Are your children safe from drugs?

by Jonathan Cadwell

Parents, at what age would you think children start using drugs? Is it fourteen? Or maybe it is fifteen?

Several surveys have been given throughout the state of Texas. This survey shows some very scary numbers. In 2006, it was reported that Texas students in grades 4-6, that is ages nine to eleven years old, have admitted to using marijuana. The same survey shows that about 10% of students from grades 4-6 have used some sort of inhalant. It was reported in 2007 that 7% of Texas high school students have used methamphetamine and 13% have used cocaine. To sum these numbers up, it has been estimated that in the state of Texas 6.8% of the Texas population 12 and older has used an illegal substance.

Why do children use drugs? They do not think that the drug can hurt them, they believe that they will be more socially acceptable, and the availability of drugs.

How can we stop this trend? We must educate ourselves as well as our children. The more risky or less accepted a drug is thought to be; the less likely it will be used by children. We must know the risk factors. These include high sensation seeking, impulsiveness, psychological distress, difficulty maintaining emotional stability, perceptions of use by peers, and the child’s expectation of the harmfulness of a drug.

There are resources that parents can turn to if they think their children are using drugs. You can ask your primary care physician to drug test your child and for information about certain drugs. The local Lakes Regional MHMR center has an outpatient drug treatment program for adolescents who are using drugs. Whatever you do, do not turn away from this problem.

It will only get worse if we do not start working on the problem NOW!

Jonathan Cadwell, LCDCI, CPS Investigator is a member of DFG’s Interagency Network and Public Education Committee.