Pubdate: Tue, 27 May 2008
Source: Southern Gazette, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2008 Transcontinental Media
Author: William Clarke
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


Dealing With Drugs .

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?

"According to what was said around the table, there are drugs readily 
available, here, everything from cocaine and ecstasy to marijuana."

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 Drug Proof 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 youth 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 aimed more 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. They're basically getting 
the training to do a parent program, which is the actual program to 
help parents to drug proof 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. 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 youth 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.

Mr. Newman explained "My cry has been to parents in grades four to 
six, 'Please, come and take this program'. 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. 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 young people experimenting for the sake of experimenting, 
Mr. Newman said knowledge of what drugs do prevents a lot of that. He 
said some children will experiment, they will dabble, but they won't 
go on to become users.

However, he warned 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 ecstasy when they were 12 
- - and never smoked pot until they were 15. 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. I encourage parents to take it.

"I guarantee they will not be sorry. It does take commitment, but 
it's worth the commitment."
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