Drug testing in schools…what’s wrong with that?

Anyone could see that the issue would create some controversy, but I can’t believe the strength of opposition to a privacy rights violation confirmed as permissible by the Supreme Court.

First of all, let me clarify…I am very much against the "war on drugs" and I don’t believe that enforcement of drugs and alcohol addiction issues will ever create any positive change in our society. I also believe that rigid criminal penalization of drug use does far more harm, and promotes far more criminal activity than it could ever hope to reduce; and I am uncomfortable siding with an administration that (despite a dubious personal history of abuse by our commander in chief) has done very little to reduce harsh federal sentencing and done equally little to improve access to treatment by those that need it.

But done well, and with sensitivity, school drug testing gives school administrators and through them parents, the information they need to take concrete and productive steps towards intervention and possibly treatment…as early into drug abuse as is possible. We should not look at drug testing as an enforcement issue, but instead as a fantastic way to improve treatment intervention for a group uniquely vulnerable to the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Early drinking and or drug abuse dramatically increases the risks of ultimately having an abuse issue or dependency to drugs or alcohol, and if we could just keep kids from experimenting for a few more years we would achieve a massive reduction in eventual dependency rates, accompanying social costs and personal devastations.

There have been a number of arguments put forth by those that ideologically oppose drug testing in our schools, and while I respect the motivations of those people that hope to put a stop to the testing, I question their ideations.

Myth no. 1…drug testing won’t protect kid’s rights to confidentiality

Opponents of drug testing in the school blast measures that don’t do enough to protect the privacy rights of kids using drugs or alcohol…but it’s not as if other teens don’t already know who’s using and who isn’t; it’s just educators and parents who are largely in the dark…and kids sharing a joint under the bleachers certainly aren’t hiding their consumption from other teenaged eyes.

We won’t "out" kids abusing drugs or alcohol, we’ll just be able to help them.

Myth no. 2…drug testing will damage trust issues between educators and teens

Another major point of contention amongst opponents to the policy is a belief that drug testing will increase the adversarial nature of the teacher student relationship, and reduce the ability of educators to positively influence the actions of teenagers.

I find this one also pretty ridiculous. Almost 3 quarters of high school kids will illegally use alcohol and almost half will try illicit drugs…clearly the influence of educators has some pretty serious limitations outside of the school environment, and I would even argue that conclusive evidence of abuse would reduce the adversarial nature of a relationship.

Things tend to get most heated when one side accuses without proof, and one side denies while unable to prove absolute innocence. With drug testing, there is no need for uncertainty, and neither is there any need for an adversarial relationship. A positive drug test does not need to be handled punitively within the school environment, but that information does need to be passed to concerned parents who are in a far greater position of influence, and far more able to effect change.

Myth no. 3…drug testing won’t reduce drug taking in schools

Opponents point to studies that polled high school students about whether drug tests would cause them to reduce their consumption as evidence of their ineffectiveness; but drug testing has had real success, most notably in the military where compulsory drug testing has dramatically lowered levels of abuse over the last years.

We should never be drug testing kids looking for an excuse to punish, and all we should be trying to accomplish is to protect teens at risk of abuse and addiction from the greater dangers of drug use. Schools should not be responsible for enacting policies against drug usage, and only parents have enough influence and control over their kids to really induce any real change…unfortunately most parents either never know about drug use, or don’t find out about it until it’s too late, and a recreational usage has become a serious problem.

We don’t need or even want schools to try to influence drug taking…that’s a job for the family; but they are in a great position to spot and conclusively test for usage, and give that information to people who really care and want to see a behavioral change. Parents deserve information that will allow them to take concrete and constructive steps towards drug and alcohol avoidance.

We will have to see…

Drug testing non compliant teenagers does carry some risks, and I don’t think that it should be done with a heavy hand or with punitive measures in mind. But if it is done well, and if schools allow parents the right and responsibility of taking appropriate action after a positive test…I can’t see how drug testing could be anything but a very positive step to protect our kids.

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Anyone could see that the issue would create some controversy, but I can’t believe the strength of opposition to a privacy rights violation confirmed as permissible by the Supreme Court.

First of all, let me clarify…I am very much against the "war on drugs" and I don’t believe that enforcement of drugs and alcohol addiction issues will ever create any positive change in our society. I also believe that rigid criminal penalization of drug use does far more harm, and promotes far more criminal activity than it could ever hope to reduce; and I am uncomfortable siding with an administration that (despite a dubious personal history of abuse by our commander in chief) has done very little to reduce harsh federal sentencing and done equally little to improve access to treatment by those that need it.

But done well, and with sensitivity, school drug testing gives school administrators and through them parents, the information they need to take concrete and productive steps towards intervention and possibly treatment…as early into drug abuse as is possible. We should not look at drug testing as an enforcement issue, but instead as a fantastic way to improve treatment intervention for a group uniquely vulnerable to the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Early drinking and or drug abuse dramatically increases the risks of ultimately having an abuse issue or dependency to drugs or alcohol, and if we could just keep kids from experimenting for a few more years we would achieve a massive reduction in eventual dependency rates, accompanying social costs and personal devastations.

There have been a number of arguments put forth by those that ideologically oppose drug testing in our schools, and while I respect the motivations of those people that hope to put a stop to the testing, I question their ideations.

Myth no. 1…drug testing won’t protect kid’s rights to confidentiality

Opponents of drug testing in the school blast measures that don’t do enough to protect the privacy rights of kids using drugs or alcohol…but it’s not as if other teens don’t already know who’s using and who isn’t; it’s just educators and parents who are largely in the dark…and kids sharing a joint under the bleachers certainly aren’t hiding their consumption from other teenaged eyes.

We won’t "out" kids abusing drugs or alcohol, we’ll just be able to help them.

Myth no. 2…drug testing will damage trust issues between educators and teens

Another major point of contention amongst opponents to the policy is a belief that drug testing will increase the adversarial nature of the teacher student relationship, and reduce the ability of educators to positively influence the actions of teenagers.

I find this one also pretty ridiculous. Almost 3 quarters of high school kids will illegally use alcohol and almost half will try illicit drugs…clearly the influence of educators has some pretty serious limitations outside of the school environment, and I would even argue that conclusive evidence of abuse would reduce the adversarial nature of a relationship.

Things tend to get most heated when one side accuses without proof, and one side denies while unable to prove absolute innocence. With drug testing, there is no need for uncertainty, and neither is there any need for an adversarial relationship. A positive drug test does not need to be handled punitively within the school environment, but that information does need to be passed to concerned parents who are in a far greater position of influence, and far more able to effect change.

Myth no. 3…drug testing won’t reduce drug taking in schools

Opponents point to studies that polled high school students about whether drug tests would cause them to reduce their consumption as evidence of their ineffectiveness; but drug testing has had real success, most notably in the military where compulsory drug testing has dramatically lowered levels of abuse over the last years.

We should never be drug testing kids looking for an excuse to punish, and all we should be trying to accomplish is to protect teens at risk of abuse and addiction from the greater dangers of drug use. Schools should not be responsible for enacting policies against drug usage, and only parents have enough influence and control over their kids to really induce any real change…unfortunately most parents either never know about drug use, or don’t find out about it until it’s too late, and a recreational usage has become a serious problem.

We don’t need or even want schools to try to influence drug taking…that’s a job for the family; but they are in a great position to spot and conclusively test for usage, and give that information to people who really care and want to see a behavioral change. Parents deserve information that will allow them to take concrete and constructive steps towards drug and alcohol avoidance.

We will have to see…

Drug testing non compliant teenagers does carry some risks, and I don’t think that it should be done with a heavy hand or with punitive measures in mind. But if it is done well, and if schools allow parents the right and responsibility of taking appropriate action after a positive test…I can’t see how drug testing could be anything but a very positive step to protect our kids.

Keeping teenagers safe from easy to get pharmaceuticals

Photo: Okko PyykkoWhat can parents do when the "pusher man" has become an easy to access online website selling potent drugs without the need for a prescription?

It’s a scary time to be a parent, and while parents of every generation may have felt the same way, with the incredibly easy access to drugs that today’s teens have, parents often feel a bit overwhelmed at how to protect their impressionable teens from dangerous pharmaceutical abuse. A quick survey of internet pharmacies proves that there is little that cannot be bought through the services of an illegitimate pharmacy located out of the country.

Oxycontin, hydrocone, xanax, and benzodiazepines are just a few of the many drugs that are but a mouse click away.

Pharmaceutical abuse is rising, and while yesterday’s teens may have raided the family liquor cabinet, today’s teens can easily supply their own drug needs through online ordering or even through the misuse of over the counter medications. These drugs are pretty scary too; some of them are very addictive, and some of them are very risky for dangerous overdoses, especially when taken in conjunction with other pills or with alcohol, which research indicates is a very common practice. The misuse or abuse of these pharmaceuticals is misperceived as relatively safe and harmless, and does not carry the stigma associated with the usage of "illicit drugs" such as heroin, marijuana or LSD; but these drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, and are also very addictive, and with an estimated 6 million Americans currently addicted to pills, the danger of a crippling and potential destroying addiction is very real…and very scary.

So what can we as parents do?

Try to monitor your teen’s internet activities, and be very suspicious of any activity at online pharmacy websites, or drug info related sites. Most teens get the information on dosages that they need from the internet, from sources that may or may not be providing credible and safe information. Be aware of any pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Empty bottles of cough syrup, empty pill wrappers, or other such medication related debris are not normally carried around, and probably indicate at the very least some experimentation with pharmaceuticals. Educate your teens as to the risks involved with using pharmaceuticals, and make sure that they are aware of the dangers and the possibility of death. Don’t keep a lot of old and unused medications hanging about in the medicine cabinet. If you’re finished with the pills but have some remaining, dispose of them properly. Also, be aware of the quantities of medicines used regularly, and if you seem to be refilling prescriptions for certain drugs more often than you think that you should…this may indicate a problem.

Be involved and try to be a part of your teen’s life. It can be difficult to determine whether changes in behavior are a normal part of adolescence, are in fact caused by something more sinister, but by staying active in your teen’s life, you are in a better position to spot trouble before things get serious. We as parents can only educate our kids as to the dangers, be on the lookout for trouble, and hope for the best. It is truly a frightening time to be the parent of a teenage kid.

Photo: Okko PyykkoWhat can parents do when the "pusher man" has become an easy to access online website selling potent drugs without the need for a prescription?

It’s a scary time to be a parent, and while parents of every generation may have felt the same way, with the incredibly easy access to drugs that today’s teens have, parents often feel a bit overwhelmed at how to protect their impressionable teens from dangerous pharmaceutical abuse. A quick survey of internet pharmacies proves that there is little that cannot be bought through the services of an illegitimate pharmacy located out of the country.

Oxycontin, hydrocone, xanax, and benzodiazepines are just a few of the many drugs that are but a mouse click away.

Pharmaceutical abuse is rising, and while yesterday’s teens may have raided the family liquor cabinet, today’s teens can easily supply their own drug needs through online ordering or even through the misuse of over the counter medications. These drugs are pretty scary too; some of them are very addictive, and some of them are very risky for dangerous overdoses, especially when taken in conjunction with other pills or with alcohol, which research indicates is a very common practice. The misuse or abuse of these pharmaceuticals is misperceived as relatively safe and harmless, and does not carry the stigma associated with the usage of "illicit drugs" such as heroin, marijuana or LSD; but these drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, and are also very addictive, and with an estimated 6 million Americans currently addicted to pills, the danger of a crippling and potential destroying addiction is very real…and very scary.

So what can we as parents do?

Try to monitor your teen’s internet activities, and be very suspicious of any activity at online pharmacy websites, or drug info related sites. Most teens get the information on dosages that they need from the internet, from sources that may or may not be providing credible and safe information. Be aware of any pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Empty bottles of cough syrup, empty pill wrappers, or other such medication related debris are not normally carried around, and probably indicate at the very least some experimentation with pharmaceuticals. Educate your teens as to the risks involved with using pharmaceuticals, and make sure that they are aware of the dangers and the possibility of death. Don’t keep a lot of old and unused medications hanging about in the medicine cabinet. If you’re finished with the pills but have some remaining, dispose of them properly. Also, be aware of the quantities of medicines used regularly, and if you seem to be refilling prescriptions for certain drugs more often than you think that you should…this may indicate a problem.

Be involved and try to be a part of your teen’s life. It can be difficult to determine whether changes in behavior are a normal part of adolescence, are in fact caused by something more sinister, but by staying active in your teen’s life, you are in a better position to spot trouble before things get serious. We as parents can only educate our kids as to the dangers, be on the lookout for trouble, and hope for the best. It is truly a frightening time to be the parent of a teenage kid.

Should parents be drug testing their kids?

Cheap, reliable and accurate – drug tests give you peace of mind, and also let you get them the help needed quickly, should a test come back positive.

There is nothing an adolescent hates more than an intrusion into their privacy, and drug tests are certainly intrusive, but they are also very accurate, and can be a very useful tool for parents concerned about substance use and abuse. I don’t think that drug testing is necessarily appropriate as a preventative measure for kids without a history of abuse, and if they have acted responsibly they should be rewarded for that behavior with increasing levels of trust; but for kids with a history of abuse, I feel that they are a valid parental tool.

About half of all kids who enter a residential treatment program will relapse back to some degree of drug or alcohol abuse at some point, and the earlier this use is detected, the earlier help can be arranged and the greater ultimate probability of success. Kids who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse should be informed that drug testing is to become a regular part of the family life, and there should be no exceptions made once this announcement is made.

Today’s testing kits, particularly urine testing kits, are inexpensive, very reliable and accurate; and provide an easy way for parents to be sure of their kid’s use or non use. The fact is that all kids will lie to their parents at some point, and kids with drug or alcohol abuse problems are even more prone to lying to cover their abusive behaviors; but a drug test does not lie, and teens will also know in advance that if they use, their parents will know. The ideal result for the introduction of family drug testing is not to catch teens in the act as such, but to keep them from indulging, knowing that if they do they will certainly be caught.

The consequences for a positive test result should be made clear in advance, and if a test does come back positive, parents must have the strength to implement whatever treatment or consequences had been pre agreed to. If a kid knows that a positive drug test means another session at a drug rehab facility, that may be enough to keep them from using. Kids are pretty clever though, so you have to be sure that the test you are using is reliable, and as well be aware of any possible ways to "fool" the test.

Kids get the information they need to beat drug tests from the internet, but that info is there for you too. Speak with an addictions specialist on the best way to implement reliable and accurate drug testing into your family’s routine. Your kids will hate it, but it might just be enough of a deterrent to use that it will keep them safe…and they’ll thank you for it later. Parenting an adolescent is never easy, and when your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, this transitional period is especially complex. Drug testing can help.

Cheap, reliable and accurate – drug tests give you peace of mind, and also let you get them the help needed quickly, should a test come back positive.

There is nothing an adolescent hates more than an intrusion into their privacy, and drug tests are certainly intrusive, but they are also very accurate, and can be a very useful tool for parents concerned about substance use and abuse. I don’t think that drug testing is necessarily appropriate as a preventative measure for kids without a history of abuse, and if they have acted responsibly they should be rewarded for that behavior with increasing levels of trust; but for kids with a history of abuse, I feel that they are a valid parental tool.

About half of all kids who enter a residential treatment program will relapse back to some degree of drug or alcohol abuse at some point, and the earlier this use is detected, the earlier help can be arranged and the greater ultimate probability of success. Kids who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse should be informed that drug testing is to become a regular part of the family life, and there should be no exceptions made once this announcement is made.

Today’s testing kits, particularly urine testing kits, are inexpensive, very reliable and accurate; and provide an easy way for parents to be sure of their kid’s use or non use. The fact is that all kids will lie to their parents at some point, and kids with drug or alcohol abuse problems are even more prone to lying to cover their abusive behaviors; but a drug test does not lie, and teens will also know in advance that if they use, their parents will know. The ideal result for the introduction of family drug testing is not to catch teens in the act as such, but to keep them from indulging, knowing that if they do they will certainly be caught.

The consequences for a positive test result should be made clear in advance, and if a test does come back positive, parents must have the strength to implement whatever treatment or consequences had been pre agreed to. If a kid knows that a positive drug test means another session at a drug rehab facility, that may be enough to keep them from using. Kids are pretty clever though, so you have to be sure that the test you are using is reliable, and as well be aware of any possible ways to "fool" the test.

Kids get the information they need to beat drug tests from the internet, but that info is there for you too. Speak with an addictions specialist on the best way to implement reliable and accurate drug testing into your family’s routine. Your kids will hate it, but it might just be enough of a deterrent to use that it will keep them safe…and they’ll thank you for it later. Parenting an adolescent is never easy, and when your teen is using or abusing drugs or alcohol, this transitional period is especially complex. Drug testing can help.

Giving Ritalin or Adderall to ADHD Kids Actually Reduces the Odds of Later in Life Addiction

Strong stimulant medications used in the treatment of ADHD are controversial, and many parents worry about the long term effects of the drugs. While the issues surrounding the usage of medications such as Ritalin are many, parents can now know that medicated ADHD kids are far less likely to develop addictions later in life.

I’ve got two kids, and thankfully neither of them has ADHD, and if they did I know that I would agonize over whether to give them powerful stimulant drugs for symptoms control. I’m not an expert on the pharmacology of drugs such as Ritalin, and I can’t say conclusively whether these drugs do more good than harm…but at the very least, in the area of substance abuse, the research is now overwhelmingly clear that medicated ADHD sufferers are far less likely to develop substance abuse and dependency problems later in life.

Clinical studies funded out of the National Institute for Drug Addiction (NIDA) have pretty conclusively shown that ADHD patients given stimulant medications for symptoms control end up developing far fewer problems with addiction and substance use than unmedicated sufferers. Unmedicated ADHD teens use drugs earlier and they use them more often; and they may even be using stimulant style drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine or crack for symptoms relief as self medication.

The issue is pretty serious, and with estimates placing as many as 30% of all drug or alcohol dependent people as ADHD sufferers (lower estimates report a still greatly over represented 10%) the need to minimize the risks to abuse for this group of people is substantial. A lot of parents worry that giving strong stimulant style medications such as Ritalin to their kids may be increasing their vulnerability to addiction later in life, and it seems that the opposite is in fact true, and that by not medicating these kids the risks of drug and alcohol abuse go up. I’m thankful I don’t need to make the decision, and the issue is unfortunately more complex than the simple consideration of substance abuse later in life; but at the very least, parents should be aware that medications such as Ritalin do seem to decrease the risks of later addiction.

Deciding when and how much medication to give to our kids is never easy, and all we can hope to do is get informed and make the best decision we can with the interest of our children at heart.

Strong stimulant medications used in the treatment of ADHD are controversial, and many parents worry about the long term effects of the drugs. While the issues surrounding the usage of medications such as Ritalin are many, parents can now know that medicated ADHD kids are far less likely to develop addictions later in life.

I’ve got two kids, and thankfully neither of them has ADHD, and if they did I know that I would agonize over whether to give them powerful stimulant drugs for symptoms control. I’m not an expert on the pharmacology of drugs such as Ritalin, and I can’t say conclusively whether these drugs do more good than harm…but at the very least, in the area of substance abuse, the research is now overwhelmingly clear that medicated ADHD sufferers are far less likely to develop substance abuse and dependency problems later in life.

Clinical studies funded out of the National Institute for Drug Addiction (NIDA) have pretty conclusively shown that ADHD patients given stimulant medications for symptoms control end up developing far fewer problems with addiction and substance use than unmedicated sufferers. Unmedicated ADHD teens use drugs earlier and they use them more often; and they may even be using stimulant style drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine or crack for symptoms relief as self medication.

The issue is pretty serious, and with estimates placing as many as 30% of all drug or alcohol dependent people as ADHD sufferers (lower estimates report a still greatly over represented 10%) the need to minimize the risks to abuse for this group of people is substantial. A lot of parents worry that giving strong stimulant style medications such as Ritalin to their kids may be increasing their vulnerability to addiction later in life, and it seems that the opposite is in fact true, and that by not medicating these kids the risks of drug and alcohol abuse go up. I’m thankful I don’t need to make the decision, and the issue is unfortunately more complex than the simple consideration of substance abuse later in life; but at the very least, parents should be aware that medications such as Ritalin do seem to decrease the risks of later addiction.

Deciding when and how much medication to give to our kids is never easy, and all we can hope to do is get informed and make the best decision we can with the interest of our children at heart.

Dextromethorphan, the Monster in the Medicine Cabinet. DXM Is Scary Stuff.

How can parents protect their kids from drugs, when the drugs are available for sale at the local pharmacy?

Firstly, I’m going to preface this posting with an apology, I don’t know how to protect my kids from this new threat. I’ve talked about the dangers of drugs until I’ve grown hoarse, and they’ve grown bored, and they are some pretty well educated kids on the dangers and realities of drug abuse. But when the FDA reports that 2.4 million American teens have used dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in a number of cough and cold medication) I’m not to sure how much effect my words can have; I mean surely at least some of those parents had warned their kids about the dangers of drugs too!?!

Photo: Editor BDextromethorphan (DXM) when taken in large quantities can cause euphoria, slight hallucinations, slurred speech and uncoordination, and when taken in very large quantities can cause out of body experiences like with ketamine or PCP; and in a new and disturbing trend, street dealers have started selling pure DXM in capsule form.

A quick browse on the web should be enough to scare parents, and all the information needed on how to use DXM, how to extract it, which brands to buy, the dosage by body weight…everything is there. If only kids worked as hard in biology as they do at self pharmacology!

The FDA reports that at least 5 kids have died from overdose, it can cause brain damage, seizures and heart arrhythmia, and the really scary part is that nobody really knows what the long term consequences of this drug will be. Kids are taking it and they’re taking a lot of it, and it’s probably going to do them a lot of harm. Common parental guidelines suggest watching the medicine cabinet, and watching for intoxicated behavior, but how much does this really do? The amount needed to get high is more than most people stock in their medicine cabinet, and kids are pretty good about hiding things when they want to?

I guess it just comes down to being involved in your kid’s lives, to watching for the warning signs, being ready to help, and hoping for the best. Good luck to parents everywhere, and this is just one more thing to add to that long list of worries.

How can parents protect their kids from drugs, when the drugs are available for sale at the local pharmacy?

Firstly, I’m going to preface this posting with an apology, I don’t know how to protect my kids from this new threat. I’ve talked about the dangers of drugs until I’ve grown hoarse, and they’ve grown bored, and they are some pretty well educated kids on the dangers and realities of drug abuse. But when the FDA reports that 2.4 million American teens have used dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in a number of cough and cold medication) I’m not to sure how much effect my words can have; I mean surely at least some of those parents had warned their kids about the dangers of drugs too!?!

Photo: Editor BDextromethorphan (DXM) when taken in large quantities can cause euphoria, slight hallucinations, slurred speech and uncoordination, and when taken in very large quantities can cause out of body experiences like with ketamine or PCP; and in a new and disturbing trend, street dealers have started selling pure DXM in capsule form.

A quick browse on the web should be enough to scare parents, and all the information needed on how to use DXM, how to extract it, which brands to buy, the dosage by body weight…everything is there. If only kids worked as hard in biology as they do at self pharmacology!

The FDA reports that at least 5 kids have died from overdose, it can cause brain damage, seizures and heart arrhythmia, and the really scary part is that nobody really knows what the long term consequences of this drug will be. Kids are taking it and they’re taking a lot of it, and it’s probably going to do them a lot of harm. Common parental guidelines suggest watching the medicine cabinet, and watching for intoxicated behavior, but how much does this really do? The amount needed to get high is more than most people stock in their medicine cabinet, and kids are pretty good about hiding things when they want to?

I guess it just comes down to being involved in your kid’s lives, to watching for the warning signs, being ready to help, and hoping for the best. Good luck to parents everywhere, and this is just one more thing to add to that long list of worries.

Kids and Drugs…Don’t Ignore the Signs of Abuse

Photo: Jaypeg21Finding out my 14 year old niece had been experimenting with drugs was shocking, and although she has sworn she won’t use again…how can we as parents know that our kids are safe from drugs?

Her Rights to Privacy?

I’ve decided that her privacy rights are less important than ensuring that she is drug free, and although it’s never fun or pleasant to invade someone’s personal space, if that’s what it takes to keep her safe, then that’s what I’ll do.

The years of adolescence are a period of transition and often a period of experimentation; and this is of course simply the normal progression and maturation into adulthood. But this willingness to experiment, coupled with a perception of immortality, makes the likelihood of trying and potentially abusing drugs very high.

Most kids don’t do drugs, a lot do but never have a problem, and a small percentage of kids will sadly suffer the devastation of addiction, at a time of life that can be tough enough as it is. You want to be there for your kids, but as they age and separate in their quest for autonomy, it can be increasingly tough to feel confident that you really know your kids, and more importantly, know what they’re up to. All you can do as parents is to educate your kids about the dangers and keep on the lookout for any of the warning signs that may point to drug abuse; and should anything indicate drug use, be ready to take the steps necessary to protect your kids. You want to trust you kids and give them the personal space they crave, but if you’re concerned about drug use, it’s better to have them seething as you search their room, then possibly let them continue on the road to destruction.

As a recovering drug and alcohol addict, I’ve always been confident that I’d know of any drug or alcohol use pretty quickly

I know how addicts behave, and I’m far too familiar with the effects of most drugs – but I guess I wasn’t as perceptive as I thought. My 14 year old niece (I’m her legal guardian) recently jumped out of the car after school only to have a bottle of Visine tumble out of her pocket onto the seat.

We both saw it, and although she tried to act nonchalant, I know that normal kids have no need for eye drops, and remember all to well hastily fixing my own eyes before walking past my parents when I was a kid. After a long and serious talk, she eventually confessed to using marijuana with her friends, and although adamant that it was no big deal, has agreed to stop using.

I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean that she will, but at least I now know she’s vulnerable to drugs and abuse, and I am going to be watching her pretty carefully for the next few years. Now if she hadn’t confessed to her usage, this would have left me in a very uncomfortable position. I don’t believe that she has a need for Visine other than to hide the symptoms of drug use, but I have no other solid evidence to confirm my suspicions. At this point, you can either accept them at their word, or invade their privacy to get concrete evidence one way or the other.

Not an easy or fun decision; but I know how destructive drug use can become, and as such I know what I would have done.

I thought I was safe

She’s a good student, and doesn’t display any of the normal and stereotypical behaviors of drug use, and so I thought she was in the clear. Everyone needs to talk to their kids about drugs, but just as importantly, don’t assume that simply because your child looks and acts the same, that they are not using drugs.

Anyone can fall victim to drug abuse, and sometimes behavioral changes, failing grades, and failing health don’t appear until the abuse has already become severe. It is far better to discover drug abuse in the early stages, and so parents must be vigilant and observant for any indications of use. With cheap drugs like meth and school-yard heroin now available, it wouldn’t take much experimentation to destroy a life full of promise, and although education helps, it’s not always enough.

Be there for your kids, and be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate drug use. Teens value privacy, but you’ve got to keep them safe, and if you need to invade their personal space to ensure they’re drug free, then maybe it needs to be done.

Photo: Jaypeg21Finding out my 14 year old niece had been experimenting with drugs was shocking, and although she has sworn she won’t use again…how can we as parents know that our kids are safe from drugs?

Her Rights to Privacy?

I’ve decided that her privacy rights are less important than ensuring that she is drug free, and although it’s never fun or pleasant to invade someone’s personal space, if that’s what it takes to keep her safe, then that’s what I’ll do.

The years of adolescence are a period of transition and often a period of experimentation; and this is of course simply the normal progression and maturation into adulthood. But this willingness to experiment, coupled with a perception of immortality, makes the likelihood of trying and potentially abusing drugs very high.

Most kids don’t do drugs, a lot do but never have a problem, and a small percentage of kids will sadly suffer the devastation of addiction, at a time of life that can be tough enough as it is. You want to be there for your kids, but as they age and separate in their quest for autonomy, it can be increasingly tough to feel confident that you really know your kids, and more importantly, know what they’re up to. All you can do as parents is to educate your kids about the dangers and keep on the lookout for any of the warning signs that may point to drug abuse; and should anything indicate drug use, be ready to take the steps necessary to protect your kids. You want to trust you kids and give them the personal space they crave, but if you’re concerned about drug use, it’s better to have them seething as you search their room, then possibly let them continue on the road to destruction.

As a recovering drug and alcohol addict, I’ve always been confident that I’d know of any drug or alcohol use pretty quickly

I know how addicts behave, and I’m far too familiar with the effects of most drugs – but I guess I wasn’t as perceptive as I thought. My 14 year old niece (I’m her legal guardian) recently jumped out of the car after school only to have a bottle of Visine tumble out of her pocket onto the seat.

We both saw it, and although she tried to act nonchalant, I know that normal kids have no need for eye drops, and remember all to well hastily fixing my own eyes before walking past my parents when I was a kid. After a long and serious talk, she eventually confessed to using marijuana with her friends, and although adamant that it was no big deal, has agreed to stop using.

I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean that she will, but at least I now know she’s vulnerable to drugs and abuse, and I am going to be watching her pretty carefully for the next few years. Now if she hadn’t confessed to her usage, this would have left me in a very uncomfortable position. I don’t believe that she has a need for Visine other than to hide the symptoms of drug use, but I have no other solid evidence to confirm my suspicions. At this point, you can either accept them at their word, or invade their privacy to get concrete evidence one way or the other.

Not an easy or fun decision; but I know how destructive drug use can become, and as such I know what I would have done.

I thought I was safe

She’s a good student, and doesn’t display any of the normal and stereotypical behaviors of drug use, and so I thought she was in the clear. Everyone needs to talk to their kids about drugs, but just as importantly, don’t assume that simply because your child looks and acts the same, that they are not using drugs.

Anyone can fall victim to drug abuse, and sometimes behavioral changes, failing grades, and failing health don’t appear until the abuse has already become severe. It is far better to discover drug abuse in the early stages, and so parents must be vigilant and observant for any indications of use. With cheap drugs like meth and school-yard heroin now available, it wouldn’t take much experimentation to destroy a life full of promise, and although education helps, it’s not always enough.

Be there for your kids, and be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate drug use. Teens value privacy, but you’ve got to keep them safe, and if you need to invade their personal space to ensure they’re drug free, then maybe it needs to be done.