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Modern Parenthood

Andy Reid tragedy causes a mom to ponder summer surge in drug use

As Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid copes with his troubled son Garrett's death, parents redouble their vigilance. A new government study says summer time is the best time to do that as teen drug use surges then.

By Lisa SuhayCorrespondent / August 6, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, right, reacts to the crowd as he and his sons Garrett, left, and Britt, center, walk off the field after a game in Philadelphia in this 2001 file photo. Garrett Reid was found dead on Sunday in his room at training camp at Lehigh University.

Chris Gardner/AP/File


Norfolk, Virg.

Last week I wrote about how more fathers are parenting through coaching, but today Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid stands before the world coping with the death of his son Garrett Reid, 29, who had a history of drug issues. Garrett Reid was found dead Sunday morning in a dorm room at the NFL club’s Lehigh University training camp where he often spent time with his father.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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Moments of silence were held in major sports venues – moments that also belong to all parents, famous or not, no matter what race or tax bracket, who have lost the battle for their children once drugs entered the picture.

While police said the death was not suspicious, and the cause was under investigation, the history of drug use and issues of both Mr. Reid's sons is a heart-breaker. I know there are those who will seek to attack his parenting, wealth, status, and forget that in this one way, he is no different from every father or mother who has ever struggled to tackle the issue of a child scarred by drug use. By all accounts, Reid was the classic father-model as a man and coach, a tough-on-the-outside “teddy bear.”

“I knew Garrett when he was 14, 15 years old, all of his kids,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told the Associated Press. “The thing with Andy is he’s strong and rock solid, but deep down, he’s a teddy bear and the players who know him know that really well. All of us that know him know that really, really well. It’s why he’s so effective. Is he perfect? No. No one is. But that combination of, again, strength and tenderness is very, very special.”

According to a July 2012 US Department of Health and Human Services National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, summer is prime time for kids trying drugs for the first time, peaking between June and July. Why? Because they’re not in school and have more free, unsupervised, time.

Based on monthly averages between 2002 and 2010, the report states that on an average day in June, July, or December (which is the secondary peak time), more than 11,000 youths used alcohol for the first time; in other months, the daily average ranged from about 5,000 to 8,000 new users.


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