How a Parent Can Contribute to the Opiate Epidemic?
- Parents must educate themselves to understand one basic premise: Addiction is addiction. Period. Statistically, most opiate addicts don’t start out with a needle in their arm. Their addiction creeps up on them the same way alcoholism creeps up on alcoholics, because, after all, the substances may be different, but the disease is all the same. Too many people don’t understand this truth: Alcoholism and drug addiction are the same disease. Addiction is addiction, be it food, gambling, sex, drugs and/or alcohol. People tend to want to differentiate between substances or behaviors and identify with only one. Too many want to believe that they are either one or the other. Not so fast. There is no either or. Same disease. Different substances.
I have spoken with plenty of addicts who were baffled as to why they couldn’t stay clean. They thought if they weren’t doing drugs, they were doing fine and could still drink alcohol. Invariably what always happened is they would relapse on the dope. Of course they would. The only reason I call myself a recovering alcoholic is because when I quit drinking twenty-eight years ago, there weren’t the number and types of drugs out there. Thank God for that. Who knows what I might have gotten into … I will never delude myself into thinking that I couldn’t have been a drug addict as well.
What Happens When They Go to College?
- Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions. Just because you feel comfortable with your child’s friends and hopefully, you’ve met the parents, but what about when the day comes that you can’t be there? What happens when they go off to college and there is no supervision? Here’s how a number of kids become addicted: They’re at a party. Alcohol, and maybe other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and yes, even heroin are plentiful. But my child doesn’t use you say. But do they drink? If they drink, then yes, they use alcohol, but we’ve come to such an acceptance of alcohol that no one cares anymore about the drinking, but you should. Here’s why: All those young teens and young adults yucking it up at a party; their inhibitions and good sense flees after only a few drinks or beers. A friend of a friend shows up to the party with a few heroin caps in his or her pocket. The drugs come out, your inebriated son or daughter suddenly thinks this sounds like a good idea to give it a try. BAM! Just like that, in far too many cases, another addict is born.
- Our society glorifies drinking. I’ve seen mother’s posting pictures of their toddlers on FB where the child is hollering for “wine.” You can hear mom giggling in the background and her wine loving friends chirping back in posts that say, “That’s too cute. Can she say Martini?” “What about tequila?” These mothers have no idea what they’re creating. Children who are allowed sips of alcohol are four times more likely to end up with a substance abuse problem. A toddler, the epitome of innocence who should be hollering for a lollipop or a cookie, but instead, the baby wants wine and mom thinks it’s hilarious enough to post all over FB. What are we doing? Do we know?
How Your Child Can Fall Prey
- In order to become addicted to heroin or to get drugs a child needs access to 5 things: 1.) An area with low level law enforcement. 2.) Access to a car or transportation. 3.) Access to even a bedroom window. 4.) Cellphone. 5.) Cash.
- What we role model matters. Too many kids have parents that sit on decks all summer long with friends sharing jokes and wine. Too many kids are present in those same homes and they’re upstairs or in the lower lever doing a little drinking of their own. The parents are oblivious to the amount of alcohol stocked in their homes and have no clue if a few beers or even a bottle of wine or two were to go missing. Alcohol is often the first culprit that starts the bobsled barreling down the hill. As a society, we need to dial it back. Bring back the days of decorum when adults had a few drinks when their children were safely tucked in bed. If adults can’t delay our gratification, how can we ever teach our children to say no?