Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jan 2008
Source: Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2008 Lake of Two Mountains Gazette Ltd.
Author: Paul McTeigue


Every now and then, the problem of teen drug abuse rears its head. The
exact percentage of Hudson teens who use drugs more than three times a
week is open to debate - local drug counselors have told me forty
percent, a local high-school teacher estimated fifty percent, and
various teens themselves have estimated anywhere between forty and
seventy percent. So, a rather safe assumption can be made that half of
our teens have serious drug problems.

And, every now and then, various solutions - early drug education,
more local activities, better transportation - are implemented with,
hopefully, some effect. I believe these initiatives do have a positive
impact and the efforts by many people in this regard are some of the
finest work being done today in our community.

Having lived this situation as a parent, I would like to add my two
cents to the discussion. It is my view that it is the parents who are
a major problem in this situation and therefore it is the parents who
must become a major solution.

Your child will probably try drugs - over ninety percent of our teens
do. It is what you do next when you become aware that your teen has a
problem that will determine how big a disaster you have on your hands.
If you deny there is a problem, if you accept there is a problem but
believe it's just a stage, or if you don't do anything because you
feel powerless, then you will be a major contributor.

Set rules for your teens, get drug tests from the local doctors and
enforce a zero-tolerance policy, setup weekly talks with teachers
concerning grades and behaviour, speak with the parents of your teen's
friends and ensure they are onside, stick around the house more, get
counseling. In short, you have a very small window in which to act as
the slope you are now on is steep and slippery.

Additionally, do not become an enabler to other teens. There are
parents who operate their house like a drop-in centre, believing they
are offering a safe haven when in fact they are one of the prime
causes. Their actions enable teens to escape consequences at home,
therefore destroying any positive efforts done there.

Teen drug abuse is not the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room -
it is the eight-hundred pound gorilla that sits squarely in the middle
of our town. As a community, we all have roles to play to help the
parents. As parents, the responsibility is ours.

Paul McTeigue
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