By David Joel Miller.
Are you keeping your child away from drugs?
We would like to think that we can keep our children safe. We expect drug use to be something teens or young adults might do. Not young children. The truth is that younger and younger children are trying drugs. Most kids have been exposed to drugs and alcohol by the end of the third grade. Even kids from drug and alcohol-free homes are at risk. If you are thinking “my kids would never do drugs” you may be fooling yourself.
If you are thinking alcohol, that’s not a drug, think again. Any alcohol use by an eight-year-old is a problem. The younger they begin to use drugs, the more likely there will be problems. Not just the problem of addiction but also changes in emotions and learning. The more a student drinks the lower the GPA they will have. One study said “F” students drink on average twice what “A” student’s drink.
Very young kids get their first drugs at home.
First experiences with drugs frequently happen at home. Sneaking some of their parent’s cigarettes or alcohol is many a child first experience with drugs. That half-consumed beer or the carelessly left pack of cigarettes is an easy way to get started. But there are bigger dangers lurking even if the parents don’t smoke or drink.
Early grade kids get their drugs under the kitchen sink or in the garage.
Those cleaning solvents, the gasoline, the spray paint, all these things can be used to inhale or huff. Spray cans are an easy way to alter consciousness. A lot of inhalant abuse goes unnoticed by parents who think “no not my child” until it has caused permanent health problems.
It is not the “pusher” that gets your kid on drugs.
We used to think that there were unscrupulous people out there trying to get our kids hooked on drugs. Truth is most people are introduced to drugs by a close friend or family member. Boys are often started off by an older male cousin or uncle; girls learn drug use from an old sister, aunt or their first boyfriend.
Most kids who use drugs on a daily basis tell me that at first, they didn’t have to pay for it. Friends gave it to them for free. Later on, the circle of friends began to pool their money to buy it. It is not until the drug habit gets regular and expensive that the kid has to come up with the money to pay.
Street drugs are not the biggest part of the problem
Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. In a previous post “Grandma is the drug connect” I wrote about how unknowing family members, grandma, in particular, are becoming the drug supplier of choice for today’s teen.
When it comes to drug overdoses street drugs are way behind prescription drugs as a cause of death.
So have you really thought about this problem of young kids doing drugs? Just how sure are you that your child is safe from drugs?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books