Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugs
Talk with your kids about drugs
Help Parents with Their Children
Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs Recommended for Cuts in President’s Budget Request
Drug Deaths in Oregon - 2007
Community Drug Prevention
Troubled Teens - The teen drug problem
Concerned about Your Child and Drugs?
Drug Myths vs. Reality
Date Rape Drugs

College, Drugs, Your Freshman
"Cheese" Heroin

Inhalants, Huffing, Bagging, Dusting
Ecstasy Can Cause Memory Loss
Drug Memorials
Drug & Street Drug Terms

Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugsl

The issue of drugs can be very confusing to young children. If drugs are so dangerous, then why is the family medicine cabinet full of them? And why do TV, movies, music and advertising often make alcohol and drug use look so cool?

We need to help our kids to distinguish fact from fiction. And it's not too soon to begin. National studies show that the average age when a child first tries alcohol is 11; for marijuana, it's 12. And many kids start becoming curious about these substances even sooner. So let's get started!

Listen carefully

Student surveys reveal that when parents listen to their children's feelings and concerns, their kids feel comfortable talking with them and are more likely to stay drug-free.

Role play how to say "no"

Role play ways in which your child can refuse to go along with his friends without becoming a social outcast. Try something like this, "Let's play a game. Suppose you and your friends are at Andy's house after school and they find some beer in the refrigerator and ask you to join them in drinking it. The rule in our family is that children are not allowed to drink alcohol. So what could you say?"

If your child comes up with a good response, praise him. If he doesn't, offer a few suggestions like, "No, thanks. Let's play with Sony PlayStation instead," or "No thanks. I don't drink beer. I need to keep in shape for basketball."

Encourage choice

Allow your child plenty of opportunity to become a confident decision-maker. An 8-year-old is capable of deciding if she wants to invite lots of friends to her birthday party or just a close pal or two. A 12-year-old can choose whether she wants to go out for chorus or join the school band. As your child becomes more skilled at making all kinds of good choices, both you and she will feel more secure in her ability to make the right decision concerning alcohol and drugs if and when the time arrives.

Provide age-appropriate information

Make sure the information that you offer fits the child's age and stage. When your 6 or 7-year-old is brushing his teeth, you can say, "There are lots of things we do to keep our bodies healthy, like brushing our teeth. But there are also things we shouldn't do because they hurt our bodies, like smoking or taking medicines when we are not sick."

If you are watching TV with your 8 year-old and marijuana is mentioned on a program, you can say, "Do you know what marijuana is? It's a bad drug that can hurt your body." If your child has more questions, answer them. If not, let it go. Short, simple comments said and repeated often enough will get the message across.

You can offer your older child the same message, but add more drug-specific information. For example, you might explain to your 12-year-old what marijuana and crack look like, their street names and how they can affect his body.

Establish a clear family position on drugs

It's okay to say, "We don't allow any drug use and children in this family are not allowed to drink alcohol. The only time that you can take any drugs is when the doctor or Mom or Dad gives you medicine when you're sick. We made this rule because we love you very much and we know that drugs can hurt your body and make you very sick; some may even kill you. Do you have any questions?"

Be a good example

Children will do what you do much more readily than what you say. So try not to reach for a beer the minute you come home after a tough day; it sends the message that drinking is the best way to unwind. Offer dinner guests nonalcoholic drinks in addition to wine and spirits. And take care not to pop pills, even over-the-counter remedies, indiscriminately. Your behavior needs to reflect your beliefs.

Discuss what makes a good friend

Since peer pressure is so important when it comes to kids' involvement with drugs and alcohol, it makes good sense to talk with your children about what makes a good friend. To an 8-year-old you might say, "A good friend is someone who enjoys the same games and activities that you do and who is fun to be around." 11 to 12-year-olds can understand that a friend is someone who shares their values and experiences, respects their decisions and listens to their feelings. Once you've gotten these concepts across, your children will understand that "friends" who pressure them to drink or smoke pot aren't friends at all. Additionally, encouraging skills like sharing and cooperation -- and strong involvement in fun, healthful activities (such as team sports or scouting) -- will help your children make and maintain good friendships as they mature and increase the chance that they'll remain drug-free.

Build self-esteem

Kids who feel good about themselves are much less likely than other kids to turn to illegal substances to get high. As parents, we can do many things to enhance our children's self-image. Here are some pointers:

  • Offer lots of praise for any job well done.
  • If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person.
  • Assign do-able chores. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.
  • Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets them know you care.
  • Say, "I love you." a lot. Nothing will make your child feel better.
  • Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently.
  • If you suspect a problem, seek help.

If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Offer lots of praise for any job well done.

If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person. If your son gets a math problem wrong, it's better to say, "I think you added wrong. Let's try again."

Assign do-able chores. A 6-year-old can bring her plate over to the sink after dinner; a 12-year-old can feed and walk the dog after school. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.

Spend one-on-one time with your youngster. Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets her know you care.

Say, "I love you." Nothing will make your child feel better.

Repeat the message

Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently. So be sure to answer your children's questions as often as they ask them to initiate conversation whenever the opportunity arises.

If you suspect a problem, seek help

While kids under age 12 rarely develop a substance problem, it can -- and does -- happen. If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Talk with your kids about drugs

Over the past few years, surveys have told us that parents have a significant opportunity to influence their children. When kids lean about drugs from their parents, they are 36% less likely to smoke marijuana. 50% less likely to use inhalants, 56% less likely to use cocaine and 65% less likely to use LSD.

Talking about issues such as drugs may be difficult. This card is designed to help you discuss drugs more easily. By maintaining open communication and giving them the truth, you can help your child live a drug-free life.

What do you say?

Tell them that you love them and you want them to live a healthy and happy life.

Say you do not find alcohol and other illegal drug use acceptable. Many parents never state this simple principle.

Explain how this use hurts people.

  • Physical harm, for example, AIDS, slowed growth, impaired coordination, accidents.
  • Emotional harm - sense of not belonging, isolation, paranoia. 
  • Educational harm - difficulties remembering and paying attention.

Discuss the legal issues. A conviction for a drug offense can lead to time in prison or cost someone a job, driver's license, or college loan.

Talk about positive, drug-free alternatives and how you can explore them together. Some ideas include sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping, cooking, games and concerts. Involve your kids' friends.

How do you say it?

Calmly and openly - don't exaggerate. The facts speak for themselves.

Face to face - exchange information and try to understand each other's point of view. Be an active listener and let your child talk about fears and concerns. Don't interrupt and don't preach.

Through "teachable moments", in contrast to a formal lecture, use a variety of situations: television news, TV drama, books, newspapers.

Establish an ongoing conversation rather than giving a one-time speech.

Remember that you set the example. Avoid contradictions between your words and your actions. And don't use illegal drugs, period! Even if marijuana is legal.

Learn to read between the lines.

Be creative! You and your child might act out various situations in which one person tries to pressure the other to take a drug. Figure out two or three ways to handle each situation and talk about which works best.

Exchange ideas with other parents.

Convey warmth, respect, and genuine curiosity, and the dividends will pour in when it’s time to talk about other serious issues. And guess what, they’ll probably listen to you more often and even come to you for advice when the going gets tough. How can you go wrong?

Community Drug Prevention

Millions of Americans are currently involved in social, business and/or community groups that would like to do something constructive for their community. Community coalitions provide these individuals and their groups with the ability to make a real difference. By organizing the resources of multiple sectors of the community, coalitions improve the quality of life within local communities and help to keep kids away from drugs.

Did You Know?

  • According to a recent study, approximately one in four 12th graders, one in five 10th graders and one in eight 8th graders reported that they had used some form of illicit drug within the past 30 days.
  • Studies clearly demonstrate that cooperative efforts that mobilize and involve individuals and community groups at the grass roots level are the most effective strategies for preventing drug use.
  • There are a multitude of anti-drug coalitions across the country that spearhead community drug prevention efforts…but they need increased participation from individuals, groups and businesses in order to strengthen their efforts.

In the past four years, there has been a 19% decline in the number of young people who reported using illicit drugs. However, the reported abuse of presciption drugs and inhalants has increased.* Preventing drug abuse is a daunting job, but studies have shown that the greatest positive difference is made when individuals and community groups get involved in the lives of young people in their cities and towns. It's proven that kids who are involved in extracurricular or afterschool activities are less likely to use drugs.

The campaign launched in August 2000 and it is designed to increase the public's awareness of, and participation in, community coalitions that provide activities and support for the youth in their neighborhoods. The ads seek to motivate adults to volunteer, coach or mentor to keep kids active, off the streets and away from drugs. The message is that everyone has something to offer in order to be a positive influence on the kids in their community.

Campaign Objective

Encourage individuals to involve their social, business, and community groups in community coalitions and urge viewers to call a toll-free number at 877-KIDS-313 or www.helpyourcommunity.org to find out how to become involved with a coalition in your area or to find local opportunities to get involved. The website connects visitors to anti-drug coalitions and other national youth-oriented organizations that have local chapters.

Drug Memorials

The Partnership has created a new Memorial website, www.drugfree.org/memorials to give families and friends a special place to remember loved ones lost to drugs and alcohol. Our new site (which is not final and in a testing phase) allows visitors to share their story along with photos and memories and offers a reflecting-pool design, easy-to-use forms, and a tool for friends and family to leave tribute messages. Please tell others about this new site so we can reach as many kids and parents as possible.

Drug Deaths in Oregon - 2007

The release of the 2007 figures on drug deaths comes after the heroin deaths of several Oregon high school and college students made headlines in recent months. That's 241 lost in 2007. What a loss.

Drug Related Deaths - 2007 - Oregon
+/- 2006







* Most since 1999

Ecstasy Can Cause Memory Loss

Ecstasy use can cause short- and long-term memory loss, and some users may experience memory problems after taking just a single dose of the drug.

Ecstasy use can cause short- and long-term memory loss, and some users experience memory problems after taking just a single dose of the drug, according to British researchers.

Reuters reported June 28 that 75 percent of Ecstasy users have memory impairments, and that the damage does not seem to be limited to long-term users.

"It's almost as if there is a one-hit problem," said lead researcher Keith Laws of Hertfordshire University. "Essentially it's the same if you take only a few, or an extremely large amount of tablets."

Laws and colleagues reviewed 26 Ecstasy studies that included 600 users. "Often when you ask people who take ecstasy if they have memory problems, they say no, but when you test them, they realize that they have serious problems," he said.

The study is slated to be published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/research/summaries/2007/ecstasy-can-cause-memory.html

College, Drugs, Your Freshman

I remember the excitement I felt before heading off to college - so many possibilities, freedoms and challenges. On campus, I welcomed new experiences, which at times included opportunities to try drugs and alcohol. In retrospect, I realize how lucky I was to dodge the negative consequences of my not-always-wise decisions.

Today I am a drug-treatment counselor. As I talk to young people getting ready to go off to campus, I'm often tempted to grab them by the shoulders to make sure they understand that it's not only their academic choices that will have an impact on their future. Their social decisions will matter greatly, too.

More than that though, I want to sit down with parents and make sure they know that their advice, opinions and insights are still going to be important to their college student. Through education and support, they can still affect the choices their young adults make when it comes to drug and alcohol consumption, even if they are hundreds of miles away.

The most common discussion I have with parents who have had a child in drug treatment is that they wished that they'd listened to their gut feelings and asked more questions. So many say, "If only I knew then what I know now."

Don't let distance discourage you from trying to learn about your child's daily life. Talk with your child on a regular basis, especially in these weeks as he or she prepares for college.

Once they're on campus, try to keep a good read on how life away from home is going. Be involved but nonjudgmental. Maintain communication, and ask specific questions that give you an indication of how he or she is handling the daily pressures, both academic and social.

If you ever suspect that your child may have a problem, address it immediately. The longer you brush a problem aside, the worse it becomes.

Even though parents may have experimented with drugs during college, it's essential that they feel comfortable discussing the dangers of being a user. It is the healthy behaviors that parents exhibit now that matter, not what occurred 25 years ago. Try to avoid giving mixed messages by telling tales of your own "glory" days that can glamorize drug and alcohol use. Point out that it's possible to have fun at college without consuming alcohol; there are many groups and events on campus that don't involve alcohol and drugs.

Of course, you can offer support and guidance, but ultimately they will make their own decisions and grow into their own unique people while at school. But by showing interest in their social life, as well as all areas of their college experience - not just academics - they're more likely to talk openly and turn to you for advice.

One other point parents should be aware of is the growing trend of students abusing their own prescription drugs, or their friends'. Many college students are using them as study aids or to get "high." If your teen has a legitimate prescription, make sure he handles it properly and stress the importance of not sharing with others.

The college years can be a hectic, stressful time. But with continued support and guidance from parents, they can also be the best years of a person's life.
Source: This commentary first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 24, 2006. Bessie Oster is director of Facts on Tap, an alcohol and drug prevention initiative on college campuses, including Temple and Villanova Universities. Her email is boster@phoenixhouse.org. The article appears at www.jointogether.org/news/yourturn/commentary/2006/college-drugs-your-freshman.html

Troubled Teens - The teen drug problem

The teen drug problem in America has drawn the attention many parents in recent years. According to the 1998 National Household Survey on Teen Drug Abuse, nearly ten percent of teens between the ages of twelve and seventeen used illegal drugs - a number less than 11.4 percent from just the year prior – including marijuana (8.3%), cocaine (0.8%) and inhalants (1.1%) (SAMHSA, 1998).

Statistics for 2002 reflect a slight drop in teenage drug usage to 8.3 percent for overall consumption of all illicit drugs. Still heading the list as most commonly used drug for troubled teens was marijuana (75% of all teen users) followed by cocaine (0.9%) and marijuana combined with one or more other drugs (20%). Cigarettes were found to be a strong precursor for troubled teens to who used illicit drugs, representing about eight times the number to those teens who smoked (48.1%) and those teens who did not (6.2%). Gender differences play a role as well amongst teenagers, with a greater majority of male teens using illegal drugs (12.3%) than their female teenage counterparts (10.9%) (SAMHSA, 2002).

Alcohol, a legal drug restricted to teens only by age, proves both plentiful, available and popular among teens aged twelve through seventeen, with both casual and binge drinking reflecting a higher percentage of usage in college-age teens (GDCADA, 2004).

Research indicates there are a number of social and environmental factors that are related to the teen drug problem in America, with a significant number of teenagers engaging in some form of drug and/or alcohol testing period at some time during their adolescence without falling into the unending cycle of teen drug abuse and substance abuse. When teens are brought together under a foundation of negative influences – broken home, developmental problems, emotional issues, familial problems, etc. – the underlying risk factors inherent to structural functionalism can in many instances act as the agitator for substance abuse.
Source: www.teendrugabuse.us/Problem.html

Concerned about your child and drugs?

Are you suspicious that your son or daughter is using drugs? You want to find out and take responsible action, but you need information and support? There is an answer.

The Curry County, OR Sheriff's Department has put together a Parent Aid kit to help parents with their children through confidential, reliable drug testing.

Aid for Parents

There is an answer

You now have a way to receive information that can help guide you in making decisions regarding what steps to take.

The first step in solving the problem is recognizing that you (parents/guardians) can take responsible action. The second step is to use a test kit for detection of drugs. Results are given only to you, without legal consequence.

We want to help parents help themselves in dealing with drug problems at the earliest stage of abuse. Parents using correct information and the support of community service agencies can.


The Curry County Sheriff's Office (Oregon) will maintain strict confidentiality. ONLY YOU WILL BE TOLD THE TESTING RESULTS. Our goal is to provide you with the information which will assist you in making decisions and taking action to help your son or daughter. The results of the test cannot be used for any litigation purposes.

If the results indicate that drugs are present, you as a parent have community resources available for additional information, support and counseling. Physicians, nurses, school counseling staff, counselors, and health educators are some of the resources. Also, there are local organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. These resources maintain confidentiality.


When a person consumes a drug, it is processed by the body and unused portions are excreted in the urine. The testing laboratory has highly trained personnel who use stare-of-the-art instrumentation to detect these drugs. Solid dosage items can also be tested, i.e., white powder, green leafy material, etc. Analysis results can not be used for any enforcement or litigation purposes! The specimen is discarded after analysis.

General Chart for Drug Detection
Retention Time *


24-48 hrs

Barbiturates - short acting

24 hrs

Barbiturates - long acting

3 days

Valium related drugs

3 days or more


1-21 days **

Cocaine metabolite

1-4 hours

Opiates: Heroin/Morphine

2 days


2 days


12 hours


Up to 3 days

* Note: Interpretation of retention time must take into account variability of urine specimens; drug metabolism and half-life; patient's physical condition; fluid intake, and method and frequency of ingestion. Theses are general guidelines only.

** If a person smokes one marijuana cigarette, the drug may be detectable up to 48 hours later. Light smokers (once a week) 1-3 days; Moderate (3-5 times a week) 3-10 days; Heavy/Chronic (Daily) 5-21 days because the drug builds up in the body fat and may continually be detectable for up to 4 weeks after the person stops smoking.

How do I use the kit?

Instructions are provided that will guide you, step by step, to complete the process.

How will I be notified of the results?
You will be contacted according to the information that you provided in the materials which were submitted. It will take at least five (5) working days for the results to be given to you.

Curry County Parent Aid is a community partnership between Curry County Sheriff's Office, Brookings Police Department, Gold Beach Police Department, Port Orford Police Department, and human services agencies in Curry County. The following have generously contributed to the Parent Aid Program:  Gold Beach Rotary, Port Orford Rotary, City of Gold Beach, City of Brookinsg, City of Port Orford, Commission on Children and Families and parents like you!

Source: Contact Sheriff Mark Metcalf, Colvin & Moore, PO Box 681, Gold Beach, OR 97444, 541.247.3242

Drug Myths vs. Reality

While you are teaching the facts about drugs, your child is getting lots of misinformation and mythology from peers. Be aware and be ready to address the half-truths and misinformation that children hear and believe, such as:

Myth: Marijuana is not harmful because it is "all natural" and comes from a plant.
Truth: Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations.

Myth: It's okay to use marijuana as long as you're not a chronic user or "stoner."
Truth: Occasional use can lead to frequent use.

Myth: Because sniffing powdered heroin doesn't require needles, it isn't very risky (40% of high school seniors polled do not believe there is a great risk in trying heroin).
Truth: Heroin is dangerous no matter how it's ingested. Once addicted to heroin, users may eventually switch to injecting the drug because it's cheaper.

Myth: Drugs are not that dangerous and I can handle it.
Truth: Drug use is extremely unpredictable and affects people differently. Anyone can become addicted to drugs.

Myth: Everyone is doing it.
Truth: Research shows that more than four out of five eighth graders have not used drugs in the past month. Even among high school seniors (the group with the highest rate of marijuana use), only a quarter of those polled in a national study reported using marijuana in the last month. In any given school, most students aren't doing drugs.

Need more information about alcohol, tobacco or a specific drug? Click here.
Source: www.helpthemknow.com/~helpthem/myth.php

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