ANGEL DUSTED: A Family's Nightmare by Ursula Etons

ANGEL DUSTED: A Family's Nightmare

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Ursula Etons"" is the pseudonym of a carefully self-congratulatory Long Island mother who nursed her son out of a drug-induced psychosis--the result of pot laced with a moderate dose of PCP (angel dust). The hospitals and doctors with whom she battled were frighteningly inept and altogether unequal to 19-year-old Owen's problems: violence, paranoia, abdication from the ""real world"" in favor of compulsive symbolism and ritual repetitions. Most frightening of all--and a danger to which the author seems totally oblivious--is the use of drugs as antidotes for drugs, ad infinitum. Owen's reactions to Haldol and Thorazine were so severe that at many points it was difficult to separate symptoms from side effects, causes from cures. After eight up-and-down weeks in the hospital, he returned home to make the long, slow climb to normality--the gradual return to normal dopamine levels in the brain. The author, who herself resorted to Lithium to ""feel happy again"" (""Give me some of your magic""), preaches from the start against marijuana's deleterious effects on the brain; but the stern lecture crumbles when juxtaposed with her absolution of Owen as the victim of naughty, seductive ""peer pressure."" Mom also seems only too glad to prove herself more perceptive than the experts (""He was getting sicker and sicker, and no one would believe me""), or to dramatize her love for her son: ""Don't cry, my sweet prince. . . ."" More matter with less art would have come across better.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1979
Publisher: Macmillan