Learn how to drug proof your kids

A day and a half seminar on how to drug proof your kids is being put on by Yellowhead Community Services

A day and a half seminar

A day and a half seminar

Submitted by YCS

A day and a half seminar on how to drug proof your kids is being put on by Yellowhead Community Services at the Ridge in Barriere on January 21 and 22, 2012.

This seminar is for adults only and can be attended by any interested adult, whether you have children or not.

It is designed to help all adults in the community, and parents in particular, by giving them tools and strategies to create strong families and to effectively steer their children away from drugs, alcohol and other misused substances.  There is also a section on relapse protection for those whose children are already using drugs or other substances.

“One of the things that allow drug use in our youth to grow is when there’s a lack of knowledge about how to recognize when someone is stoned.  Often, we know what a pot high looks like, but we don’t know how that differs from ecstasy or heroin” says Grace Baker the Mental Health and Substance Use Counsellor at Yellowhead Community Services in Barriere,   “Parents don’t realize that when they find plastic bags, cup up pop bottles, or plumbing parts laying around in an odd place, it may mean that someone in their home is huffing or using.  Vinegar is used a lot, so be aware when the vinegar goes missing, also de-worming agents, bath salts and plant food. We’re hoping to help people in the community begin to recognize what drugs and drug paraphernalia look like so they can help their kids earlier, before it becomes an even more serious problem.”

“We also need to learn the tell tale signs of when someone is using.  Parents will often just think they have an active kid or maybe attention deficit, but not realize that their kids inability to sit still is actually drug related.  This is particularly true in teenagers.

“Parents think it’s just a phase, or that their kid suddenly just has really bad acne when really it’s cocaine or meth.

“Even in small towns like Barriere, things are not always what they seem to be.  Parents need to be aware.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Statistics collected by self-reported surveys for Health Canada Between 2004 and 2007 report that the age of first use of alcohol and other drugs for males range from 10.9 years old (alcohol) to 13.5 years old (ecstasy) and for females from 11.4 years old (alcohol) to 13.7 years old (ecstasy) with the age of first use of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, pain killers, glue or gas being somewhere in between.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the U. of T. reports that 15 per cent of students (Grade 7-12) have been drunk at school in the past year.

“Of course, this stat is from down east, but it’s good to be aware of it here too.  The schools here are very proactive but they need the support of the parents and community,”  Baker says.

For grade 9 to grade 12, approximately twice as many students have used marijuana than tobacco in the past year.

“This is significant because in the 70’s the THC in pot was about .5 per cent and now it’s estimated to be about 34 per cent on average and has been tested to be up to 68 per cent.  So having one joint today would have been like sucking on 68 joints in 1970.” notes Baker.

“The other reason this is significant is because stats show that smoking tobacco in Grade 7 has proven to be a gateway drug to pot… not because of the addiction but because of the lifestyle and peer pressure issues.

“The local schools are really on top of it which is great, and the whole community needs to help these kids deal with the pressures to use.”

The upcoming How To Drug Proof Your Kids seminar will provide actions parents can take, parental prevention tools, learning how to intervene, relapse protection plan and where to get help.

The local police will be presenting a portion as well and will be available for questions.

You can register by calling Yellowhead Community Services at 250-672-9773.  There is no cost for the seminar.  It runs January 21, 2012 from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and January 22, 2012 from 1-6 p.m.

Other resources include the local AA group which meet at the Pentecostal Church at 818 Annesty Road at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 8 p.m. on Thursdays at the Elders Residence at Chu Chua.

During the summer there is also a fireside meeting outdoors on Thursdays or Saturdays.

You can just attend these AA meetings or if you want more information or support you can call 778-220-6269.

AL-ANON for family members meets at 7 p.m. on Mondays also at the church.  Once again, you can just attend, or if you want more information or support you can call  250-672-9643.

There is a long list of other meetings available either at Yellowhead Community Services or online at 222.al-anon.alateen.org.

The closest Narcotics Anonymous meetings are in Kamloops.

If you are someone you know is ready to stop, talk to your doctor who will help you decide if it’s safe to quit on your own.  If not, they’ll help you find a safe way.  Yellowhead Community Services will help you the rest of the way.

If you’re looking for information, there are many free magazines, brochures and pamphlets available just outside the Yellowhead Community Services door at the Ridge.  Please help yourself anytime.