Teen Tells Of Walk On Wild Side 

Teen Tells Of Walk On Wild Side 
Posted by FoM on November 23, 1999 at 07:15:59 PT
By Chris Reinolds, The Atlanta Journal
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Woodstock teen who used drugs, lived on the street and was finally jailed tells his frightening tale in a national documentary airing tonight. 
Nathanael Rose, now 16, was one of about 35 metro Atlanta youth interviewed in August for the Straight Scoop Road Tour produced by the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy and cable company MediaOne. Rose said he has recovered physically, emotionally and spiritually from his trials. Unlike the Frontline documentary on wild teens in Rockdale County, this film has a blatant anti-drug message from teens told to other teens. The tour visited kids in Jacksonville, Miami, Atlanta, Richmond and Washington. Student reporters interviewed other teens about how drugs affect their communities, themselves and their peers. The documentary will be broadcast tonight, at 5:30 p.m. on MediaOne cable channel 33. The documentary will be rebroadcast at the same time every Tuesday through the end of the year. The video also will be distributed to schools across the country. Atlantans were briefly introduced to Nathanael about four years ago. Then a bright, extroverted 12-year-old, he responded to a request by rock radio station 99X for people to call in who lived "weird" lifestyles. Nathanael, who thought being home-schooled qualified, quickly captured the attention of the station's morning show announcers. Nathanael was comfortable chatting on the radio, and the announcers asked him back as a special guest. But Nathanael's life soon changed. After he turned 13, his parents divorced, and his mother took a job. Nathanael chose to live with his dad and attended Woodstock Middle School. The teen said his behavior changed drastically the summer before his freshman year of high school. He began smoking cigarettes and hanging out with the wrong crowd. When school started, Nathanael skipped class with friends and smoked marijuana. His dad worked a night shift so Nathanael's nights were free. He spent time at a pool hall where he easily scored LSD and marijuana. Always on a search to fit in and find new highs, Nathanael went home with a friend to "huff," or inhale, Freon. The two would inhale from a five-gallon tank for a 13-second high. He talks about this experience in the documentary. The second time Nathanael tried huffing, he passed out on the floor. When he awoke, the leaking Freon had frozen his left arm and face to the concrete floor. In the documentary, Nathanael showed his scars and pictures taken in the hospital of third-degree burns on his face. "I got up and it ripped the skin off," Nathanael said, displaying two large wrinkled scars on his arm. "My face was really bad." After spending several days in the hospital, Nathanael went back home with his father. He settled down for about a month, but then Nathanael resumed drinking, using drugs and skipping school. After fighting with his father, Nathanael decided he didn't want to live at home any more. He ran away to Atlanta and spent two nights walking around downtown scrounging money and food before being arrested for possession of marijuana. At 15, Nathanael was sent to DeKalb County's Youth Detention Center for six days, and that was enough to set him straight. Nathanael feels he was lucky--a Cherokee County judge sentenced him to two years' probation with 24-hour adult supervision. He now attends a small private school and is close to getting off probation. The talkative, outgoing teen said he wants to start speaking to school groups about drugs and family problems to help kids avoid what's he's been through. Another Georgia youth is in the documentary, but from the other side of the camera. Senior Cotrell Qualls of Atlanta, who was a reporter, said he found that teens face the same situations when it comes to resisting drugs. "It contradicted so many others' opinion that it only affects one community," Cotrell said. "In actuality we all have different stories and lifestyles and encounter the same situation or party scene." He talks on camera about his father's fight with drugs and how it hurt his family. "From early on I'm taught it's not something you do," he said. To avoid the pressure, Cotrell said he tries to stay away from situations that could get him into trouble. "It's all how you carry yourself and who you hang out with," he said. Cotrell, who attends the DeKalb School of the Arts, hopes to attend Morehouse College next fall. The Office of National Drug Control Policy started the road tour to portray accurate, real-life stories to counter adolescents' ideas that drug use is normal. The focus is middle schoolers because officials say that's when kids usually start experimenting with drugs, sex or violence. Published: November 23, 1999 1999 Cox Interactive Media 
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Comment #1 posted by Alexandre Oeming on November 23, 1999 at 07:54:45 PT:
Office of Nat'l (Non) Control
So, what i'm understanding from this is that kids shouldn't use drugs, right? What genius! What i don't get is why we have to treat consenting adults like children in order to keep control of drug distribution in the hands of the criminals.>He spent time at a pool hall where he easily scored LSD and marijuana.Hmmm ... you mean he couldn't easily score booze? I wonder why that is? And adults were still treated like adults. Prohibitionists are inhuman monsters with an addiction to minding other peoples' business. It's enough to make a man want to do something drastic. *sigh*
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