Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jun 2015
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Sun Media
Author: Alan S. Hale
Page: A3


Police: Parents Fill Dante Club for Presentation

It appeared many people in Timmins were ready for a frank discussion 
about the drug use and addiction issues going on within their 
community. And that's what the people who filled the main ballroom at 
the Dante Club got on Tuesday evening during the first Straight Talk 
on Drugs dinner, which was organized by the Timmins Police Association.

Although police frequently visit schools to warn students about the 
dangers and consequences of taking drug abuse, it is not often that 
events are organized to help inform the parents and families of 
people who are, or are at risk of becoming addicted to drugs. One of 
the night's speakers, Yvonne McClinchey who is the clinical 
supervisor at South Cochrane Addiction Services noted that holding 
event at all was an accomplishment.

"I've been in the field of addiction for 20 years, and in that time I 
have never been able to do what Const. Matthew Beerman (who organized 
the event) has done," said McClinchey. "I hope everyone here tonight 
finds at least one thing that they can take home."

McClinchey went on during her speech to talk about things that 
parents should be looking out for if they are worried their child may 
be using drugs and an extensive list of do's and don'ts when trying 
to address a potential drug problem.

Above all, McClinchey stressed the importance of keeping lines of 
communication open and making sure that they see that there are 
consequences for their behaviours, even if that means letting them 
sleep in their own vomit when they come home drunk and get sick.

She said it is important to "always make sure your child is not in 
distress and that they are not in physical danger."

"The key is the older the child experiments, the smaller the chance 
they have to develop an addiction," she explained. "So if they're 
starting at 14, 13, 12-years-old, there's a good chance that by the 
time they're 16 they will have developed problems with drug use. So 
when parents talk to us, we tell them that if they can slow down or 
stop the experimental phase they have a better chance of getting through it."

Timmins resident Gary Leduc had to go through the ordeal of seeing 
his son slide into drug addiction after starting to drink and smoke 
marijuana when he was in Grade 8 and getting to the point where using 
several kinds of drugs simultaneously and selling to support his habit.

Leduc's son eventually was able to get clean, but during the years 
his son was on drugs Leduc had to deal with denial, anger, the strain 
on his marriage, and eventually the decision to tell his son that he 
couldn't live in the house while he was not ready to accept help for 
his addictions - which meant his son lived in a car in their 
neighbourhood for months.

Although there was a long history of alcoholism in his family, and he 
had tried drugs in high school, Leduc and his wife have kept their 
home alcohol and drug free, which is why Leduc said to have a child 
with addiction problems can happen even to be good parents with 
stable family lives.

The tough stance paid off, and his son eventually accepted help with 
his problems and is now doing talks at schools about his experience.

"They need to know that you're there for them and when they are ready 
to get help, they can come to you," said Leduc. "That doesn't mean 
giving them a soft place to land when they are coming off of drugs, 
it means facing the problem head on, calling it what it is, and 
telling them that you will help them when they read but not when they 
are not ready. That can be a real trap when you're enabling them to 
protect them. You need to be strong for your child."
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