Lincoln Hi Student Death a Wakeup Call for Parents

April 26, 2007

The Oregonian has unleashed a lot of comment on their stories involving the death of a Lincoln High School student from a cocaine overdose and the subsequent arrests.  Throughout the articles and opinion pieces, there is a constant theme throughout: Parents have got to wake up and keep their kids away from drugs and alcohol.

Easier said than done, but the fact of the matter is there is much parents can do and don’t do.  The more parents take an active role in talking to their kids about drinking and drugs, the less chance their kids will feel like they need to give him to peer pressure and what some are calling “the culture of alcohol and drugs” at the high school level.

Here are some major points that Oregon Partnership always tries to get out there:

 1) A big problem is parents think “not my child.”  Every parent should assume that their kid is just as susceptible as any other kid and talk to their kids – starting in grade – school about the very real dangers of drugs and alcohol.  Most parents who discover their kids are into drinking and drugs, are suprised if not shocked.

2) Drinking before the age of 21 is NOT a right of passage.  It’s against the law for a reason.  Recent brain research shows that the more teens drink before they’re in their early 20s, the better chance they’ll have a drinking problem as adults.  Too many parents think it’s OK for their underage kids to have a few beers with their friends. It’s clearly not.

3) Having kids drink a beer or two at home – as long as parents are at home – is not OK.  Often, parents think that as long as their kids aren’t driving, it’s OK for them to drink. It’s not.

4) Marijuana is the illegal drug of choice for teens.  Pot is now so much stronger and potent – and addictive – than it has ever been.  The pot available now is not the same as it was in the 60s and 70s when parents were smoking it.

5) Despite what you may think, the biggest influence on kids is their parents.  Even when they don’t seem to be listening, they are.  Drug prevention works, so talk early and often about drugs and alcohol.  And if the kids bring it up first, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.  And keep the conversation going. It’s not always comfortable for parents to talk to their kids about such things, but the more they do it, the easier and natural it will become.

6) Most high school kids DON’T do drugs or alcohol.  And we’ve found those who don’t have been educated early on by their parents.


Pseudoephedrine Control Shows Amazing Results

April 23, 2007

With the new legislation controlling the sale of Pseudoephedrine almost one year out, some amazing results are starting to come in. Current meth lab seizures are down so far, one could say that this legislation is one of the biggest Public Health successes we’ve seen in Oregon in recent years.

This new new graph shows the number of meth labs almost disappearing.

Click here to download a PDF of the latest Oregon Meth Lab Stats.


Anheuser-Busch Getting it from All Sides: “Drop Spykes!”

April 11, 2007

Article in Tuesday’s USA Today quotes Oregon Partnership’s Judy Cushing about new alcoholic beverage clearly targeted to youth.  Spykes is bad news and A-B could do everybody a favor by dropkicking the product.  One 7-11 store in Portland that used to sell it, no longer does.  We’ll take one victory at a time.

Click here to read the USA Today article.


YouthLine: Learning to Listen

April 4, 2007

My name is Katie, and I volunteer at Oregon Partnership’s YouthLine, a teen-to-teen crisis line that offers a listening ear and resource referrals for struggling teens and their concerned friends and family members statewide. Before I joined YouthLine, I thought that I had a very open mind and broad viewpoints, and that I was generally a non-judgmental person. In my head, I justified the reasons why I categorized my friends by what they wore, how dark their make-up was, or what kind of house they lived in. I told myself it was how I was able to relate to them, to see what we had in common. In reality, I was setting them apart from myself and creating a bridge between myself and others formed by hasty opinions and cruel assessments.

All of those opinions I had of myself changed the very moment I began at YouthLine. I realized how close-minded I really was, and even how judgmental I could get. The first day I walked into the YouthLine training, our Coordinator sat down with us and said flat out, “No sharing ages or schools. I want you to be able to build relationships on something other than classifications.” And we did. A lot of us have built strong friendships from common interests, personalities and who we are as individuals, rather than where we’re from, or whether or not we went to a classy school or an inner-city public school. This was our place, she said. She wanted us to be able to come into our shifts and feel comfortable and recognize that we were in a safe area. We had to do that by creating relationships, not interpretations of each other. We were then able to talk about anything in our lives and not feel scrutinized or judged for things we’ve gone through or seen. Since we were able to experience that freedom first hand, we learned how to give that to each caller. Confidentiality, support, freedom and the simple words: “I believe you.” Sometimes that is all that teens need when they call: to have their story heard by someone who really cares and who is actively listening to their experiences.

YouthLine is my place. It’s our place–YouthLiners and callers alike. We have learned not to make a first judgment, but to listen and wait for a person’s true colors to blossom. It’s what we do best–listening. Yes, we’re here to learn and build our knowledge of teen issues like sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, mental health, physical health, grief, depression, and even suicide. And the more we learn, the closer we are to understanding the lives of Oregon teens. The more we listen, the closer we are to helping them

Visit the YouthLine web site at www.oregonyouthline.com