Stopping Drug Use – Primer for Parents-

It’s summer, when kids should be able to run free. “Should be able” is the operative phrase here, unfortunately. – No parent would ever wish drug abuse on their child; the thought that their beloved newborn could turn out to be a drug user, terrifies every responsible, loving parent!
Today, marijuana pervades our teens world; your children are the targets of those who promote drugs. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of websites promoting marijuana; these websites ridicule the scientific studies; they ridicule the war on drugs, convincing many that nothing can be done to stop drug use.
Primarily, what parents need to know is: Prevention works.
Parents and grandparents can normally prevent the tragedy that comes from drug use, but they must not only educate themselves, they need to become actively and aggressively part of the anti-drug community, for drug use has now reached a pandemic stage among youth.
The average age of first use of any drug in America is 12. The first drugs of use are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, all “gateway drugs,” and are accepted as an accurate predictor of potential future drug use.
What Can Be Done?
Use the tragedies around us to teach our children!

1. First, make sure your children know that use of any drugs is unacceptable – that participating in drug use will close any number of doors which would normally be open to them throughout their lives – that it can limit their choices, having a permanent impact on their lives.
2. In front of your children, talk about the parents whose children have become users and the pain and grieving their parents are going through! If the chance occurs, let them experience it first hand, by being with you when you visit with those parents; let them experience the pain.
3. Set rules and consequences and be consistent about enforcing them. Explain to them how the world works – regarding how education and schooling, is preparing them to support and provide for their future families.
4. Role play with them, giving them effective ways to say “no”! Peer pressure will be on them much earlier than you expect.
5. Instill leadership qualities; some children naturally tend to be followers; teach them not to.
6. Understand the pressures: the alcohol, tobacco industries and marijuana promoters know that if one is drug free at 21, it’s unlikely they will ever use drugs – children are targets and peer pressure is real.
7. Become involved with your children’s environment:
a) Schools; make sure their policies clearly promote drug-free youth.
b) Internet: monitor their use; there are many good tracking programs.
c) Music: listen to it, not only theirs, but their friends; and if you suspect lyrics, search them out online – you’ll be amazed!Music for example is one of the underpinnings of promoting drug use (as well as of other anti-social behaviors).
d) Reading: visit your library or buy and read a couple issues of “High Times” to see how pot is being presented to youth! Actively speak out against, and challenge all things which promote the acceptance of drugs – paraphernalia and hemp products.
e) Closely monitor their well-supervised and age-appropriate whereabouts; contract with them that you will be there and never complain if they ever encounter a situation where they’re in the presence of drug use – that you’ll pick them up immediately. Learn to say “no” to their requests.
Basically, engage life; support the safe environment in your community.
Now comes the hard part – if in case we loose a battle, and an older child begins to use, statistically, that child will very likely pass the drug on to younger children!
When a child begins to use and there are younger children in the home, that child needs to be put into a program to get them off and keep them off all drugs – for the sake of the younger children in the home, yet this is useless without regular testing! If they relapse, for the safety of the other children, they need to leave the home – that relates back to the #1 item above – they’ve been warned that if they’ve made a choice to violate rules, they’re old enough to not live at home.
Source: 28th June 2009

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