Pubdate: Tue, 10 Oct 2006
Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)
Copyright: 2006 Columbia Missourian
Author: Vannah Shaw


In a roomful of valuable books at the Rock Bridge Media  Center, the 
information offered to parents about drug  and alcohol abuse was 
still considered priceless.

The school-sponsored forum "Be in the Know" educated  parents about 
drug and alcohol use in high schools on  Wednesday. Columbia police 
Officer Wendy Stokes  informed parents that one of the more recent, 
unexpected things to watch for are prescription drugs.

"Start watching your bottles," she said. "The big thing  right now is 
Robitussin gel caps."

Forum speaker Melissa Melahn agreed.

"Kids think that because they're legal and they're  prescribed, that 
they're safe," she said.

Stokes showed the parents drugs and the paraphernalia  used to take 
them in plastic containers. She said young  people are finding 
creative ways to get high and then  hide drugs.

Stokes said parents should watch out for signs: burnt  ends of 
plastics pens used to smoke, missing  prescription medicine and 
continual use of Visine  accompanied by red eyes that never seem to clear up.

School Counselor Diane Bruckerhoff told parents that  although drug 
use appears to be on the rise, they  shouldn't assume every child is doing it.

"There are more students who are making good choices  than there are 
who aren't," Bruckerhoff said. She  presented a confidential study 
given to students that  showed the problem isn't as bad as some 
think, but can  still be improved.

Answers to one question showed most senior high  students do not 
binge drink, attend unsupervised  parties or use cocaine.

Bruckerhoff said parents should be more active in  monitoring their 
children's lives and ask themselves  question like, "How much of an 
investigative reporter  am I going to be in my own home?" She said 
although it  may feel like spying, if there is a problem, it will be 
worth the trouble.
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