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Drugs in the City – How Do We Protect Our Children?

So who watched Carte Blanche on Sunday night? I know, not the most fun way to end off a weekend, a lot of people don’t watch because they find it depressing, but as a realist, I’m the type of person who prefers to not bury my head in the sand, I prefer to be informed and not matter how upsetting the subject matter, I always want to know, it’s the nature of my personality. But Sunday night…. Sunday night left me shaking and in tears. So so fearful of what is in store for our children.

 

We all know someone who has had their lives destroyed by drugs and addiction. I’d go a step further, almost all of us have someone in our family whose life has been destroyed by drugs. What really shocked me about this piece is how the Strawberry Quick Methamphetamine is targeted at children as young as 8 & 9 years old. Ava is 5. That means that in just a couple of years, I have to add this to the list of things I need to worry about as her parent. What’s worse… this has been called a hoax for how many years now! How much trouble are we in?

I know we all think this won’t happen to our kids but this excerpt was filmed just around the corner from my home. That petrol station… I go there often to fill up. I run past there regularly, the school…. it’s a school we considered for our kids before deciding to go the private education route. This is going on right under my nose and I never even noticed it. I’m also by no means naive enough to think that my children are spared from drug dealers because they’re at private schools, private schools equate to money, this makes them a target.

And being able to buy drugs using a debit/credit card? No man. Just no. What has happened to our society?

How do we protect our children? How do we avoid having our kids get sucked into this… a life sentence of addiction and all that that entails.

It really really frightened me. It made me so desperately sad.  It made me sick. But mostly, it made me feel hopeless because I honestly don’t know how we protect our children from this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply Lynette Jacobs

    Ai…it is as bad as all that. We work with this on a daily basis at the Mission. A week ago one of our people…a 30 year old…went out and used Tik (Methamphetamine). It resulted in him having uncontrollable seizures and he landed in ICU. On Friday afternoon he returned to the Mission…a young man that is now shaking like a 70 year old Parkinson’s sufferer. After 16 years of working at the Mission it still floors me. The reality is that Methamphetamine causes immediate and permanent damage to the brain and all soft tissue.

    This is the thing that will keep all parents on their knees before God because He is the only one that can keep our children safe.

    January 27, 2015 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Dave

    This! This is such a phenomenally touchy subject, and yet such a very, very, very necessary one.
    I am a recovering addict. I have almost 3 years of sobriety under the belt, and I do talks on overcoming addiction as part of a corporate diversity project for a large investment firm in Cape Town. Through these talks I have also been invited to talk at schools in Grahamstown and Paarl, about drugs and drug addiction. My response to those schools was this, and I realise it’s not something a school or a parent wants to hear – however as you said in your piece above, there is no point in burying your head in the sand, pretending these issues don’t exist:
    – I want to talk to parents and teachers, not the children – because it is the parents firstly, and the teachers who will carry this message across;
    – the reality is that drugs are pervasive, from school age, and through most if not all industries when teens progress through their studies into their working lives;
    – no government in the world has successfully won the ‘war on drugs’ – not the lenient and permissive nations like Holland (the rehabs in Somerset West that are filled with Dutch nationals testify to this); nor the nations like Bali, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia that summarily hand out death sentences for drug use. The fear of death does not deter a drug user, and leniency and moderation does not promote a moderate drug use culture.
    – having a recovered ‘junkie’ go into schools to warn against the dangers of drugs is not a deterrent, as many recovering addicts I know all speak about how when they had someone speak at their school when they were kids, the residual feeling after the talk was “that sounds fun – where can I get some?”
    – truth is, drugs ARE fun – at first – that’s what keeps the user coming back for more, and that’s what traps the addict in a downward spiral – the rewards and instant gratification are powerful attractors;
    – the message to parents is this: drugs are going to happen for a lot of kids. There is very little you can do – but one of the most dangerous things you can do, is to shield your child from the reality of drugs; by not talking or educating about them; by pretending they don’t exist.
    – acting as the stern commander to your child saying “Do as I say!” works when they are a toddler – every parent knows that that style of parenting fails a teenager horribly – so telling your child “You won’t do drugs, or I will ” is a threat that is laughable – certainly to your teenaged child. Speak to any current or recovering addict and their family, and you will know this is true.
    – it seems that the best proactive, foundational protection you can give your child is to be a collaborator – to be on their team, be their friend, and to learn TOGETHER about what drugs are out there, what they do to the body, what the dangers are and what to do in the case of an emergency, what the risks are physiologically, psychologically, physically, criminally, legally – all of the aspects.
    – make your child feel safe, like they have a friend, a confidant, and a protector in you – not a judge, a jailor or an opponent.
    – the truth is that we have a skewed sense of the dangers of drug use: we think that drug use = addiction – but that’s the reality for only a very small percentage of drug users. The dangers of drug use that are far more prevalent are the things we do when we’re on drugs: we drive under the influence, we make bad decisions because our inhibitions are lowered and we feel invincible; we sleep with strangers using no protection, we drink more, we do stupid stunts, we take more drugs – the list is endless. THESE are the dangers we need to warn our children about, to educate them about. So that in the unfortunate (but unfortunately quite likely) event that they are presented with a situation where they are offered drugs, they KNOW what the score is and they have all the information on hand to help them make a better, more informed decision to not take the drug – and if they DO take the drug, they will know the dangers are more than mere addiction, and they can arm themselves against the acts that end more lives than simply being an addict does.
    – Let your child know that IF they take a drug, and they start to panic and what out, that YOU are the person to call – not some other friend who will hide and compound the situation.

    I know it sounds like I am saying you must give your child permission to take drugs as long as they tell you that they are – that is NOT the case. I am saying as a parent YOU need to be educated about drugs and YOU need to educate your child, not the school, who will palm it off onto someone like me, for an hour a year. YOU need to collaborate and form a team with with your child and their friend, and know what it is that drugs offer, and how you would counter that with a better offer, of a clean, knowledgeable life of solid choices.
    Sadly, many schools and parents are not ready to accept the reality. They choose to act like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. They are contributing to the problem by withholding proper education about drugs, drug use and addiction.

    Talk to Ava. Don’t wait. Inform her. Be her friend, her team mate, her confidant and her safe place in the world that has a lot of rough edges.

    Strength to you.

    January 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm
    • Reply Caroline

      Thanks Dave, this is very informative!

      January 27, 2015 at 1:24 pm
      • Reply Dave

        I hope that it makes sense to the parents who need it. I think drugs are encroaching more than ever!

        January 27, 2015 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Caroline

    I feel exactly what you feel… scared shitless!! Add to that, I recon that my LB is addicted to sugar, of course we strongly monitor his intake and will also substitute with xylitol, but he is constantly looking for his “next fix”… always asking for chocolate, sweets or biscuits and us constantly having to say no. I am scared!

    January 27, 2015 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    So so difficult, my personal opinion would be that it has a lot to do with keeping lines of communication open with your kids as far as possible and encouraging interest in constructive hobbies instead of hanging around in shopping malls after school etc. Not always easy I know!

    January 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm
    • Reply Dave

      Michelle, I absolutely agree with you. THAT is by far the best approach, I believe.

      January 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm
      • Reply Sharon

        You guys, do you understand I’m hyperventilating into a paper bag right now!

        January 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply Liezel

    Thanks Dave, best advice… open communication with our kids can only be a win win situation.

    January 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    A friend and I were discussing this, and she suggested making your house the place where kids want to hang out. Make it the fun house, which does not mean giving in to your childs whims, but maybe it does mean buying the snooker or fussball tables, the play station etc. This certainly terrifies me too.

    January 28, 2015 at 5:04 pm
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