Pubdate: Wed, 20 Dec 2006
Source: Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2006 Lake of Two Mountains Gazette Ltd.
Bookmark: (Youth)


Coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier confirmed what everybody already knew.

The coroner's report released last week on Stevie Reilly's death 
confirmed what has already been said: the 13-year-old Rigaud girl 
died on Feb. 6 of this year, two days after taking too much of the 
amphetamine MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. According to the report, 
Reilly overdosed on the drug after her 16-year-old supplier gave her 
an additional half a pill when the first one did not produce any effects.

Coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier's report also contained an unofficial 
recommendation to continue sensitizing young people to the dangers of 
ecstasy, and to find an "objective" way of informing them about its 
possible effects.

According to Gilles Boudreau, co-founder of the St. Lazare Safety 
Committee, it is not only youths that need to be informed, but their 
parents, too. However, Boudreau says many parents are not getting the 
information they need because, although the resources are available, 
they are just not being used.

"We're the creation of our own problems," Boudreau said.

A few weeks ago, the St. Lazare Safety Committee organized an 
information evening with representatives from various organizations, 
especially geared towards parents. Attendance, Boudreau said, was 
less than he hoped for.

"Some people at some organizations told me, if you get five or six, 
don't be surprised," Boudreau said, adding that at 43 attendees, the 
Safety Committee's information sessions was well above the benchmark. 
"Still, I was definitely hoping for more."

Boudreau believes many parents may simply not believe their children 
are part of the problem.

"They say, I know it happens to other kids, but it doesn't happen to 
my kids. No way," he said, adding that the information session proved 
many parents do not have the information they should on drugs. "About 
99 percent of them were not aware of what is going on."

Alvin Powell, a former NFL offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins 
and the Seattle Seahawks, also thinks parents should take a very 
active roll in preventing drugs from destroying their children. 
Powell, who became a drug addict during his football career in the 
1980s has now turned his life around. Through the Saving Station 
Foundation, he is now educating young people and adults about the 
devastating effects of drugs and addiction, by telling his own story.

"You have to approach it like you would a predator of any kind, 
because that's what it is," he said. "It's a predator that seeks out 
to come into your home and destroy your children's lives."

Powell believes that as soon as parents suspect their children are 
doing drugs, they have the obligation to get them tested, even if the 
child denies it. "Now, the kid is going to lie. He or she is going to 
look them right in the eye. And they're going to lie," Powell said, 
adding that there are many behavioral changes that can point to a 
drug problem, like loosing interest in past hobbies and activities, 
low self-esteem and motivation, paranoia, jitteriness, and money in 
the house going missing. As long as their children are under 18, 
parents can have them tested for drugs, even if the child refuses.

"A lot of the time, parents are trying to be the kid's friend, and it 
doesn't work that way. You need to parent your child. You need to 
discipline them. You need to adopt an attitude of zero tolerance," 
Powell said. "You need to set consequences for that child when he or 
she breaks the rules of the house. To do anything less is to fail the 
child. You're actually preparing the kid to fail."

Powell also believes the government and individual communities need 
to get more involved, by putting out a "hard-lined," graphic 
anti-drug campaign that shows the true face of addiction, like the 
Montana Meth Project (, and by creating youth 
programs and setting up recreational activities and places that keep kids busy.

Still, the most important factor in preventing drug addiction in 
youth, according to Powell, is good parenting.

"Parents aren't spending enough time with their children. They're 
leaving them alone at home, and giving them money and time. The kids 
are bored, and with their rational and maturity, they think, hey, if 
I'm going to be bored, I might as well be stoned and bored," Powell 
said. "I want to tell parents, quit trying to make all that money, 
and spend time with your kids. Eat supper together.Make it your religion."

For more information on the Saving Station foundation, visit
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