By Leigh Russell

JR: Downhill Fast 

            Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  More money than you can ever spend, a father with a rap sheet as long as your arm, and virtually no jail time.  A father who owns half the town, and has been married to every beautiful woman in it, at least twice.  Hmm, I'd feel like I could get away with anything, too. 

            Adam Chandler Jr. is not the typical teenager.  On the contrary, he is becoming every bit his father's son.  His older sister is a TV star, his step father is one of the richest men in the country, and his step mother runs one of the most popular television stations in the state, and not surprisingly, JR's got a little bit of an ego. 

            From the moment he was born, Adam Chandler Sr. has had plans for his son.  Raised by his mother, Dixie Martin, and her on-again off-again husband, Tad the Cad, JR didn't have a steady male role model until his early teens.  Tad and Dixie remarried, and his own father seemed to be behaving himself--for the moment.  All was right in Pine Valley, and JR was finally happy.  But these things didn't last long. 

            JR entered the realm of high-school, and moved into the big leagues, way too fast, and way too early.  His mother's very public affair with the dastardly doc David Hayward and his father's one night stand with psycho Leslie Coulson humiliated JR among his friends and family, and his heart was broken when first-time crush Bianca Montgomery, announced to the world that she preferred the fairer sex.  Disillusioned with the world in general, and utterly confused by everyone around him, JR turned to the one thing he did understand--drugs.  It only takes one time to get hooked, and JR got all too used to the feelings of freedom he mistakenly thought he found in using.           

            Supplied with nearly endless cash from an unaware Adam, JR was able to feed his growing habit, if not for his own personal use, for acceptance among the older kids who had taken him into their select group.  Soon, he upped the ante to XTC a popular, yet deadly drug that could give him escape from all his troubling emotions.  One by one, however, those closest to JR began to pay the price for his actions.  First, his older sister Hayley, and her baby.  She suffered a back injury while involuntarily on a joyride with her wayward brother.  After his father's help passing a drug test, JR tried to regain some control.  He managed to get himself pulled into another dangerous web, however, that of David Hayward.  Trying to reunite his family and destroy David, and always looking for his peers' approval, JR and his friends broke into David's hotel room, and stole prescription drugs from his medical bag.  When one of his friends nearly died of an overdose, JR got a strong dose of reality.  This, coupled with meaningful attempts at intervention by Liza and Hayley, and community service projects, JR seemed well on the road to recovery.  But he quickly succumbed to peer pressure and began using again, this time buying an XTC filled "candy" necklace. 

            Next, his brother Jamie, cousin Petey, and his mother, nearly took the lethal candy-like pills, laced and cut with an unknown and dangerous drug, greatly compromising their lives.  This was enough to make JR and Adam stand up and take notice.  Dixie began accompanying her son to therapy sessions, and Tad is feverously tracking down the man who sold drugs to his step son in the first place.   

            But how did JR, a good kid with a good head on his shoulders, fall so far so fast?  Was it that he was disillusioned with his vision of a perfect mother?  Dixie's affair forced JR to see that his mother was falliable, a real woman with real human desires and needs that made real, human mistakes.  He hasn't taken well to this realization, however, and the results have become disastrous.  JR even began using his father's tried and true methods of bribery, threats, and manipulation to get what he wants--but that won't save his step father, Tad, when he's brought up on charges for the murder of Sweeney, JR's drug dealer. 

            So how can JR be helped? Right now, it seems only his sister and fellow, albeit recovering, addict, can help.  She knows JR needs to hit rock bottom before he can begin to recover, and because of her open honesty, and understanding nature, Hayley seems to be the likely candidate for bringing JR back from the edge.  Hopefully his sister can set him right, but it looks like he's got a lot farther to fall.


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