Pubdate: Wed, 07 May 2008
Source: Nor'wester, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2008, Transcontinental Media
Author: William Clarke
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


Program Offers Parent Plan To Drugproof kids

If you met Glen Newman two years ago, he wouldn't have been able to
tell you much about the drug culture. These days his level of
information is pretty scary, especially in rural Newfoundland.

"I asked yesterday, what's available?" he said in an April 25
interview. "According to what was said around the table, there are
drugs readily available, here, everything from cocaine and ecstacy to

Mr. Newman is a master trainer from Focus on the Family Canada. He was
in Springdale to teach a group of community leaders to present a
program called How to Drugproof Your Kids. The program began in
Australia and has been in Canada since 2002.

He provided the sessions at the Springdale Pentecostal Church the week
after the church hosted over 250 kids for a weekend celebration of
God's love.

Mr. Newman said the program is important for parents because it
teaches them some warning signs of drug use, but is more aimed at
preventing its start.

"This course trains these nine people to do a 12-hour, two-day or
six-week, one-night a week parent program," he said. "They're
basically getting the training to do a parent program, which is the
actual program to help parents to drugproof their kids."

The group included representatives from the Springdale area, Botwood
and Bishop's Falls. Mr. Newman expects the program will begin
advertising this summer for fall sessions.

"As a parent the most important thing you can do with your kids is
have a relationship with them," he said. "This program is a parent
program wrapped around the drug issue. These people will walk away
with their heads full of information. They won't be experts in the
drug trade, but they will walk away with a lot of knowledge about the
drug scene and the drug issue."

To emphasize how easy it is for kids to get drugs, He recalled a
recent news story where a journalist asked teens how quickly they
could get a range of drugs. It took about five minutes of phone calls
for the students to connect with everything on the journalist's list.

"My cry has been to parents in grades four to six, 'Please, come and
take this program,'" said Mr. Newman. "We have not had success getting
them, sadly, because most of the parents are not dealing with it at
that stage. When they wake up in grade seven to nine, this is the
biggest age group that we draw from, but at that stage you've got kids
who have already started. They're already into the scene."

He said the program tries to awaken parents to the reality of what's
going on. It's education, but more importantly than that it's bringing
them back to parenting.

"We have to remember we're not dealing with adults, little Johnny
doesn't know what discipline is," he said. "When he lifts a bottle up
to his lips, he's not socializing, he's getting drunk. We're not
communicating adult to adult, we're communicating adult to child."

As far as kids experimenting for the sake of experimenting, Mr. Newman
said knowledge of what drugs do prevents a lot of that. He said some
kids will experiment, they will dabble, but they won't go on to become

However, he warns that today's drug culture isn't what it was in the
1960s. Marijuana is now between six and nine times more potent, and is
no longer "the gateway drug."

"I've met 17-year-olds who started popping ecstacy when they were 12 -
and never smoked pot until they were 15," he said. "That didn't happen
in our day. You smoked pot. That's how you started, but the sad
reality is kids are going from E to coke, not marijuana to LSD."

Although there are a lot of dangers waiting to ensnare children, Mr.
Newman's message of awareness is also a message of hope, and parental

"When you become a parent, you accept the responsibility of being a
parent," he said. "I encourage parents to take it. I guarntee they
will not be sorry. It does take commitment, but it's worth the
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