Our young people are being offered methamphetamine as young as 12 to 14 years of age. The vast majority of meth addicts begin using as young teenagers—and they usually begin with alcohol. A strong family support system is the best protection we can offer our children against the negative influence of drug-using peers. According to research, the top reason that children give for why they don’t use drugs is: “I do not want to disappoint my parents.”
The Meth Task Force is launching a public service campaign aimed at the parents of 9 to 12 year olds, because these children will soon be entering middle school—the time when they are first likely to be exposed to drug use.
Some of the strategies parents can use to reduce the likelihood that their children will experiment include:
Ø Letting your teens know where you stand on alcohol and drug use: give a clear “no use” message;
Ø Monitoring your teen’s movements: know where your teen is at all times;
Ø Making sure that parties your teen attends are supervised by responsible adults;
Ø Never serving alcohol to minors, and
Ø Not using illegal drugs or abusing legal drugs in front of your children.
Parents can call “211” in Kern County to find out about Parent Project classes and other parenting support groups that provide information and skills to navigate the years when kids are most vulnerable.
For more information about the Family Wellbeing and Support Subcommittee, and how to become involved, contact:
Lorena Diaz, Kern County Mental Health, firstname.lastname@example.org; 661-868-6115.