Both parents and educators are often challenged with determining whether a teen is using drugs. With the widespread availability and abuse of prescription drugs and now heroin, today it is more critical than ever to know if a young person is involved in substance abuse. Intervening is sometimes a matter of life or death.
Teachers and educators may not have access to a student’s belongings, but this information could be helpful in discussing with a parent whose child you suspect may be using.
There have been many debates as to whether marijuana is a gateway drug. Proponents of marijuana legalization will say no, there is no evidence of this. It may be true that there are plenty of people who smoke marijuana and never go on to using other drugs. But the fact remains that marijuana itself is a drug, which essentially is a toxin and people, youth especially, shouldn’t be using drugs. It’s really as simple as that. But what about the rest who were led to believe that smoking weed is no big deal (or that it’s actually good for you), and because of this do go on to become hardcore drug addicts? What about those individuals who lose their lives due to overdose?
It doesn’t strike people down like pills or heroin does. It doesn’t make the heart explode like cocaine or methamphetamine can. A person in withdrawal from marijuana isn’t screaming in pain. So what makes weed the most dangerous?
Simply because so many people believe that it is harmless. As Richard Adamski, a 30-year marijuana user, put it, “In my strong opinion, cannabis is the most dangerous drug because most people think it isn’t.” Now that he’s stopped consuming cannabis, he says, “I am 66 now and nothing to show for what I’ve done in my life because of marijuana.”
The following are five of the most important actions parents can take to keep kids safe from underage alcohol use.
1. You should clearly express your position on alcohol abuse.
There must be no question that you have a 100% expectation that your children will stay alcohol-free until they are 21 years of age. Surveys have shown that this clarity is a decisive factor in reducing underage alcohol use. According to the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, a teen whose parents would not be extremely upset to find out their kids were drinking is ten times more likely to drink than one who says his parents would get extremely upset with him. Be crystal clear. Repeat the message from time to time.
The drugs you see in the headlines are heroin, painkillers, and marijuana but ecstasy (MDMA) is still harming and even killing our teens and young adults, making it vital to remind active and mobile youth of the damage this strong stimulant can cause.
Ecstasy is a popular party and music event drug. The full name of the drug is 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine so it may be referred to as MDMA. Its other nickname – ecstasy – is a clever allusion to the false sense of empathy and affinity this drug gives you for other people.
Raising awareness to look for signs of drug use
No one wants to believe their child will become a drug addict. For many parents, it may seem like a remote possibility, their son or daughter does well in school, participates in extra curricular activities, and aside from the usual teenage rebellion appears to be headed on the right path. Yet there are countless stories online about young people who became addicted to opiates or other drugs, and much to our great sadness those who overdosed.
Parents need to be aware that any child is susceptible to drug use these days and look for the signs. The environment and culture in which we live today can overpower the positive guidance and influence a parent has provided for their child.
This year Red Ribbon Week runs October 23rd through the 31st. An annual event since it’s inception in 1985, this week provides an opportunity for schools and groups throughout the nation to participate in drug awareness activities and show their support for being drug-free.
The Red Ribbon campaign began in honor of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, who was killed while working uncover in Mexico. Parents and youth across the U.S. began wearing red ribbons in honor of his sacrifice and in an effort to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs.
Our youth have been hearing anti-drug messages from the time they are old enough to know what drugs are. They have heard extensively about how drugs are bad for them, drugs are dangerous, how they can kill you. Kids are also not sheltered from the news of drug overdoses or hearing about this happening to someone they know.
No Child Says “I Want to be an Addict When I Grow Up”.
In their younger years, most children will adamantly tell you that they will NEVER take drugs. Yet here are those same kids as teens, after years of education and hearing about all the dangers, now willing to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Those are our same kids who end up addicted, or worse, overdosing.