Tuesday, January 13, 1998
Chilling reminder for drug smug

The Cincinnati Enquirer

One of these days, I'll learn. It will finally sink in that drugs are everywhere. In the unlikeliest places. Such as in the suitcase of a business executive. A Lindner, no less.

When Robert Lindner Jr., president of United Dairy Farmers, was convicted of importing cocaine and marijuana into New Zealand on a family vacation, I'm embarrassed to say I was surprised. He seems so nice, so normal. He has money, position. And he has a family. I should know better.

Judge Deidra Hair, who presides over Hamilton County's innovative drug court, told me once that ''who they are and who they've been doesn't matter. They have a common enemy. Addiction.''

A million dollars ago

I spent a couple of days in her courtroom, and I couldn't tell the defendants from their attorneys. A beautiful young woman in an expensive dressed-for-success suit. A handsome man in a neat blazer. Guilty.

Meanwhile - just like the rich guy - most of them have families. Kids.

Women with preschool children who are in a drug rehab program such as First Step Home in Price Hill can bring the kids along. Older children are shunted off to relatives or put into foster care. Dr. Beatrice Lampkin, one of this city's most distinguished physicians, wondered what would happen if we seized this time to go for a cure.

For everybody.

Drug addiction is a disease, she says, a chronic family illness.

What would happen if, while the mom is getting straight, her children were being treated for the effects her addiction has had on them? Could we loosen the hold drugs have on that family? Glad House. That's what the idea came to be called.

This doctor who already has saved the lives of thousands of children who would have died of leukemia, this woman who has battled cancer so ferociously when it dares strike at - in her soft drawl - the childrun, threw herself into the fray. That was a million dollars ago - big money to raise in less than two years.

The Bea Lampkin squeeze

But this is life or death. And this is Beatrice Lampkin.

She has cheerfully and graciously squeezed everybody she knows. She doesn't have to know them very well. Jackie Donoghue of West Chester is a freelance writer assigned to write a story about Dr. Lampkin. She wound up hosting a shower for Glad House.

Besides money and support and services, the place needed some homey touches, the kind newlyweds get from friends. Ms. Donoghue invited nurses, teachers, a school librarian, secretaries, bookkeepers, stay-at-home moms. They came from Mack and Mason and White Oak and Florence with dishes, mixing bowls, computer programs, afghans, kitchen mitts, a pizza cutter.

These are the essential ingredients for phase 2 of Glad House treatment. Residents of Glad House will be nearly smothered by counseling, schooling and physical and psychological evaluation. Then the mother comes back into her child's life, after she finishes her own rehab. She comes to Glad House, not to live but to learn.

It starts with dinners. The staff teaches the mother how to be a better parent, and the family learns to eat and bond together. ''They have dinner in a family cluster,'' Dr. Lampkin says, ''some of them for the first time.''

This is a very big thing. Just multiply the number of kids by the number of other people in the family, times the number of children they might have, times the number of people they won't rip off to support their habit, times the number of jail cells they won't occupy.

Glad House, on Reading Road in Bond Hill, will be open for customers at the end of this month. It is for families who have battled drugs and alcohol addiction for generations. And for families who never thought they'd have to.

Laura Pulfer's column appears in the Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax 768-8340. She can be heard Mondays on WVXU radio (91.7 FM), and as a commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.