Becoming A Drugwise Parent

17 February 2014

I've spent the last few days mulling over the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I think his death really got to me because even though he was a popular actor, he had the aura of the everyday guy you sorta know who rides on the bus with you everyday.  My thoughts on street drugs have evolved since 2006 when I moved to the US. I no longer sit perched on a high-backed chair passing judgement that "all you need is willpower". 
Not even close.  
I believe addiction is a disease and sometimes willpower is a myth. With the death of Michael Jackson, I was made even more conscious of the danger of not just street drugs but also prescription drugs. The scariest part of the drug-culture is how rampant it is and how close kids can easily come to drugs.
Think about this, with the naivete that surround my growing-up years in Nigeria, the first time I came across any type of street drugs (indian hemp/igbo to be precise), I was 26 years old. Contrast that to the stories we hear about
  • Teenagers who have "pharm" parties with drugs stolen from their parents
  • Elementary school kids smoking cigarettes and even weed
  • High school and college kids already needing to go into rehab for addictions (Philip Hoffman was in rehab by the time he was 22 years old.)
  • The prevalence of meth in the suburbs
It's all scary and it should be. Not just because it exists but because right now due to my own lack of knowledge, I'm not equipped to recognize these things if I come face to face with them. All parents need to know this
Or in the words of the bible "my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". Hosea 4:6
I for one do not plan on being an ostrich. Living in the suburbs does not shield your family from grips of substance abuse anymore than living in the inner city dooms you. Sending your kids to a private school or a christian school or even homeschooling is not an effective shield either. Substance abuse is opportunistic and only needs one shot to hook a victim. Where that opportunity could raise its head is anybody's guess - playground, library, sleepover, youth group, dance class, sports-meet ....
The first line of defense for any child is an educated and involved parent. I plan to start now by accessing the resources available at and staying informed. I encourage every parent, no matter how young your kids are, to get knowledge, stay informed and stay involved.

Linking up with the Jenny Evolution

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