My family and I had the opportunity to attend the “Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse -What Parents and Teens Should Know” meeting on Wed, Oct.10 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. In my opinion, every parent in this city should attend these. For now, our city has committed to holding two of these meetings per quarter. I would like to thank all of those who donated their time and effort to help educate our local community. It was great to see Mayor Reardon there as well. This is an issue that she has recognized as affecting our kids and is dedicated to the education.
Did you know that there is a Heroin and Meth epidemic here in South County? Not a small epidemic. It is off the charts. At this meeting on Wednesday night, we heard directly from the parents and kids who have been battling this. It is unreal. Is it happening at your school? You bet. When does it start? Drug use has been known to start in the 5th grade.
When we asked the kids what pushed them over the edge to start, the common theme was "I wanted to fit in." So they started with the pot, "the gateway drug." From here, it can quickly move on quickly. THC is different from what it was in the 70's. At 18, kids are getting their pot cards. In Dana Point it got so bad that the teachers couldn't teach their kids as many of them were stoned. So the teachers and parents were able to shut these dispensaries down. This is basically kids medicating themselves irrespective of any FDA control. They get bored easily as kids do and "move up" into more "exciting" drugs because their friends are using it. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT THEIR FRIENDS. Kids absolutely need to understand this.
Did you know that there are parties called "trail mix parties." Those are parties where the kids raid their parents medical cabinets and throw the pills into a bowl at the party. No drugs in the bowl=no entrance. Kids take handfuls of these pills and drink them down with booze. These parties exist all around us.
When you have auto break-ins on your street, do you think it is some burly masked robber with a coarse beard and dark clothing? It's not. It is usually a local kid looking to finance their next fix. For the most part, they are tired and kicked out of the house trying to survive.
I can go on and on. It was a real eye opener. If you have kids or teens that have not sat through this session with you, I think you should make it happen. Some of the parents on the board had been through so much that they themselves were on anti-anxiety medications.
Kids are dying all over the place in this country. We need to recognize this issue and start right here in our own community. These are baseball and AYSO kids. Our kids.
Treatment is not easy. You cannot make your child go to counseling. It is a "right to counseling" state EVEN if they are under 18 (don't get me started). Yes, it is a law in this state. Prevention is key. Also, like any form of drug abuse, depression etc., you cannot help anyone that is not ready for help.
When we asked the kids how the parents could have prevented this, the common themes were: 1. PARENTS SLOW DOWN. We have a big job with lots of work that needs to be done. We don't get many breaks. Let the laundry go. Let the spaghetti burn. Spend time with who is really important in your life. 2. EAT DINNER NIGHTLY AT THE TABLE. We have ALL heard this. It is important to keep the lines of communication open. 3. PUT THE CELL PHONE DOWN and GET OFF THE INTERNET. You have a job to do. Check it at the door. 4. SIT DOWN REGULARLY AND CHAT. Let the kids speak. Don't ask them how their day went (they are tired of hearing this). Let them talk. 4. BE STRICT WITH WHO THEY HANG OUT WITH. YES! Most kids said that this would have helped.
Take an active role as opposed to a passive role in shaping your child. It is what we are here for.
If I can help just one person with this, I am good. I sincerely hope that you and your family will attend one of these sessions. I will go with you. It is a real eye opener.
I hope that the MV Patch will continue to notify us of future events. I will go to each and everyone of these that I can. I hope to see you there. I now feel a personal attachment to the kids that were there and stricken by this disease. I really want them to succeed in their lifelong battle. Such great kids. They just made bad decisions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.