                Comment


                • #48
                  Allyson, you tell a powerful story. Thank you for sharing. Maybe your story will help others struggling to overcome similar issues.

                  Do you or Debra have any ideas about what can be done to help people in the horse community with addictions, and those trying to help them? Some professions have organizations that provide and encourage counseling and professional help. Should the AHSA or some other horse related group make help available? Would that have helped you in your struggle?

                  I think of my job, where professional confidential counseling is available at no cost to people who need help with emotional problems, addictions, or even less serious life issues. Unfortunately, most people working in the horse world don't have services like that at their fingertips. Most are either self employed or working for small businesses and really have to seek out help for themselves, on their own, with little encouragement or monetary help.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bertie:
                    Allyson, you tell a powerful story. Thank you for sharing. Maybe your story will help others struggling to overcome similar issues.

                    Do you or Debra have any ideas about what can be done to help people in the horse community with addictions, and those trying to help them? Some professions have organizations that provide and encourage counseling and professional help. Should the AHSA or some other horse related group make help available? Would that have helped you in your struggle?

                    I think of my job, where professional confidential counseling is available at no cost to people who need help with emotional problems, addictions, or even less serious life issues. Unfortunately, most people working in the horse world don't have services like that at their fingertips. Most are either self employed or working for small businesses and really have to seek out help for themselves, on their own, with little encouragement or monetary help.
                    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                    When Allyson told me about this thread I decided I should join and post.

                    Yes, drugs are a growing issue in the horseworld, one I have lost many dear friends to. I also know people who suffer with it still. But what can we do? I have taken action on our local show circuits to raize awareness - one local show ground has brocheures and numbers of intervention/drug help programs posted. I have attended numerous discussions on the topic and here is some of what has come up:

                    ~random drug testing at shows for humans, similiar to that we do now on horses.
                    DRAWBACKS: many legal substances test as illegal and there are sometimes legitimate reasons for someone being on certain drugs (IE morphine) which could be considered illegal. Thus you might suspend someone from a show only to find out they had a legit reason for that they did and that now they are angry b/c they missed a chance to point etc etc.

                    ~strict (AHSA related) penalities for drug involvement/conviction. IE if a trainer was caught by law enforcement doing drugs they would be barred from the AHSA shows for X period of time.
                    DRAWBACKS - may keep trainers off the circuit but they are still training - and realistically how many people get caught anyway?

                    ~Increased drug awareness education - maybe if people knew more they'd do less drugs. Idealistic and hard to impliment.

                    In the ideal world I'd like to see some sort of outreach and support group. Training is a high stress job and we as trainers as in a position where we can influence not only the well being of a horse but also of our students (especially juniors). I'd like to see a way for trainers to come together and share ideas, strategy and information - to brainstorm and solve and dicuss problems in the industry. Something to facilitate communication - perhaps in the ideal world the AHSA could sponser some sort of trainer's conference.

                    I would also like to see stricter supervision of juniors on the circuit - to eliminate the drugs and alcohol they may partake in at unsuperised parties.

                    We know that the problem is and we know what our goal is - a clean drug free horse world. But the steps in between are muddy - I know from first hand experience. I don't know what the answer is but I have ideas and I am looking for it - let's get together and get constructive to try and tackle this problem.

                    Debra Charing
                    dcharing@yahoo.com

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Firerider, I have shown at Gulfport for the past 2 years. I know the same people.
                      I am sure you will remember if you are from Memphis when a trainer from my hometown (Jackson) ODed on cocaine in the parking lot during a horse show last year at Germantown. She trains primarily junior riders. The cops took her away but their parents still let them train with her. She deals them. I know because I am a junior rider too. She still trains, she still does coke. Remember this 2 years ago?

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Allyson, I also thank you for sharing your story. You are clearly a strong young woman who has overcome tragedies many of us could never fathom, nor recover from. I applaud your strength. Debra, your compassion is heartening and I am so glad that there are coaches like you training our children.

                        We too have dealt with a close friend suffering through, not terribly successfully, a cocaine addiction. I think the best explanation was that the first time you take a drug you do so to quell spiritual pain, by the fourth time the drug becomes a physical need.

                        Also from experience, addicts are typically manipulative liars. They lie, deny, cheat, and manipulate. They also have moments of great shame, regret and clarity - which lasts until their next fix.

                        Having said all this, I have found it helpful to confront the addiction honestly. Our friend disappears for a couple of weeks, skips a dinner party - we confront him, calmly albeit, and ask ' so how much did you do and how much do you want to die?' Harsh but we're hopeful that eventually he'll give us the correct answers. Secondly, as much as we may want, we do not cast moral judgements. It is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness; and every time he disappears, he breaks my heart all over again. As terrible as it is, and as helpless as it makes me feel, I suspect he won't kick his addiction until and unless he hits rock bottom. I hope.

                        Ideally, the governing sports bodies (the CEF in Canada nationally) will institute an awareness campaign and program to deal with the very real addictions which confront many in the sport - from the juniors through to the pro ranks. In reality, I suspect that those of us who are concerned will have to look outside the sport to publicly funded programs to deal with the issue on a case by case (or rider by rider) basis, ad hoc and piecemeal without the benefit of funds or infrastructural support. It really is a shame isn't it when a governing body functions solely to oversee shows and adminster rules but not to truly serve those who pay the levies and are in need.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Debra, thanks for posting. You have so much to offer on this subject. Some people (myself included) might have been afraid that this thread would turn into name-bashing and gossip. But if people with real concern and real ideas for solutions get involved, maybe some positive outcomes can be accomplished, or at least maybe it'll get the ball rolling in that direction.

                          I'm probably naive, but I don't think any good ideas are out of reach...I think the ideas expressed on this board are seen by many eyes. Even if an idea seems too expensive, or too difficult to organize, please post it. You never know what might come of it!

                          Debra mentioned brochures and contact numbers for intervention/drug help programs that she's been promoting on her local circuit. What about the AHSA affiliated shows and circuits taking steps like this? Maybe the AHSA could even offer support groups/counseling at the circuit shows.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I think on-site counselling may be difficult as addicts typically hide, and deny, their addiction. The annonymity of a 1-800 counselling service, or at least a referral service, that the AHSA could underwrite, might be easier for some addicts to accept. Perhaps the AHSA could initiate a fund raising drive, or designate a portion of their annual budget, to underwrite such a service.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bertie:
                              Debra, thanks for posting. You have so much to offer on this subject. Some people (myself included) might have been afraid that this thread would turn into name-bashing and gossip. But if people with real concern and real ideas for solutions get involved, maybe some positive outcomes can be accomplished, or at least maybe it'll get the ball rolling in that direction.

                              I'm probably naive, but I don't think any good ideas are out of reach...I think the ideas expressed on this board are seen by many eyes. Even if an idea seems too expensive, or too difficult to organize, please post it. You never know what might come of it!

                              Debra mentioned brochures and contact numbers for intervention/drug help programs that she's been promoting on her local circuit. What about the AHSA affiliated shows and circuits taking steps like this? Maybe the AHSA could even offer support groups/counseling at the circuit shows.
                              <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                              Bertie we need people like you who are willing to discuss the issue and not the names - there are top trainers who are on drugs and there are people you will never know - what we need to do is find a way to reach them and make them stop.

                              Something else I think might be good for the kids is programs through Pony Club or similiar organizations - like drug education in school - only relate it to their lives - tell them stories of how it effects horses and riders and have people speak from experience. Also we need to make the resources avalible.

                              Above all we need to stop turning a blind eye to this. Just because someone seems find doesn't mean they are. Just b/c they won't let you help doesn't mean they don't need it. If you know someone who has a problem tell them "Look this can mess your life up and I know it is hard and I know I cannot tell you what to do but look at your life and how much you have to lose - people love you and care about you and maybe you need to stop and look at what you are doing to yourself. If you want help I will be there but you have to make the choice to stop" and tell them youare there for them but you want them to seek help very much and tell them where help is avalible. Don't think jsut b/c you are not involved it is not your problem...

                              And parents watch over your kids!!! Don't assume they are immune to this - someone here mentioned she started smoking b/c her trainer did - well there are many worse things kids can learn from trainers as well! Make sure you know where your children are and what they are doing and if something is wrong get them help. IF their trainer is doing drugs - at the very least try to remove them from the sitution. TALK to your kids about this and make them aware of it - this is a problem w/ younger and younger kids now!!!

                              I wish I had all the answers - or even something more concrete. But I am greatly heartened by your kind words and your inspirations.

                              Debra

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Allyson, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. But, congratulations to you for the a very mature and responsible attitude you have developed. You are also very lucky to have Debra to guide you and stand by you. Thank God for her and those like her.

                                The thing I find the hardest to understand in all this is the attitude of some parents. How can a parent allow their child to spend time in the company of known drug users/dealers? What does this teach a kid? It's more important to win or be cool than to live a morally responsible life. That's not a horse show problem - that's a problem that's 100 times bigger than any sport!

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  "If their trainer is doing drugs... at the very least TRY to remove them from the situation" I know I'm way out of the loop of what's happening on the A circuit, but I have 3 kids, the youngest is 13, and I can't imagine knowingly putting her under the supervision of an adult who was a substance abuser, or leaving her in that situation if I became aware of it after the fact, we'd be gone immediately!!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jch:
                                    Allyson, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. But, congratulations to you for the a very mature and responsible attitude you have developed. You are also very lucky to have Debra to guide you and stand by you. Thank God for her and those like her.

                                    The thing I find the hardest to understand in all this is the attitude of some parents. How can a parent allow their child to spend time in the company of known drug users/dealers? What does this teach a kid? It's more important to win or be cool than to live a morally responsible life. That's not a horse show problem - that's a problem that's 100 times bigger than any sport!
                                    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    I dont know any treainers who are drug dealers.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Allyson you are very fortunate to have learned that chemicals can make you think your are happy when your are really miserable.

                                      I think two things, one I sense that somewhere down deep Allyson feels guilty that she couldn't help her mother. Allyson you were not her keeper. You had every right to find the truth for yourself. That is free will and you can be very proud that you did not go down in the quicksand with your mother. I think you must be a very strong and beautiful person who will become a very self confident role model for others.

                                      Second I would like to push this issue back a step. While I agree with everything above what bothers me is what has failed that peer pressure becomes so important? What is there in this sport that we can change the creates an atmosphere of dependency?

                                      Right now we cannot talk about how to fix it, unless we can identify the root causes. The goals, should they be changed? Is it the winning or the money or the respect from peers?

                                      I am very concerned because as I have said my generation was not so much a victim of peer pressure. We found something we loved to do and then hoped we could keep a roof over our heads and do it. Doctors were doctors because they really wanted to cure sick people. Teachers were teachers because they really enjoyed teaching other people. I hope to survive on my farm because I really love horses and what they can do for children and adults.

                                      So it disturbs me that this sport which I believed to be a safe haven that generated high self esteem and achievement of goals with a personal best has some how changed and is responsible for the opposite.

                                      We know that the horses are medicated to enhance their performance, we are discussing medicating with chemicals people. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT PURPOSE? Is it to enhance performance? Is it to escape a lack of ability to perform? Is it to pretend that this world is the best of all times and places? Is life so futile that they cannot face it and WHY?

                                      We have some who are killing themselves with eating disorders. Why do so many have this perception of an image to which they do not match? Why is "individualism" being sacrificed to the "herd mentality?

                                      What can we do to change these perceptions and illusions?
                                      http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kelsy:
                                        I dont know any treainers who are drug dealers.

                                        <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                        I did not say any trainers are drug dealers. I asked was how could a parent allow their child to spend time in the company of known drug users/dealers. If a child is around someone who is using drugs, or going places with that person, they are likely to be exposed to others involved with drug use as well. This is simply not a safe situation for anyone, but especially not for an child who may be impressed by behavior they think is cool because they are with their trainer.

                                        [This message has been edited by jch (edited 10-29-2000).]

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Sometimes I think the horse show world is a parallel universe in which the same moral standards the alternate must abide by do not apply. <very large sigh>
                                          Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

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