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Higher and Higher
Within weeks of deceiving his doctor into prescribing Adderall, Jamison Monroe’s grade rose steadily through Christmas. That D in biology raised to a B and heading higher. As far as his parents were concerned, what had been holding back their son for the first two months of high school was his ADHD. No one suspected a thing.
Jamison kept Adderall’s dire effects to himself. He got horribly dehydrated, particularly in the spring when he played on the baseball team. So as sophomore year began, he gave up sports and started taking the pills only on the nights he needed to cram.
In the summer after his freshman year, Jamison attended his older sister’s wedding. He enjoyed a strange new feeling as he tasted the champagne. He had tasted alcohol before, but this time it untended his body. Before long, he had five flutes of champagne and a few glasses of white wine. He ended up puking in the bathroom. But he woke up the next morning wanting to do it again.
Champagne was too expensive, so Jamison began heading to liquor stores for beers with three of his buddies. First on weekends and then as a routine after school. His friends would take hours to sober up, but Jamison had a secret: any hangover was solved with another pill.
By the end of sophomore year, the twelve-packs became Jack Daniel’s and Coke. On the last day of classes, Jamison and his two buddies went to McDonald’s for food and to get cups, lids, and straws to disguise their Jack and Coke from any curious cops. By noon they came back to school with one last plan. Their English teacher, Mrs. Morse, was on away for the week. Maybe the final exam was in her office. While they were in Mrs. Morse’s office copying down the questions and answers, they heard footsteps. Jamison threw everything back in the drawer and they got out. They were walking slowly down the hall when Peter, one of Jamison’s buddies, realized that they had left a piece of paper with his name and Jamison’s handwriting in the office. They went back to retrieve it. The footsteps had belonged to a teacher who had locked Mrs. Morse’s office and watched from down the hall as the boys jerked the doorknob with increasing panic. The three boys were immediately expelled from St. John’s.
With Jamison’s good reputation, Episcopal High was told everything about Jamison’s incident and still admitted him. During his junior and senior years, he found out that Adderall countered not just the effects of alcohol, but also the lethargy from the marijuana he began to enjoy. But Adderall couldn’t keep his grades up. But he had scored a respectable 1320 out of 1600 on the SAT, the University of Texas would admit him if he went to its summer program and received at least a B in biology. He figured he needed to get at least 98 to raise his D to a B. With lots Adderall and cramming in the final week; he got a 100.
Jamison’s summer at Texas’s summer program taught him a new and improved way to enjoy his Adderall: snorting it. Most experts agree that the effects of cocaine and stimulants, when snorted, can be remarkably similar. Jamison’s first semester at the University of Texas became a mood-modulating haze of alcohol, Adderall, and Valium.
Jamison went home to Houston during Thanksgiving break. He was arrested for DUI and ultimately bailed out by his parents. A judge required him to be examined by a psychologist who told the family that Jamison had three options: kill himself in a car accident; kill someone else in a car accident; or go to drug rehab. Jamison decided to go the drug rehab.
Nestled on a peninsula fifty miles north of Seattle, Gray Wolf Ranch was like Club Med. Up to fourteen young men would blend their addiction therapy with outdoor fun. He was allowed no alcohol, pot, cocaine, or any other drugs except for his daily dose of Adderall.
Jamison emerged after three and a half months totally sober, except for his continued affinity for amphetamines. He returned to college, avoided his old UT temptations by enrolling at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Two years later, he made the St. Thomas dean’s list and posted a 3.8 grade point average. Adderall had a lot to do with it. He was still using the pills to study.
After Jamison transferred back to Texas to try to finish his government degree there, he returned to his old cycle of cramming with Adderall. By Christmas he had failed out of the University of Texas for a second time. He went back to rehab to a different treatment center in southern California.
This time, therapies pushed Jamison to explore his Adderall use specifically. His father joined the therapy sessions and got to know his son. He asked Jamison what he wanted to do. Jamison said he wanted to open his own treatment center for teenagers like he was when this all stared. His father offered his support. He told Jamison if he learned the ropes by working at some other treatment centers for a whole, and developed a legitimate business plan, he would provide some seed money.
In March 2006, Jamison left rehab for the final time. He got a job as a counselor at a local treatment center in Southern California and moved up the ladder and began managing the medication window. He spent his nights churning out a business plan for his own treatment center, estimating $6 million in start up cost. His father had wealthy friends and associates who remembered Jamison’s smarts and trusted that he had finally turned the corner.
By April 2008, Jamison had assembled enough investors to start building a girls-only program. Newport Academy officially open on May 12. One week later, a 17-year-old girl named Kristin Parber joined the program to get off cocaine and vodka.
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