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I smoked it on parsley flakes. I am not even sure if it was really PCP or not, the person who give it to me told me it was, but there was a number of things that could have been on it.
Anyway, what it does is more or less it really numbs you, right after I smoked it, I felt really numb. I really lost my senses, you know, more or less. If I touched things, like I almost walked into a fire and it didn't matter, I was really numb. It felt like I was floating. And then after that it really scared me, and I didn't know if I should use it anymore, because it really had a negative effect on me at the time.
But even though there were still problems and a lot of my friends were using it, and I told myself even though it was scary, if I just used it in moderation, it wouldn't bother me.
So I went on using it more and more. And that is when I started really like messing up in school, I didn't go to school much at all, because of the reason I was paranoid of people, you know, being in there high, thinking that people were watching me, and thinking that they were out to bust me, plus it was a lot of fun to be outside of school getting high than it was to go into school high.
Another thing is I wanted to explain like how easy it is to obtain PCP, because I think a lot of people think it is really hard to get. You know a lot of people think this, I guess more or less you have to be out there and experience it to know how easy it is to obtain it. Like could
go to a school and right in the arcade where the people smoke cigarettes during the breaks, you can go up to any number of people that you know are people that sell it, or who know people who sell it. You can just go up and ask them right on the spot and they would sell it to you.
Also I know when I used it back in January and February, it was about not yet as easy to obtain as marihuana, which was really easy, you could buy that anywhere, just about, you know. You can go on vacation, and you could find somebody to sell it to you.
Mr. GILMAN. These people who were selling it, were they fellow students
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Yes, they were. Some of them came from other schools over to the school just to sell it to make a profit.
Mr. GILMAN. They sold it in the school halls? Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Yes; it would take place in the bathrooms, wherever they thought it was safe.
Mr. GILMAN. What was the going price for the sale of PCP?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. At the time I was buying it, you would buy like a finger across a Glad bag for $25.
Mr. GILMAN. A Glad bag?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. That is a small bag you put a sandwich in. A Baggie.
Mr. GILMAN. In what consistency was it when you were buying it?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Well, myself, I bought it a couple of times. Usually my friends had it and they turned me on to it.
Mr. GILMAN. Was it in powder or liquid form?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. No, it wasn't powder or liquid. The way I got it was mainly the way people bought it. You could take-1 don't know if it was PCP for sure, like I told you earlier, you could
take parsley flakes and sprinkle the PCP on it, and then smoke it in a paper like marihuana or tobacco.
Mr. GILMAN. Do you know where they obtained their supply of PCP?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. No, I am not sure. I really didn't care. All I wanted to do was get high.
Mr. GILMAN. You may proceed with your testimony.
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Another way is the ways of taking it. I thought more or less I should explain that, too. You can either snort it, which is in the powder form, you can take the pill, or you can smoke it like I was telling you on parsley flakes in a paper, which is just your preference, whatever you would like to do. To me at the time, I didn't want to snort or take a pill, because I wasn't into pills or snorting, it scared me.
See, the thing about it, I think, is the difference between marihuana and PCP is really big, and a lot of people say they wouldn't dare shoot-up that are smoking pot. The reason I think they do it is because you can smoke it, they are used to smoking marihuana, so if they can find something else to smoke that is a little more lethal, they will do that.
That is why I did it. If it had been in pill form or plain powder form, I wouldn't have taken it. That is why I think a lot of kids are doing it now, because it is easy to obtain and also it comes in smoking form.
Also I wanted to explain how I entered the drug program process. More or less, you know, on down the line from that summer of my 9th grade, going into January and February in the 10th grade, I had a lot of problems with my parents, school, and other things, peer pressure, feeling like I wasn't really accepted, because a lot of my friends used me to just come in my house and get to my drugs.
I had several charges brought against me by the court, and my parents. The courts would charge and after that I was placed on probation. I got to the sense where I really didn't care, you know, anything about myself or anybody else, that I would even miss the probation dates, which a lot of my friends didn't do, they would go to their probation officers, because they were afraid of getting in trouble. I didn't care, because I just wanted to get high, that is all I wanted to do, and mainly this was because of marihuana and PCP.
Also I was court-stipulated. I wouldn't have gone if it had been on a voluntary basis, because I would have rather stayed out there and did what I was doing. I was court-stipulated to the program, to finish the program fully, inpatient and out.
My attitude more or less on PCP now is that I guess the people that take it, you know, like I was saying, it is something they can smoke, and they feel safe with that because they have been doing it with marihuana, it is easy to do, they are just used to it, so they go ahead and do it.
My attitude on it now is that people who do do it, really don't have a sense of reality, they really don't care that much about themselves. And I feel that is the same with marihuana use. Because I know people that just smoke pot that, you know, are pretty much together, they can go to school and do things. But there are a lot of people that turn to it because of their personal problems.
The impact that the drug program had upon me was rather heavy. At first I just went in there with the sense that I was going to try to get out, and nothing much was going to be done, I would just be out in 2 months, that is what I told my friends.
As soon as I got in there, there was a lot of things going on that I didn't really understand, like getting into people's feelings, and a lot of value, revaluing, evaluating yourself. After that, you know, more or less I came to grips, my parents came to open house which they had once a month and I really noticed being away from them for a month how much I really cared about them.
After that we had several discussions with my counselor, and also with my parents alone, and I decided that, you know, that isn't really what I want to do, because when I grow up, I want to be somebody or be nothing. I decided I wanted to be something.
Another reason I feel it was very effective was it was more or less a peer group, you know. There were people in there my age, getting themselves together after they had been using PCP or whatever drugs they had been using. I had seen them in the process of getting their life back together and getting back out there to live a responsible life. And that had a big effect on me, because I thought if they can do it, I can.
More or less I just went through the program and reevaluated myself, and found out a lot of values I had I didn't even know that were really backwards, more or less. You know, going against the law and my parents, not doing what they said, not having any respect for anybody, not even myself. And now I am here.
Mr. GILMAN. Would Mr. Rugenstein care to testify? Do you have any comments ?
Mr. EDWARD RUGENSTEIN. Yes; Steve may think that he was courtstipulated over there, that is something we more or less wanted him to believe, because we were afraid he might leave otherwise. But really he signed himself into the program when we went down to the office at Crossroads, and so he, whether he realized it or not, the court, even though we took him to court for incorrigibility, not minding, being out at night; missing school, et cetera, he did in fact put himself into the program, because I think he finally decided that he just wasn't going to be able to handle it at home, with counseling, which we were getting for him.
We had him with the probation officers, he missed appointments with them. I think it finally came down to the point where it just wasn't going to work, and just thank God that he did finally decide to put himself into a program like this, and he did stick it out.
He came close to leaving two or three times, but he did stick it out. And of course now he is out of the program, almost. He is still taking some counseling, he is back in public school, and he went to a different school, which I think helped. His grades also went from D's and F's, back up to A's and B’s, where they were initially before he started on drugs.
I have been asked several times about how do you know when something like this is happening to you. Well, I think the parents are the last to know in an area like this. It seems like everybody else knows, his friends, maybe their friends' parents and so forth, and all of your neighbors. But you are the last to know your son or daughter is on drugs or that they are getting into something like that. I guess,
in looking back at it, it would be sort of indicators I would call them, like skipping classes, grades going down, staying out later at night, sometimes on weekends all night, and then beginning to stay two nights in a row plus a day on the weekends. A lot of times he got on the bus and returned home on the bus, and we thought he was in school all day, where we found out later he wasn't.
But anyway, these are some of the things. And, well, he passed out in the bathroom one time, fell and hit his head. Also he had a paper route where he passed out. I don't know whether he might have been on drugs, he possibly was into PCP, where it was really putting him out. I know he came to the dinner table one night and he was stoned or in such bad shape my wife just sat there with the tears rolling down her face. He didn't know what he was doing, really. And Steve had never been like this before.
I do know how we reacted to the problem, when this happened. It bothered us quite a bit. We tried to ground him, keep him in the house, not give him activities like he had had, which didn't seem to work. We confiscated any drugs we could come up with. In fact, I was taking them down to the narcotics agents and getting
them tested, and yes, he was using PCP, because some of the drugs I took down there they tested and told me it was PCP. And also what it could do to you, that really scared me. Because, for instance, just a few months earlier, Steve having the Washington Post route, I used to help him on Sunday morning, and we had an incident a half block away, where a young man jumped us, or took off, got in the station wagon while we were on the tailgate putting papers together, took off in the wagon, and without realizing what was wrong, I ran after him, and jumped in the back and we ended up going up at the corner of someone's yard before we stopped. Here came the mother out in her nightgown, and this is about 5:45 in the morning, crying, running down the sidewalk, because she had seen him, it was her son who had done this.
Of course I didn't know he was on drugs. But she called the police and they took him into the hospital in Fairfax and they did let him out on Feekends. But two weekends later, by him coming out on weekends, he was right back on drugs again, and that weekend he thought he was flying and jumped off a water tower and killed himself.
So when you get into something like this, and knowing what it can do to you, when it is that close to home, it really bothers you, if you are parents that do care about your child, and I think I am one of those type parents.
So, anyway, it did strain relations throughout the family. In fact, I think it came close to two or three times causing a divorce between my wife and I and we have been married for over 25 years. In fact, we have a 25-year-old daughter who has been teaching school a couple of vears now. Bi we had no problems with the two older ones, and with Steve being a boy, the third one, I don't know, it is just something that can happen to anyone in any phase of life, I think.
And of course we threatened Steve with urine tests, alcohol, any alcohol we had in the house we locked up, we did anything to try to cut down. But that wasn't getting at the root of the problem. What he needed was to get involved in a drug treatment program, like he got into, or at least I believed that, because we weren't getting anywhere, and as far as saying whether the family should get involved in drug treatment, yes, I very definitely think that. Because unless a mother and father can understand why their child is doing this, and try to communicate with them, and work with them in that drug treatment program, I don't think they are able to cope with each other and able to live with each other again after continuing a year or two later.
So I very definitely think it is important that the family be involved in some type of drug treatment program. We still go to counseling every other Thursday evening for an hour and a half with other parents. And it helps, in talking over their problems and our problems, and having someone there to help us.
So I do think it is very important the family get in on the treatment.
Mr. GILMAN. We want to thank you, Steve, and Mr. Rugenstein, for your comments and for your willingness to share some of your experience with the committee. And also thank Ms. Scrafford of the Crossroads program.
Steve, how frequently were you using PCP at the time you went in to get some help?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. I was using it like one or twice a week. I was still more or less scared of the effects it had.
Mr. GILMAN. How long would the effect of the PCP linger after you used it?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. Well, it would vary, because it is something I want to explain, you are not sure, even if I was thinking it was on a status with heroin, a lot of times people take parsley flakes and put Raid, bug spray, whatever they can find, to find some money, and people don't know what they are smoking, you know. That is what I think is so dangerous about it.
Also, I wanted to give an instance of like one time it wasn't my personal experience, but it was involved with another friend of mine, he had snorted some PCP and it lasted for more or less 5 hours, that is what they tell you. For me, it lasted about 11/2 to 2 hours. But what happened to him was he was in school, and he had snorted it, he went out in the snow and laid there for 212 to 3 hours, just laid there in the snow. I can't remember for sure, but I think he had frozen his hand, one of his hands. But you know, the effects are really, I guess you could say devastating, the more that you think about it, for a little act, because you don't really know what you are getting into when you smoke the parsley flakes or snort it. You are not sure if it is PCP or not. That is what I think is bad.
Mr. GILMAN. Steve, how many of your classmates would you estimate were using PCP at the time you went in for treatment?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. I wasn't sure how many. I could tell you maybe of my friends, people that I knew that were using it, I could say like from 20 to 40 people that I knew that were using it. Most people that I knew were using that or into something harder or just as hard.
Mr. GILMAN. Do you have any idea what percentage of your classmates were using it?
Mr. STEVE RUGENSTEIN. I couldn't really say about PCP. I would say marihuana and PCP. I am not sure. I would say about one-sixth of the whole school.
Mr. GILMAN. Were you experimenting at all in making PCP?