Oct 4, 2010 8:07 PM by Andy Koen

Recovering addict opens up about drug abuse

A recovering drug addict who was caught up in a black tar heroin bust at Cheyenne Mountain High School is sharing his story in hopes of raising awareness for parents and teens.

James Petrakis was one of the former students arrested in the bust in December 15, 2008.

"Just remember a flash bang grenade going off in the car and I thought I was being shot at by the people who I'd just bought from."

Petrakis remembers seeing the SWAT team and feeling lucky to be alive. At the time he was feeding a $150 a day addiction.

"When I got busted I was high and went to jail I woke up sober and I woke up in you know a lot of pain and I had to call my mom again and tell her I'd been arrested and charged with distribution of heroin."

He'd had been arrested on drug charges before and had even tried to sober up, quitting cold turkey.  It lasted about a month.

After the bust at the high school he finally sought professional help.

"It took a lot of really great counseling and a lot of really great people and great programs to help me to figure out that I can't do this by myself."

He's been clean for about 20 months now, is back in college and working toward a degree in political science. His message for parents is to recognize that high schoolers really do use drugs.

"That whole it's not my kid approach is not working anymore because it's going to be too late."

And his message for teens is to understand that drug use can quickly escalate out of control, and that you can't quit on your own.

"Everybody goes at their own pace and, I know, I realized that I had to get arrested twice that I had to go through what I did for me to be able to realize that I need to get sober."

Join us tomorrow evening for a special News First 5 call in night discussing kids and drugs. We'll have a panel of experts on hand from 5-7 pm to answer you questions and direct you to some help. In Colorado Springs call 719-632-5030 and in Pueblo call 719-544-5781.


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