Pubdate: Fri, 17 Mar 2006
Source: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza (NV)
Copyright: 2006, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Author: Patricia Hickson, Bonanza Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


In 2005, more than 11 percent of Washoe County high  school students
said they experimented with marijuana  by the time they were 13,
according to a recent Youth  Risk Behavior Survey published by the
county. This  statistic was up 3 percent from 2003 when only 9
percent of 13-year-olds said that had tried marijuana.

"This is a reason for concern, if not alarm - which is  why we are
here tonight," said Steven Boyd, a drug and  alcohol counselor with
Bristlecone Family Resources to  parents who had gathered at the IHS
theater Wednesday  night for a drug awareness presentation.

The presentation, organized by Incline public school  counselors, was
designed to inform parents about the  signs and symptoms of drug use,
drug trends, prevention  strategies and intervention and treatment

"I, along with the other counselors, decided it was  good class to
offer because drug and alcohol use are a  problem for adolescents and
teenagers in all  communities," said elementary school counselor
Stephanie Kane.

Alanna Brown, Incline High School counselor, said she  knows there are
drug and alcohol problems at IHS  because students have come into her
office to discuss  abuse issues.

"Students from the leadership class approached me and  asked me to
speak with them about drugs and alcohol and  I went and it was hard to
make eye contact with anyone  in that room," Brown said. "I felt like
kids were  looking at me like "please help - we're scared."

During his presentation Boyd gave an overview of what  drugs are
popular today, what drug paraphernalia looks  like, what kinds of
behavior may indicate drug abuse  and what parents can do to encourage
kids to stay off  drugs.

In preventing drug abuse behavior Boyd focuses on three  helpful
policies: Limiting gateway substances (such as  sugar and caffeine)
when kids are young, teaching  children to delay gratification from an
early age  (i.e.. not giving into tantrums), and knowing your kids
behavior and friends when they are older.

"Know about your kids, know their friends, hug them  when they walk in
the door, smell them and look in  their eyes," Boyd said.

Boyd's message was emphasize by Washoe County Sheriff  sergeant, Bill

"If you know who your kids are and what they are doing  - you are
going to be better prepared to keep your kids  away from drugs and
alcohol," Devine said.

Devine said he has broken up several parties in Incline  involving
high school students where he knew alcohol  and marijuana were involved.

"Don't ever give up on your kids," Devine said. "And do  not be afraid
to confront them - I can't tell you how  many times we get calls by
parents who want us to do  something about their kids, but don't want
their kids  to know they called (the sheriffs)," Devine said.

"With my kid - I want to do whatever it takes... can  you say that as
a parent?" Boyd asked the crowd before  closing.

Signs and symptoms of drug use:

Poor physical appearance

Changes in Friends

Changes in sleep patterns (excessive or very little)

Change in eating habits

Differences in moods

Finding strange things in their room/ backpacks/ cars

Difficulty focusing

Decreased performance at school

Evidence of drug paraphernalia (such as pipes or  rolling

Increased secrecy about possessions or activities

Missing prescription drugs (especially narcotics and  mood

*source: Steven Boyd
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake