It’s not hard to find controversial opinions about America’s war on drugs. The dialogue on the subject gets passionate, argumentative and even downright combative at time. Some people argue that we need a highly militarized solution to the trafficking of drugs. Other people say that drugs should be legalized, that this will somehow cure the problem.
Neither one of these seem like solutions. We do know one thing, however: the most vital war on drugs is fought at home. Parents fight this war to protect their children.
Outside the home, most children of twelve and older will see some kids their age and older using drugs or drinking. While they are in single digits, they may hear from another child how cool it is to find spray cans or cleaning supplies around the home and inhale the fumes. The chance that they will someday walk into a home where there are drunk or stoned young people is about 100%. Continue reading
For nearly 30 years now, Americans from throughout the nation have been taking part in an event known alternately as the Red Ribbon Campaign or the National Red Ribbon Campaign. Since 1985, the event has commemorated the tragic death of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena, who was brutally tortured and murdered by agents of a drug cartel while he was serving on duty in Mexico. The beginnings of the Red Ribbon Campaign were in a spontaneous movement, in which Americans of all ages and from all walks of life started wearing red ribbons as a way to commemorate Camarena and spread awareness of the violence of the war on drugs and how many lives are being ruined or destroyed by the fight between law enforcement and the drug cartels. Continue reading
Today, somewhere around 23 million Americans need help for drug or alcohol addiction. Only about one in ten people will find the help they need. The other 22 million will continue to struggle and always live with the threat of an overdose or injury while impaired.
America and many other countries have long histories of alcohol consumption – including, of course, abuse, addiction and overdose deaths all along the way. Some countries have long histories as well of drug use, such as Ethiopia’s use of khat and some Native Americans’ use of peyote. Where does sobriety fit into our current culture? Drugs and alcohol have been used for several thousand years. Is there any reason we should try to curb this tendency?
There is every reason. The biggest reason of all is our children. If you stand back and look at our current society, you may see more pro-drug influences than ones endorsing and supporting drug-free living. Every year, there are more movies and television shows featuring drug-using characters, often without emphasizing the spiritual, mental and moral wreckage that accompanies that use. A steady diet of drug advertisements on television reinforces the message that drugs are an easy, instant solution to whatever ails one. Continue reading
Narconon Redwood Cliffs participated at the Monterey County Fair over Labor Day weekend with a drug education and prevention booth. They were among the many organizations and vendors that set up shop on the 22-acre Monterey County Fair & Event Center, a beautiful outdoor setting with the iconic California oak trees situated only a short distance from downtown Monterey and the Pacific ocean. The Monterey County Fair is part of a tradition dating back to 1935, and over the past eight decades the venue has hosted musical acts ranging from Duke Ellington to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana and more. The fair is a major event on the yearly calendar for the community in Monterey County and the surrounding areas, and people flock from far and wide to spend a fun-filled weekend with friends and family. All told, there are usually around 75,000 people who attend the Monterey County Fair, making it one of the largest public events in the region every year. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing comments on Facebook and Twitter about a National Leadership Conference for Young People in Recovery that’s being held right now in Denver. Young People in Recovery is a national organization that invites people to establish chapters in their town that provide support for teens and young adults in recovery and teaches them how to act as advocates for social change.
As I look through Facebook, I see mentions of young people flying in to Denver from Young People in Recovery Chapters all over the country: New Jersey, Texas, Chicago, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Wisconsin, Maine, and more.
From the pictures of these teams of people arriving in Denver, there’s a lot of scrubbed faces and enthusiastic teens involved in this activity. In their home towns, they put on all kinds of events and races and attend street fairs to distribute drug prevention meetings. They advocate for better care for the addicted, more funding for treatment, and organize support at a grassroots level. Continue reading
Maryland has long struggled with a heroin problem. In fact, the Baltimore inner city has been renowned as a center of heroin abuse and addiction for many years. It’s not uncommon for multiple generations in the same family to seek help for addiction at the same time. But as opiate painkillers introduced a broad spectrum of people to a dependence on this type of drug, heroin abuse has followed and spread across the Maryland landscape. After all, there are drugstores in every town in every state in the US. And far too many states have unscrupulous doctors who are willing to make the money by selling prescriptions for addictive substances. The migration to heroin is seen as necessary when money sources dry up, because heroin is so much cheaper than pills.
Even though Maryland already had a high rate of heroin abuse, recent news reports state that there has been an 88% increase in heroin-related overdoses in a two year period. This increase really takes the problem to a fever pitch in the state. Continue reading
Your kids probably will not come right out and ask you this question. Most kids are going to believe what they hear from other kids and see happening right in front of them: Their friends are smoking pot or drinking and seem to be having fun. Or maybe a friend suggests that they sniff some markers and get goofy or someone has some pills that they say help you “chill out.”
It’s unfortunate that in today’s world, keeping kids safe from drug abuse is very close to the top of the list of a parent’s responsibilities. Many parents may not be well prepared to carry out this education. Or they may count on schools to do the job. Different drug education presentations have different levels of success. Plus a drug education presentation may not fully reflect a parent’s beliefs. So even if a school offers drug education classes, it’s really up to a parent more than anyone else to do this job. Continue reading
Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was inconceivable that the average American would be addicted to heroin. It was only something that maybe people out on the fringes of society would do. Maybe bikers or jazz musicians or people who spent a lot of time in jail.
This never really was the truth, but it was the impression most middle class Americans had. No one THEY knew would ever use heroin, much less be addicted to it.
Fast forward to this decade. The growing heroin problem in this country is overwhelming public health departments. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a news article about a state or county that is trying to come to grips with overdose deaths and drug trafficking. Like this article from The Pocono Record: Continue reading
I’m watching the headlines these days and there’s so much about this drug or that – Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death triggered plenty of media coverage on the increase in heroin abuse. Zohydro is in the news as a future opiate painkiller formulation that has the potential to be easily abused by anyone with a taste for opiates. Medical marijuana is approved in state after state and several more states have this initiative on the ballot. One celebrity after another is cited or goes to jail for a DUI until it seems like no one is left sober.
After a while, it gets to be overwhelming.
What if we didn’t focus so narrowly on one drug or another? What if we just focused on one thing: raising a new generation that knows better than to pick up a drug or drink before they are legal age? 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