Drugs – What is the cost to society? Part 3

Drugs – What is the cost to society? Part 3

parent talking with daughter 2by Jessica Westfall

It is interesting to be look at views supporting decriminalization verses tough drug laws. I am encouraged by the views Mr. Hari’s shared in his TED talk. It has better helped me see a drug addict as a person, a person in need of help. I have more compassion than I had before. There is still more room for debate and research for the best way to treat and help an addicted person. However, the best option will always be to not become addicted in the first place. That’s where Mr. Hari’s understanding proves useful. His findings can help parents better prevent teen/young adult interest in drug use on a personal and familial level.

There is also a lot of evidence that legalization isn’t helpful. It makes drugs easier to attain for teens. Commercialization of drugs, that are proven to be harmful, is unleashed when laws don’t ban drugs. What is the answer?

Fortunately, parents do make a difference in their children’s choices regarding drug use. Healhtychildren.org lists ways to help teens choose to turn down drugs. The first aspect regards parents’ role. Parents can talk to their children about abstaining from drugs in grade school, which is usually before drugs are readily available to children.

Prevention includes:

  1. Talking and listening with your child,
  2. Promoting good choices and good friends, and
  3. Living a good example.
  4. Create clear and consistent rules for your family,
  5. Avoid media that glamorizes drug use, and
  6. Teach how to say and mean “no” (i.e. firmly, give a reason, redirect, leave).
  7. It’s important to know the facts about drugs and teach your children about the negative effects. Preventteendruguse.org has a list of prevention resources, here are a few:
  • Just Think Twice – This is a website that gathers drug information, recent news, media, personal stories, facts, and stats about drugs. http://www.justthinktwice.com

  • Get Smart About Drugs – This DEA Resource was created to inform parents, educators and caregivers. There is information on drugs and paraphernalia, trends and stats, ways to get involved, and more. http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com

  • Drug Free Canada – This website lists drug information, parent tips, and has quizzes to help educate and affirm positive actions. http://www.canadadrugfree.org

For the entire list read here – http://www.preventteendruguse.org/resources.html#pr

Drug abuse does not have easy answers, there are many variables and concerns. What is clear is the harmful effects of drug abuse on teens, who will eventually grow into adults. We can battle drugs. Support teens, encourage them to have many good friends, healthy pursuits, and good relationships at home. On a political scale, Dr. Gogek prompts parents to put up a fight. Let politicians know we want marijuana strictly illegal. I’ll end with his words, “[Parents] should tell politicians that anyone who speaks in favor of legalization, decriminalization or medical marijuana laws is promoting teenage drug use and will not get their vote. There is no better way to protect adolescents.”

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