Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2005
Source: Compass, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2005 The Compass
Contact:  Website:
Author: Cst. Marc Trioreau
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


One of the good things about doing this article is that from time to time, 
I get a heads up on other articles that will be appearing in The Compass. 
This gives me the chance to talk about something that is related.

I am aware that Michael Powell has an article on drug use in this week's 
edition, as he interviewed me while writing the piece.

Other than direct enforcement, I believe the best approach to the drug 
problem is through education and awareness. The more people know about drug 
use, the better equipped they are to make informed decisions. I realize 
that the majority of our drug talks are aimed at children, and that we are 
missing a major player in the fight against drugs - the parents.

Most of the time we try to inform children about the consequences of drug 
use, and it's easy to forget that parents need to be informed as well. How 
many parents would be able to recognize illegal drugs if they saw them, or 
are able to identify the symptoms of drug abuse?

The best drug education starts at home. This, along with presentations to 
students, made by members of the RCMP, should be a strong foundation to 
avoid the drug issue. In order to do this, parents need to be properly 

I could probably spend the next year writing about drugs without repeating 
myself - it's hard to summarize this subject in one article.

When dealing with drugs the two most common problems are: parents aren't 
aware of what drugs are available in the area, and they don't know the 
symptoms of drug abuse. It's hard to deal with a problem, when you don't 
understand it.

Determining if a young person is using mind-altering chemicals is not easy 
because many of the resultant feelings and behaviours can be displayed by a 
normal, healthy adolescent.

On the other hand, many indicators of substance abuse can also signify a 
serious emotional problem or even mental illness.

The following is a list of readily observable indicators that can signify 
substance abuse.

Deterioration of school performance:

- - poor grades

- - absenteeism

- - skipping classes

- - disciplinary problems

Loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities:

- - clubs

- - sports

- - job

- - hobbies

- - Other activities such as yearbook, newspaper, band, drama, etc

Changes in relationships

- - change in peer circles,

- - now affiliates more with suspected drug and alcohol users or troublemakers

- - has fewer friends

- - now seen alone more often

- - isolated

Physical appearance, dress and self-care

- - deterioration in self care habits, grooming, dress owearing clothing, 
jewellery and insignias that suggest or advocate drug or alcohol use

Physical appearance, behavioural


oappears intoxicated

oslurred speech




ored, glazed eyes

odream-like trance



Fluctuation in feelings

- - pronounced mood changes

- - excitable

- - nervousness

- - paranoia

- - panic

- - depression

- - anger

- - euphoria, elation

- - inappropriate laughter

- - withdrawn

- - pronounced low self esteem

Deterioration of thinking

- - poor concentration

- - poor memory

- - short attention span

- - confusion

- - bizarre thoughts

- - hallucinations

Deterioration of motivation

- - loss of motivation

- - diminished enthusiasm

- - loss of initiative

- - giving up goals/ambitions

All these could be indicators of a drug problem.

If any groups or individual would like me to give a talk relating to drug 
awareness for parents, feel free to give me a call and I will certainly try 
to arrange something for you.

In the meantime, the internet is an excellent resource to find material 
pertaining to drug information. Two good websites to start with would be:
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom