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Drugs & Kids: Stop, Look, & Listen

This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 4,


Is five years of age too early for parents to talk to

their kids about drugs and alcohol? "You can talk to kids, but

kids are going to follow the example they see," says Carl


director of the Carrier Center for Counseling in Hamilton. "Kids

ages 5, 6, or 7 already know you’re not supposed to drink and drive,

but if that child sees their parent drink at the picnic and then get

in the car and drive home, that’s what kids are going to learn."

Anderson joins Camille Bloomberg, coordinator of the Hamilton Township

Municipal Alliance, to present "What Parents Should Know About

Drugs and Alcohol (That Their Kids Already Do)," at the Carrier

Center on Wednesday, February 11, at 6:45 p.m. Cost is $5. To register

call 609-585-5888.

The program is designed as a primer for parents who will learn what

substances today’s kids are using and their effects, how to talk to

their children about drugs and alcohol, how to recognize substance

abuse problems, and what resources are available for treating them.

"We truly believe everybody’s at risk," says Anderson.


no single profile of the people I treat," says Anderson, whose

patients include students, young adults, parents, unemployed, employed

in every imaginable line of work, all ages and races.

Anderson and Bloomberg decided to collaborate at a meeting of the

Hamilton Township Coalition for Traumatic Loss, addressing untimely

loss, especially in adolescents. "Alcohol and drug abuse among

young people has skyrocketed in the last decade," he says.


are more kids experimenting, more use among 14 to 24-year-olds."

"The more information a person has, the better that person is

equipped to be a parent," says Anderson. "Drugs and alcohol

totally permeate our culture. Right now we’re seeing a tremendous

upsurge in the number of people involved with heroin." Although

some recent teen deaths have been widely publicized, Anderson says

there are many that have not. Parents of adolescents should recognize

changes in behaviors, in friends, in grades, and a lack of interest

in things the young person used to enjoy. Anderson’s advice:

"*"Listen, listen, listen. Listen to your kids.

"*"Model behavior for them — They’re going to do what you


"*"Know where to turn when there’s a problem.

Anderson notes that President Clinton and the Republican


both cited drug and substance abuse among the young as a national

problem in the State of the Union address. However the greatest threat

to children may not be designer drugs at all. "Alcohol is always

going to be bigger problem than drugs," he says. "With beer,

we’ve got product saturation on television, with frogs and lizards

that appeal to young people particularly — the ad even tells a

little story."

Many people still think an adult alcoholic is someone who doesn’t

work and who sleeps on the street. "In fact," says Anderson,

"95 percent of alcoholics are adult, white-collar workers."

"Parents should start being parents and stop being friends to

their kids," says Anderson. "If they’re healthy kids they’re

going to have friends anyway. But if you can’t trust your teenager

to wash the dishes right, why would you trust them with the car keys

when they go off to a party someplace?"

Carrier Foundation, 1235 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road,

609-585-5888. "What Parents Should Know About Drugs and Alcohol

(That Their Kids Already Know)." Preregister. $5. Snowdate is

February 18. Wednesday, February 11, 6:45 to 9 p.m.

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