HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Addiction Begins With Marijuana, Parents Are Told
Pubdate: Tue, 26 Mar 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Johanna Weidner
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


BADEN -- Drugs steal kids' dreams, and only parents can protect children 
from the ravages of addiction, says the head of the Waterloo regional 
police drug squad.

Staff Sgt. Ray Massicotte and Justice Paddy Hardman of Kitchener's Ontario 
Court shared their first-hand expertise on the dangers of narcotics at a 
drug awareness talk at Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School near Baden 
last night.

The school and rural community was rocked in the fall 2000 when dozens of 
area teenagers struggled with heroin addiction.

The second annual talk was organized by CLEAN -- Community Link Empowered 
Against Narcotics. The parent-run support group was formed in response to 
the community's drug crisis to help affected families cope.

"Kids are at huge risk. It's almost impossible to stop when you start, no 
matter what addiction you choose," Hardman warned. "No good can come out of 
it, only bad."

Both speakers told the audience of parents and children of all ages that 
the first safeguard to addiction is not turning a blind eye to 
experimentation with marijuana.

"I've not met one heroin addict, one crack addict that didn't start with 
marijuana," Massicotte said.

He said teens often start on the dark road to addiction by sharing a joint 
with a few friends.

Next, they're wrestling with a deadly addiction to crack or cocaine, 
stealing from family or prostituting themselves to get cash for their next hit.

Massicotte said he's seen boys and girls as young as 15 selling their 
bodies on downtown Kitchener streets.

He said it's crucial for parents to talk to kids about drugs, and to 
practise strategies to say no.

All parents warn youngsters to look both ways before crossing the street, 
he said, but few tackle the tough and potentially deadly topic of drugs.

Hardman agreed there's no such thing as recreational drug use, and she 
warned against the "growing sense that marijuana doesn't matter."

Parents should never just ignore drug use by a youngster, no matter how 
casual it may seem.

"If you don't do something about it, they think it's OK," Hardman said.

And moving to a better neighbourhood to escape the temptation of drugs is 
pointless because "every school has difficulties," Hardman said.
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