Dispel the Myths About Drug Abuse
External influences on drug and substance abuse are all around us. In pop culture, the media, in movies, from everyone including celebrities, sports figures and public personalities, they may abuse drugs but somehow most seem to always maintain their success. Perhaps we don’t see their struggles or chose to ignore it but whether it is Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen, most of us don’t think it’ll happen to us. Moreover, if it does, media shows us that they can recover with little damage. So how can we counter these influences and keep our children from believing in these deceptive images?
When discussing drugs, explain the facts clearly and concisely, discuss pros and cons of drug use and do not to shy away from more controversial topics about drugs. As teens grow, some may want to speak their mind and others may want nothing to do with that conversation. Regardless, parents need to have it and allow for points of view that may be argumentative or even inaccurate. The key is not to judge, stay calm, listen, keep talking, admit to not knowing or understanding something and find the answers and information together.
What do you tell your children if you’ve used illegal drugs in the past? Kids will certainly ask, so be ready to give an answer. Consider that if you do decide to tell them, your experience might help you be more specific about drug use. You may also want to note for example that marijuana and hash, are many times stronger, less pure today than they were 20 years ago; that medication are prescribed by physicians for people to prevent disease, fight disease or help the body function. These prescription drugs should never be shared. And no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. You and your kids need to be prepared for the reality of drug and alcohol use in your surroundings and be able to make responsible decisions about it.
Making the right choice, saying “no” is never easy. This is especially true for children transitioning from elementary to high school. Consider peer pressure, low self-esteem, wanting to escape difficult or uncomfortable situations, classmates who dabble in high risk activities, drugs and alcohol may seem like a way to face their fears or insecurities. Without the right tools, the facts and the ability to analyze and evaluate situations, resisting tempting invitations can be challenging. The feeling of belonging in any group may feel like it outweighs the risks. As parents, we need to offer alternatives to the need to escape problems by surrounding them with optimism, strong connections to family and community and extracurricular activities.
A few questions for teens to ask themselves when faced with the temptation of drugs: Think first, What’s the evidence? Is what you are told really true? How do you know? Outside of this group, what do other people think about it? What are the consequences? What will likely happen if I try this drug? Parents, talk to your kids and dispel the myths about drugs.
For more information and sources:
National Anti-Drug Strategy www.Nationalantidrugstrategy.gc.ca
Canada’s Kids Help Phone: www.kidshelpphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868
Parlons drogue www.Parlonsdrogue.com
If you need help or more information, please call AMCAL at 514-694-3161 ext 301 or www.amcal.ca.