From your point of view as a parent, it probably seems like the school year just started. But in the eyes of your teenaged children, it has been an eternity since the year began, and the last day of school cannot come any sooner. The older that kids get, the more likely they are to become consumed by the boredom and ennui of the end of the school year. This is especially true of 12th graders who more often than not develop a case of “senioritis,” the “who cares?” attitude that characterizes many students who are coming into the final stretch of their time in school and who would rather do anything than study. Continue reading
I’ve just read through a dozen interviews from Narconon graduates in which they describe how and why they started using drugs. These interviews make so very clear that it’s incredibly easy for a young person to decide to just go along with what everyone else is doing – drinking, smoking pot, even using much stronger and more deadly drugs.
If a child does not understand clearly and with conviction why using drugs is dangerous and has not made a firm decision to remain drug-free, then anything can happen.
How Kids Can Begin Using Drugs
Let me share a few of these quotes with you.
“In high school, I started smoking marijuana with my friends. They told me there was nothing wrong with it, that it was kind of normal and everybody was doing it. So I just kind of joined in and started smoking marijuana.”
“How I started using marijuana, I was in middle school, around 12 years old, didn’t really know who I was as a person. I looked around to see what I wanted to be like, what I wanted to strive to be. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be a social person. And that’s one of the reasons I started using marijuana.”
“So I started using marijuana, I was a freshman in high school. I was out partying and drinking and somebody had weed there. So I smoked it. My decisions weren’t the best, I was a little drunk. And then a couple of days later my buddy was like, ‘Hey, you want to smoke again?’ I was like, ‘Sure, I guess.’ I’d done it before.”
But that’s not as far as it usually goes. What should really concern a parent is how easy it was to transition to harder, more addictive and deadlier drugs. Here’s how our graduates described this progression to using heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.
“As far as the transition from smoking pot every day to using harder drugs, I had run into somebody who said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some opium,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Opium, that’s cool, it’s like pot times ten.’ And before I knew it, we were sitting in my car smoking heroin. And then he’s like, ‘So man, we just did heroin.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ You know what I mean, because I had no idea. But it felt incredible, and I was like, ‘Oh, cool.’”
“I started smoking pot to fit in with everybody. And it looked like everybody was having a good time. And they told me, ‘Nobody’s died from smoking pot.’ So I did it and it progressed into cocaine and heroin and my life was just downhill.”
“From then on, it just kind of snowballed. I became okay with using other things, this that and the other. It’s not like I set out to be a heroin addict, I don’t think anyone does but it ended up that way. Before I knew it I was too deep to pull myself out.”
“My thing with starting with methamphetamine – my best friend started. Her sister started using it, they started hanging out a lot and I felt like I was losing my best friend so my curiosity grew really strong. I was pretty much determined to use it at that point so I could see what they were doing that seemed like so much fun. Yeah, so it was pretty easy to use it after I had used all the other stuff.”
Talking About Substance Abuse in the Home
I know it’s not the easiest thing to talk to your kids about drugs. But these stories show what can happen if you don’t.
The first thing you need to do is to learn about the drugs that are out there right now, drugs that your kids might be offered. And take the time to explain the effects and dangers associated with each drug.
To help you, we have created quick guides to understanding prescription drug abuse…
… and marijuana.
You can find complete guides to different drugs and how to talk to your children about them below:
Stimulants like methamphetamine or Ritalin: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/stimulants/
Synthetic drugs like Spice or “bath salts”: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/synthetics/
Boo! Did we scare you? Probably not. Words on a screen tend to not be too frightening. But it is the fright season. Oh yes, it’s Halloween. The leaves are falling. The days are shortening. The ghosts are coming out of the shadows. Fake spider webs deck porches. Parties are being planned. Costumes built and designed. It’s exciting. In a short while the streets will be filled with small vampires, werewolves, ghosts, superheroes, princesses, characters, puns, and other disguises of all sorts. They’ll walk from door to door, coming for your candy. Beware, some really will play “tricks” if they don’t get their “treats.” It’s time to prepare yourself. Continue reading
National Family Partnership (NFP) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 by a small group of concerned parents. They were determined to play a leadership role in drug prevention. Nancy Reagan was an honorary Chair of NFP. Since its founding over thirty years ago, NFP has always been working towards the well-being of today’s youth. The NFP is a national leader in both drug prevention education and advocacy. “Our mission is to lead and support our nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth.” One campaign that the NFP is well known for is the Red Ribbon Campaign. In fact, this year’s Red Ribbon Week is the last full week in October. Continue reading
Drug use can break down a user’s body over time and cause his mind to disintegrate as well, and sometimes this process is a long time coming. A drug user doesn’t always notice the changes overnight—they can take weeks, months or years to appear.
In other cases, though, drug use can cause immediate harm and death. The most obvious example is when a drug user overdoses. This means that the person takes too much of a drug and the effect he or she is going for is multiplied far beyond the level of “safety” (or, in other words, multiplied beyond the usual level of harm it would already inflict.) Drugs like heroin, for example, can suppress the respiratory system—they make it harder to breathe. If an addict takes too much heroin, or even painkilling drugs available at a pharmacy, he can suppress his breathing so far that he goes unconscious and dies. This is a drug overdose. Continue reading
There are some signs of improvement in recent surveys of teenage drug abuse, but those improvements are offset by areas in which the situation is worse. When the situation is viewed as a whole, what is obvious is that our young people are not getting the message that drug use is destructive.
For example, alcohol abuse by teens is down. But marijuana and Ecstasy abuse are higher, in fact, marijuana use has been increasing for the last four years straight.
The latest news shows one specific teenage drug abuse statistic that is even more shocking. A new survey has found that nearly one in ten teenagers in the US is a heavy marijuana smoker, meaning that the person uses the drug on 20 or more occasions each month. Earlier surveys on this subject showed far fewer teens being heavy users.
It is just possible that teens are affected by the medicalization of marijuana that has swept across sixteen states. Does the average teenager decide that marijuana must be harmless because doctors prescribe it for sick people? For teenage drug abuse to be based on this conclusion would not be surprising.
What is a problem is that teens understand so little about the effects of abusing marijuana. This can only mean that there is not enough education for teens on the actual effects they can suffer if they use this or any other drug.
For example, with marijuana, young people can lose the ability to think clearly or to focus on the task at hand, to learn or to remember what was learned. It can cause short-term memory loss and depression. At the time of their lives they should be learning and setting goals to achieve, teens may instead be short-changing themselves.
Other Survey Shows that Prescription Drug Abuse Holds Steady
It might be possible to spin steady prescription drug abuse statistics as good news but in fact, it means that too many young people are abusing prescription drugs. Drugs like OxyContin, hydrocodone, Xanax and Valium have the ability to cause overdose deaths or withdrawal symptoms like life-threatening seizures.
In all, half of high school seniors have tried an illicit drug by the time they graduate. In college, entirely new challenges present themselves. College campuses are fertile grounds for substance abuse. Fraternities and sororities still have alcohol-fueled parties, despite the number of colleges that try to regulate or outlaw the practice, and prescription stimulants are widely used on many campuses as enhancements to the ability to stay awake long hours and cram for tests.
But every one of the drugs mentioned so far is addictive and can land a person in a drug rehab center. Even marijuana, thought by some to not be addictive, sends more than a hundred thousand youth between the ages of 12 and 17 to rehab each year. More than 200,000 are 25 or younger.
Narconon Alcohol Treatment and Drug Treatment Can Help Correct the Trend
Around the world, there are more than fifty Narconon alcohol treatment and drug treatment centers that help people who have gotten on the wrong track come all the way back. The Narconon program is a long-term program that is residential in most locations. There are never any drugs used in the Narconon alcohol treatment or drug treatment program. The only thing given to those in recovery are nutritional supplements to help rebuild the body that was damaged by drug abuse and support the recovering person’s mood.
In most centers there are also drug educators that go out to schools, clubs and civic groups in their areas and educate young people on the real results of drug abuse. Giving kids the facts has proven effective in helping them make up their own minds to stay sober.
From Narconon Vista Bay in California to Narconon Taiwan, seven out of ten graduates of this rehab program stay sober after they go home. Find out how you can help someone someone with drug addiction. Contact Narconon at 1-800-775-8750 today.
Parents should take note of recent reports on drug abuse among teens and young adults and also those that find that when parents speak out against drug abuse, drug abuse statistics are lower.
According to the most recent Monitoring the Future report on drug use among our schoolchildren, by the time they graduate from high school, more than half have abused an illicit drug or prescription drug. Is there anything parents should do to prevent drug use among their children or should they just rely on home or school drug tests?
Certainly parents come in all shapes and sizes. Some hope their children will not use drugs, some are too wrapped up in other concerns to pay much attention to the matter and some take effective action to fight drug or alcohol abuse by their children. It can be hard to tell which path is the most effective.
Is the best route to skip drug education and simply administer frequent drug tests? Certainly drug tests are in the news recently, as the Ohio School Board deliberated on the best method of using random drug tests among students in performance and competitive events. And in Florida, debate continued over whether or not it was proper to give welfare recipients drug tests as a condition of receiving their benefits.
On this point, parents can look to recent reports from the National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) for evidence of what methods are available to them to prevent drug abuse by their children.
According to CASA, something as simple as family dinners together makes a big difference. Look at this comparison, for example. CASA compared teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week) with those who have fewer than three per week.
Teens with fewer family dinners are:
- Nearly four times as likely to use tobacco
- More than twice as likely to drink alcohol
- More than twice as likely to smoke marijuana
- Almost four times as likely to say they expect to use drugs at some point in the future.
CASA’s surveys also show that it is essential for parents to agree on their drug use and alcohol use messages. When parents do not agree completely on their anti-drug message to teens, those children are 3.5 times more likely to expect to use drugs in the future. When parents don’t agree on an anti-alcohol use message, teens are twice as likely to drink as other children whose parents do agree.
Narconon Centers Sponsor Drug Education Classes in Hundreds of Schools to Help Reduce Drug Abuse
Along with running centers that provide drug rehabilitation services around the world, Narconon staff from many centers go out into the community to deliver anti-drug messages to young people. From Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma and centers in Southern California and Italy alike, staff teach children of all ages in schools and clubs the dangers of illicit or prescription drug abuse or alcohol abuse. When the anti-drug curriculum is from Narconon, schools can find that their drug problems drop. A peer-reviewed study, published on the website www.substanceabusepolicy.com, reported on the decrease in drug abuse among students who had received the entire Narconon curriculum.
CASA studies report that a young person who does not start abusing drugs or alcohol until he or she is 21 years old is virtually certain never to do so. The best tools to use to prevent drug or alcohol abuse are accurate lessons in the problems created by substance abuse and parental concern, communication and attention.
Call a center near you to find out more about the Narconon objectives used in the drug education presentations.
http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/publications_reports.aspx: The Importance of Family Dinners VII and National Survey of
American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents
If you believe all the campaigners associated with medical marijuana, cannabis is the most benign of substances. Since it is now legal for people prescribed medical use in sixteen states in the US and has been decriminalized in several other countries, how harmful can it be?
What are the Facts in the Matter?
A recent analysis of studies finds that when it comes to driving, marijuana use makes it more than twice as likely that a driver will have an accident. This compilation and analysis of risk from marijuana use was recently published in Epidemiologic Review and was cited in USA Today. If the marijuana user had also been drinking, there was an even greater chance of an accident. In recent years, the universal trend among drug users has been toward poly-drug use or consumption of more than one drug at a time.
The authors of the study in Epidemiologic Review noted that a large US survey estimated that more than 10 million Americans had driven while under the influence of illicit drugs in the year prior to the survey and that testing of drivers who die from a traffic accident showed that 28 percent test positive for drugs other than alcohol. Among all drivers, 11 percent test positive for drugs other than alcohol. And of these other drugs, marijuana wins the #1 spot.
In addition to the review of this large survey, researchers also evaluated similar studies from six other countries. They concluded that after marijuana use, driving skills are most severely affected for three to four hours after use.
The results of this study cast a somewhat different light on the harmless image of marijuana portrayed by those who endorse decriminalization or liberal medical use of the drug.
Further, the 2011 World Drug Report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime notes a significant increasing number of people who enter addiction treatment for marijuana (cannabis) use in the US. About a third are under 18 years of age. More than half are students and more than half also started using marijuana when they were 14 of younger. Another third started between 15 and 17 years of age.
Perhaps this may be partly due to the fact that the cannabis cultured by drug traffickers today is much stronger than decades past – some say nearly double.
In Europe too, there were a significant number of young people in treatment for addiction to cannabis. Nearly one quarter of all out-patient clients in Europe were being treated for cannabis addiction in 2009, and among the young (ages 15-19) in treatment, 83 percent reported that the primary drug they were having trouble with was cannabis. The majority of cannabis users also reported use of a second drug, usually alcohol or cocaine.
While this news may be sufficient to hit USA Today, it is not anything new. Similar news was reported in 2008 by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. In their 2008 report Non-Medical Marijuana III, CASA stated that the US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reported that “low doses of THC [the active ingredient in marijuana] have been shown to moderately impair the tasks associated with driving, while high doses as well as chronic use produce severe impairment.”
This report went on to note that habitual use of marijuana was found by one study to be associated with a ten-fold risk of injury or death from a traffic accident and in France, an increased risk of being responsible for a fatal crash was found to increase commensurate with the amount of cannabis used.
These adverse effects may be increased even further in young people who are less experienced drivers.
In tests on open and closed courses and simulators, marijuana was shown to cause the following impairments of driving skill and judgment:
- Increase in reactions times
- Decrease in car handling performance
- Reduced motor coordination
- Impaired attention to driving
- Impaired ability to estimate time and distance.
http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/Publications_Reports.aspx#r6: Non-Medical Marijuana III: Rite of Passage or Russian Roulette? (June 2008)
In the US, more than 22 million people use an illicit drug each month, with marijuana leading these numbers. More than two million people start using marijuana in the US each year. Around the world, somewhere between 150 million and 270 million people are drug users, with perhaps three-quarters of these using cannabis. Based on the results of the studies cited in this article, there are millions of impaired drivers and heavy equipment operators at any particular time. Add to this many more impaired people in jobs demanding accurate reaction time and perception, including construction workers operating power equipment, doctors, nurses, airport support staff, boat captains, firefighters and law enforcement, just to mention a few.
When considering legalization, decriminalization or medicalization of a substance that is so widely abused and creates widespread addiction requiring treatment, it would be wise to consider all the effects of the drug before casting a final vote that may be hard to retract later.
If you need help with marijuana addiction or need more information about marijuana, please contact a Narconon marijuana rehab counselor. Narconon treats marijuana addiction naturally.
The Challenge: How do you express to thousands of young people at a children’s fair that staying free from drug use is the right way to go – and keep it fun at the same time?
The Answer: Make it interactive, keep it light, make it voluntary and staff it with great people!
Those were the answers developed for the Narconon Drug Education booth at the Children’s Day Fair at Woodland Park in Van Nuys, California, held from 9 AM to 6 PM on September 17, 2011. News reports placed the number of attendees – children, their parents and interested neighbors – at 50,000. Attractions included young singers and dancers, fire trucks, police motorcycles and a helicopter, an armored Humvee, games and rides. Resource booths providing the community with information ran the gamut from sports, drama, song and dance to anti-gang programs and of course, the Narconon booth education all visitors on the benefits of a drug-free life.
Chipper and cheerful, teen volunteers and Narconon staff greeted fair attendees with the offer of the educational booklet “Ten Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs” and encouragement to sign a drug-free pledge.
More than five hundred young people and their parents signed the drug-free pledge and then got the opportunity to help complete the artwork in the booth. Two drawings of hip-hop youth on banners in the booth were wearing all-white clothing in the morning, but by the end of the fair, pledge signers had gotten to fill in their clothes, shoes and hats with bright colors. Toward the end of the fair day, the bright images giving a “thumbs-down to drugs” and a “thumbs-up to life” were so appealing that some attendees wanted to have their pictures taken with the images.
With local celebrities and entertainers headlining many of the events, the Children’s Fair proved to be an excellent way to convey the drug-free message to thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley. You can be sure that there will be another booth at next year’s event!
Narconon graduate shares why he started doing drug education.
You know, drug education for me was foreign in the beginning because I’m so used to working with adults. I said, “What am I going to talk to a little kid about?” Then once I started doing it, I realized I could turn around a person in 45 minutes with giving him a piece of data that he didn’t have before. And I’m coming from experience. I’m not a police man out there telling them don’t do drugs. I’m telling them why. And then I’m asking them if they got it. So it’s a two-way flow. And at the end of a program, they will thank me. They will say, “I didn’t know that that poison stays in your body for months or years later. I want to be an athlete. I don’t want to do that.”
Why did you start doing drug education?
Why? Because uh. First of all, working with Bobby Wiggins was pretty cool. Once I started doing it, I realized that to get around to them before they lose their freedom. When they’re still curious. They’re brand-new. They’re looking at it and it doesn’t seem so bad. So if I can get in a classroom when they’re still in that classroom setting, and they’re still young and they still have careers that they’re dreaming of, if I can give them a piece of data as to what exactly they’re going to get involved with, ooh, then most of them are smart enough to figure out, don’t do that. I’ll also spot the other one with his eyes on the ground and that’s the one selling the dope. And I’ll talk to him too. But I spot him also. So you can figure out how to save lives real quickly. I got involved with it because it’s necessary, and it’s probably the most effective thing we can do to actually stop it before they come in the front door.
There are hundreds of thousands of Narconon drug education success stories from students who said they will no longer use drugs now they they understand the real effects and dangers.
Contact a Narconon drug education and rehabilitation center near you to schedule a Narconon drug education presentation.