Pubdate: Mon, 13 Apr 2009
Source: Advertiser (CN NF)
Page: 12
Copyright: 2009 Advertiser
Author: Billy Canning
Cited: Newfoundland and Labrador, Student Drug Use Survey 2007
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


While legal and illegal drugs are easily obtained by youth in today's 
society, it's important for parents to minimize the interest by 
educating their children of the dangers about drugs says RCMP Cpl. Ann Noel.

" Many parents do worry about their children, but worrying doesn't do 
anything," said Cpl. Noel of the Drug and Organized Crime Awareness 
Services, during a public awareness session last Monday night at 
Manuel Hall in Springdale. " We have to take action," she said.

During the session, Cpl. Noel discussed the negative impacts of 
various drugs, while reinforcing that parents and community leaders 
need to take a proactive approach in combating drugs in their homes 
and communities.

" You're no different than any other community in Newfoundland and 
Labrador. It's just if we have to take ownership and be aware of 
what's out there, so we're better armed to fight the drugs out 
there," said Cpl. Noel.

Implementing stringent rules for teens and not comprising on any drug 
use, whether it's legal or illegal, are guidelines parents need to consider.

" If we don't say no that you can't smoke because that's going to 
harm you, then what are we saying when we get to alcohol and drugs?" 
asked Cpl. Noel. " They're not going to believe us. Once you allow 
them, you're saying it's okay."

Not only should parents set rules and enforce guidelines, but also 
removing double standards is just as important, added Cpl. Noel.

" Lead by example, make healthy lifestyle choices. It's not good for 
you on a Friday night to sit at the coffee table with a beer in one 
hand and a cigarette in the other hand," she said to the gathering of 
roughly 20 people.

According to a Newfoundland and Labrador, Student Drug Use Survey 
conducted in 2007, figures suggest that teens are using drugs. 
Fiftytwo per cent reported using alcohol at least once in the year; 
in 2003, 58 per cent. Twenty-nine-and-a-half per cent reported they 
used cannabis at least once in the year; in 2003, 35 per cent.

The biggest increase was the use of ecstasy. In 2007, 7.2 per cent 
reported they used ecstasy at least once in the year; in 2003, 2 per cent.

A total of 3,848 students responded with an 82 per cent response rate.

" We have to talk about this, it's there. It's in the kids' faces. 
They need to hear it from you guys, not their friends," said Cpl. Noel.

While parents need to be cognizant of illegal drugs, Cpl. Noel said 
there's a new trend out there that's equally as dangerous, teenagers 
using prescription and non-prescription medicine.

She said that teenagers are taking medication from their home, or 
even from other people's homes and consuming the drugs with alcohol.

" Some of the youth in our communities are actually taking from 
medicine bottles, one or two pills and once they get to a party that 
night, it all goes into a bowl and then they'll pass it around," she said.

That type of gathering is called a "pharm-party."

" The problems that come with that is when they come to the emergency 
room, you don't know what they've taken," she said.

Some red flags parents should be aware of that may indicate their 
teen is using drugs are: declining school performance; changing 
eating or sleeping habits; changes in behaviour; increased secrecy 
about possessions and activity.

" When you think about it, it may be any one of our adolescents. So, 
you've got to remember that the main thing is staying in tune with 
your youth," said Cpl. Noel.

According to Cpl. Noel, Springdale is not a community with the 
spotlight on it regarding drugs.

" You're not one that's on my radar, not to say it's not out there 
and not being abused."

Mayor of Springdale Harvey Tizzard attended the public awareness 
session and said council would get involved if drugs become an issues 
in the community.

" We'll take it to the next level, meet on it and call the necessary 
people and have forums like we just had," said Mr. Tizzard. " We as 
leaders have to take hold and watch for this type of thing and do 
what needs to be done, and our council is proactive in that area."

Resident of Springdale and attendee of the session, Donna Pynn, said 
the presentation was informative, but " too bad we didn't have more 
young people and parents."

"I think that creating the awareness and giving us the education, 
would promote a safer environment for our teenagers," said Ms. Pynn.
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