Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Truth About Substance Abuse

You should be talking to your children about drugs long before you have a heart-t oheart discussion of sex. It’s never too early to say drugs are bad, that drugs hurt your body, and that we should feel sorry for people who use drugs. Young people can easily get the idea that drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are part of a dark and dangerous, fascinating and adult world. The truth of the matter—and the truth it’s up to you to bring home—is that the drug scene is shabby and sordid and apt to be infested with twisted, dangerous people.
Your children should know that, sooner or later, someone will approach them with illegal drugs, maybe even offering to let them puff on a marijuana joint. He or she will tell your children that “it’s no big deal” and “mild.” It’s up to you to let them know that no drug is mild. All drugs will alter the people who take them and diminish those people in some way. Tell your children that people who offer them drugs are merchants of death.
Throughout childhood, from kindergarten on, you can do a lot by warning children of the dangers that lie ahead. It’s like the wicked witch and the poisoned apple. These warnings, however, should be accompanied by the reassurance that people can always just say no and walk away.
Teenagers are most vulnerable to drugs. Their peers who do drugs often appear to be the cool ones, the brave, rebellious ones. You should always know what your teenagers are doing in their spare time. Keep them from visiting homes where you know there is drinking or drug use.
When you warn youngsters about alcohol abuse, hit them with the hard truths. People who abuse alcohol suffer brain, liver, and heart damage. They become bloated, red-faced, nutritionally starved. They end up weak, stupid, and sick. When it comes to social drinking, warn them that even a small amount of alcohol has its effects. If your youngsters find themselves in a situation where they feel strong social pressure to drink, as at a college party, they can sip slowly, eat plenty, and drink water to minimize the effect of the alcohol.
Perhaps the strongest argument you can make about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is the one you make by staying away from all three yourself.

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