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.