It’s that time of year again. Or perhaps in your circles it is always that time of year. That’s right-Party Time! As school starts back up and the holidays are rolling around parties are being planned in every group you can imagine. Summer seems like one long party to our kids and they should absolutely know how to protect themselves during that time. We all explain the rules and dangers of drinking and driving and using drugs, but then forget about it when school starts. We sometimes forget, as adults, to remember to adhere to those rules ourselves. Mixed messages aside, we are the adults and drinking is legal for those of us over the age of 21. Drugs, on the other hand, are not legal for any of us.
School has started and colleges are gearing up for keg parties both on and off campus. High schools are having homecoming parties and dances after football and basketball games, not to mention the prom come springtime. Add the holiday parties to the mix, (whether you know about them or not) and there is an opportunity for our youth to either act like the responsible adults we hope they are growing to be, or show a little less good judgment.
Most women know to guard their drink when they go to a night club just in case someone decides they could use a little boost added to it that they didn’t approve. Men should also, but for some reason don’t worry as much about being drugged as they should. Our youth are not learning this message.
So called ‘recreational’ drugs are used on a regular basis and the kids don’t seem to think anything of it. More and more often if someone doesn’t go along, someone else helps them go along. Have you explained to your teenager, or college student, that even something as seemingly innocent as a can or bottle of soda or even water can be drugged and they wouldn’t know about it? It is pretty easy to slip ecstasy (MDMA) into a can of soda. All someone has to do is offer to go get it for them and open it before it gets to the recipient. They drop it into the can. It dissolves and until the effects hit, no one is the wiser. Explain to them that if someone wants to get them a beverage, make sure it has not been opened before they take a drink, and regardless of a new manicure, they should not let someone else open that can of soda (or beer) for them. Tablets can be dropped in right in front of them and they wouldn’t know it until it was too late.
It isn’t a practical joke to play on someone either. People can die from one dose of drugs such as methamphetamine or ecstasy or suffer brain damage. Have you ever seen a brain scan of someone who has used ecstasy? It literally eats away the brain tissue! Drugs make them behave in ways that they might not otherwise behave. Ask if they want to see their friend go to jail for something they did and the friend have no idea what they were doing at the time. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t funny. It can ruin the life of their friend. That isn’t a joke. Just one dose of methamphetamine can cause addiction. Ask if they really want to do that to a friend.
One problem with the use of ecstasy is that it can be combined with other more potent drugs, such as methamphetamine or Rohypnol just to name two, during the manufacturing process- by illicit manufacturers. Rohypnol, which is illegal to manufacture or sell in the United States, is legal in other countries for medical use, and used to dissolve clear, so it was undetectable until the effects kicked in. Now, because of the use as a date-rape drug, the legitimate manufactures formulate it to turn blue when it dissolves. While some of it is still available that dissolves clear, but many who would use it for illicit purposes make blue colored drinks in order to cover the fact they are using it. It is harder to find in the United States than it used to be, but is still able to be obtained easily along the southern Border States. It isn’t illegal in Mexico so it comes through the pipeline there. People have been known to use it to slow down the extreme high of methamphetamines so the ‘fall’ isn’t so hard.
While primarily associated with clubs and ‘raves’, don’t discount the use of these drugs at school dances and college parties. They aren’t as scarce as one might think.
Education is your best weapon in the battle to protect yourself and your children against drug use and abuse. The more you know, the more you can counter the claims that it won’t hurt to use them once (probably more that they aren’t telling you about), and how to protect against unintended drug use.
For more information on these and other drugs you can go on line with the Partnership for a Drug Free America at www.drugfree.org, the Drug Information Clearinghouse with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov or the National Institute on Drug Abuse at www.NIDA.nih.gov. You can also visit your local police or sheriff’s department to get information from their D.A.R.E. programs (where available). You can also contact Girls and Boys Town at www.girlsandboystown.org; or call 1-800-448-3000 for information on how to talk to your child about drug (and alcohol) use and abuse.