Anything is Possible –

July 19, 2018 – LESLIE AGANS WAS desperate. Her teenage son, Michael, had once been a good student and terrific ice hockey player in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. But he’d become a deceitful, unmotivated, unpredictable and sometimes violent adolescent whose life was imploding thanks to his daily marijuana use. (U.S. News is identifying Agans by her maiden name and her son by his middle name to protect the family’s privacy.) In 2016, when Michael was 15, Agans coaxed him into an outpatient drug rehabilitation program. He went to one session and refused to return. Agans lined up eight therapists for her son. One after the other, the boy would meet with a therapist, then refuse to see him or her again. Michael began routinely sneaking out of the house to smoke pot; then, he started using it in his bedroom.

In June, Agans spoke again with a local police chief with whom she’d confided in about Michael’s behavior. He reminded her about past conversations in which he had suggested she consider using Article 53, a Pennsylvania law that allows parents to petition a judge to place a minor child into drug treatment against his or her will. Initially, Agans recoiled from the idea of forcing her son into a program through a court order. But Michael’s upcoming 18th birthday caused her to reconsider…

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