Pubdate: Sat, 12 May 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Julie Corbin


PERRYTON - Remember years ago, when TV stations played a public
service announcement that said, "Parents, it is 10 o'clock - do you
know where your children are?"

I always thought that was kind of funny, because I always thought I
knew where my children were.

Even today, as I tell my son (while he sighs and rolls his eyes) to be
home by a certain time; to take his cell phone and answer my calls;
and ask him who he's going to be with, I know he does not understand
the importance of these requests.

We parents have got to face the facts. Some of the parents of children
with whom our kids come into contact have substance problems. Their
children are at greater risk for developing substance issues
themselves. Peer pressure for our kids is tremendous.

What if your child's friend manages to get some of his parent's or
sibling's dope and offers it to your child? Will he be strong enough,
educated enough, to say "no"?

We now know that methamphetamine has a 98-percent addiction rate after
only one use. Statistically, it is much easier for adolescents to get
drugs than alcohol. They basically just want to fit in, so if their
best friend says, "Hey, you've gotta try this; it's really cool," and
there are a bunch of other kids waiting to see the response, there is
a pretty good chance your child will try it - just to fit in, just to
be "cool."

As "uncool" as we are to them, we've got to convince our children to
walk away, to never try drugs in the first place.

Some kids get this concept; unfortunately, some don't.

My parents didn't have to convince me of much in that area. My father
often told me that if I ever did drugs, he would "beat me to death,"
and I believed him. I am not condoning child abuse, but sometimes fear
is a healthy deterrent.

I've been talking to parents who want to keep their kids from using
drugs. But what about parents who suspect or know that their children
are using drugs and don't know what to do about it?

I've been on both sides of this fence. And then, as incomprehensible
as this is for some of us, there are parents who not only allow their
children to use drugs but encourage it and will share drugs with them.

I have a real problem with that!

We're supposed to love and protect our children, and that scenario
doesn't seem to fit in with "loving and protecting."

There were kids who I knew were bad for my daughter who would try to
hang around my house. I was afraid they could influence her into a
lifestyle that I knew would turn out badly.

I always felt a twinge of guilt as I ran these kids off, because I
often felt that they probably had no one to be accountable to;
therefore, I was almost allowing them to continue to destroy
themselves. I wanted to help them, but not at the cost of my own family.

Later I found out that some of these kids had parents who condoned and
participated in this behavior with their kids, and mine.

As hard as I try to be forgiving about this, there is still a part of
me that wants my father to come and "beat them to death." I do take
comfort in knowing I will not be in their shoes on Judgment Day.

In 2005, 25 percent of all students in grades nine through 12 reported
that someone had offered, sold or given them an illegal drug on school

There was no measurable change in this statistic between 2003 and
2005. Males were more likely than females to report that drugs were
offered, sold or given to them on school property in each survey year
between 1993 and 2005. In 2005, 29 percent of males and 22 percent of
females reported availability of drugs.

My daughter first tried marijuana at age 12. It was given to her by a
man who still resides in our community, just across the street from
the junior high school.

This first act started her on a downward spiral from which she never
has been able to recover from long term.

There are people out there who do not have the best interests of our
children at heart.

We need to know where are children are, who they are with. We need to
educate our children about drugs. Opening a dialogue with them can
save their lives.

Julie Corbin is founder and president of Panhandle Mothers Against
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