Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2006
Source: Denton Record-Chronicle, The (TX)
Copyright: 2006 Denton Record-Chronicle
Author: Sarah Chacko
Bookmark: (Youth)


A small group of adults huddled away in the corner of a  library 
talked about marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol and an  assortment of other drugs.

But they weren't planning on causing any trouble. In  fact, they were 
hoping to prevent trouble from  happening to any of their children.

"I was really looking for current information," said  Randee Farquhar 
of Shady Shores, noting that a lot has  changed in terms of drug 
awareness since her high  school days.

Farquhar was one of about a dozen parents who met  Friday night in 
the Crown-over Middle School library  for Drug Awareness Parent's 
Night, in honor of Drug  Awareness month and the upcoming Red Ribbon Week.

Farquhar said she needed the education and was  surprised more 
parents did not show up for the same  reason.

"Do all these parents not think their kids are going to  do drugs?" 
she asked. "That we're immune to it because  we're in Denton?"

Farquhar said she certainly hopes her  middle-school-aged son steers 
clear of drugs, but the  only way for her to be sure is if she is 
equally  knowledgeable about the subject.

Aside from learning the various types of drugs  available to youth 
these days, drug slang, and  different ways to identify drug users, 
parents also  heard some startling statistics -- like that the 
average age for first use of marijuana is 13, according  to some figures.

Jimm Harper, a special education counselor in the  Birdville school 
district, was among three presenters,  all of whom were at some time 
involved in Sante Fe  Adolescent Services, a drug counseling service 
based in  Fort Worth.

The counselors talked to parents not only about the  "harder" drugs, 
like cocaine, but also touched the  three main "gateway" drugs -- 
marijuana, alcohol and  cigarettes.

Youth often turn to drugs, both legal and illicit  substances, not 
only for peer acceptance but also to  deal with problems in their 
lives, Harper said.

"Kids at this age have so much going on  physiologically," he said. 
"One part of that is  learning how to cope."

But developmentally, they are too young to realize  their growing 
dependence on drugs and are not learning  proper ways to manage their 
feelings, he said.

Several schools in the district are taking advantage of  Red Ribbon 
Week as a way to remind students of why it  is important to be drug 
free, as well as inform them  about potential risks they are likely to face.

"They [middle school students] have a lot to deal  with," said 
Crownover Principal Dianne Blair. "It's a  tough time in their life."

The drug problem is spreading in towns and schools  everywhere, she said.

"We all have to deal with that," she said. "It's in our  communities. 
And if it's in our communities, it's in  our schools."

Prevention starts with education, said Angie Breuer, a  student 
assistance counselor at Crownover.

"Kids don't think about long-term consequences. It's  our job as 
educators and parents to see what's going to  happen in the next five 
minutes, what's going to happen  long-term, if they don't change this 
behavior," she  told parents Friday. "We can't make choices for the 
kids, but if you give them the right education and  tools, they'll 
have a better chance to make the right  decision."

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Red Ribbon Week Events

Several schools around Denton are planning events in  recognition of 
Red Ribbon Week, a national drug-free  celebration starting today 
through Oct. 31. Schools in  the Denton area will be hosting events 
until early  November. They include:

- - Borman Elementary School: The Drug Enforcement  Admin-is-tration is 
landing its helicopter on the  Borman campus, 1201 Parvin St., at 10 
a.m. today.

- - Evers Park Elementary School: The Student Council and  Renaissance 
officers from Denton High School will give  a smokeless tobacco 
presentation to the fifth-grade  classes at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday [Oct. 
25] at the Evers  Park campus, 3300 Evers Parkway.

- - Navo Middle School: The school, at 1701 Navo Road, is  planning a 
variety of activities from Oct. 30 through  Nov. 3. The activities 
include Red Ribbon wristbands on  Oct. 30, "Reach for the Stars, Not 
Drugs" day on Oct.  31, "Living Drug Free Is No Sweat" day on Nov. 1, 
and  "Team Up Against Drugs" on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. Students  who wear 
their wristbands all week will be eligible for  a variety of door prizes.

For other specific events, parents are asked to contact  their 
children's schools.

Source: Denton School District

Drug Awareness Resources Online

In addition to school counselors and health officials,  some of the 
following Web sites can offer parents more  information about various 
drugs, their effects and how  to talk about drugs to children:

- - : sponsored by the National Youth  Anti-Drug 
Media Campaign

- - : sponsored by the Partnership for a  Drug-Free America

- - : U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

- - : sponsored by the National Youth  Anti-Drug Media Campaign

- - : Substance Abuse & Mental Health  Services 
Administration (a branch of the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services)

- - 
: a guide to talking with preteens about alcohol,  tobacco and drugs, 
from the Massachusetts Department of  Public Health

- - not an anti-drug Web site, but a  member-supported 
organization with the stated mission  of "Documenting the Complex 
Relationship Be-tween  Humans & Psycho-actives"

SOURCE: Crownover Middle School counselors
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman