Tulsa Family Tells Dr. Phil Of Son's Prescription Drug Abuse
By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa family is home Thursday night after talking to Dr. Phil earlier this week about their son's painkiller addiction.
Nineteen-year-old Michael Weatherford went to an intensive outpatient rehab program the day after taping the show.
Michael Weatherford is a kid who went to Union, played baseball, got good grades, but then became a drug addict. He is not addicted to drugs you buy on the street, but drugs you find in your own medicine cabinet.
Michael Weatherford's first step down the slippery slope of drug use was taking drugs prescribed for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. He didn't have a prescription, but plenty of his friends did.
"They're all over the school. Kids say I'm sleepy, ‘well take this, it'll wake you up a little bit,’” said Rick Weatherford, Michael’s father.
Last year, 1.3 million of these pills were prescribed in Oklahoma. For kids who don't have the symptoms, the drugs give them a high.
Michael moved from that to other drugs before finally landing on painkillers.
"Got to the point he was doing Oxycontin, and when you get to that point - you're in bad shape. There is no quitting," Rick said.
The Weatherfords realized how bad it was when they learned Michael had stolen a wedding ring from a friend's parents and pawned it. He also stole from them and lied repeatedly.
Rick and Joanne kicked him out twice and put him in rehab - an unending nightmare.
"When I was talking to him and said ‘where's Michael, I want Michael back, where's my son at?’ his response was, ‘Michael's not coming back.’ It still breaks me up," said Rick Weatherford, Michael’s father.
With no solution in sight, Rick wrote his story and sent it to the Dr. Phil show. Dr. Phil invited the family to be on the show.
"When we were sitting there before the show, we said he's going to tear us apart, and I said to Joanne,’ we've been through hell the past 18 months, nothing he can say to us will be worse than that,’" Rick said.
The show aired November 3, and Dr. Phil was tough. Michael agreed to go to an eight-week program and is there now.
Rick says if it doesn't work this time, they've told Michael he can't come back home; he'll be on his own. He hopes their story will somehow help other families.
Dr. Phil told Michael if he successfully completes the program, he'd like him to come back on the show.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics says more than 12 million painkiller pills have been prescribed in our state so far this year. That's more than three times our population.