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Rehab chief: Prince Charles showed 'responsible parenting'

Bill Puddicombe of Phoenix House UK  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's Prince Harry, 17, reportedly has told his father, Prince Charles, that he has smoked marijuana and illegally drank alcoholic beverages.

Bill Puddicombe, chief executive of Phoenix House UK, told CNN on Monday that the teen-ager visited a facility of the drug rehabilitation organization last summer on the orders of his father, the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne.

PUDDICOMBE: Prince Harry spent about two hours at our center. He looked around the center with one of the people who was living there, who was going through the recovery program from addiction to heroin. He spent time speaking with the people who were there.

He saw some artwork which people had done. It was very graphic. People portrayed their struggle with hard drugs and the frustration of addiction. And then he went finally into a small confidential session where people talk about life experiences and what addiction left them with and about looking forward to the future.

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We were asked to set up a visit. We were asked to do so in order so that the prince could see our center. The revelations in the newspapers Sunday are as much news to us as anyone else, so it was a royal visit rather than a counseling session.

I think we accept that a lot of teen-agers experiment with alcohol and with other drugs, so in that respect, we could call it normal behavior. But I think it's very important that we recognize that as soon as we become aware of that behavior, we give them information about what the possible consequences of drug use could be. I think speaking to people who have addictions is a good way to give them an idea of the way you could end up if drugs start controlling you.

It was a piece of responsible parenting by the Prince of Wales in order to show his son the kind of work we do and the consequences of drug use.

Prince Harry was certainly actively interested in what goes on at the center, and the main thing that people came away with was a great liking for him. He was very relaxed and friendly with people there, and they warmed up to him a great deal.




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