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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
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.
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
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?"
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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